The creation of a common legal space based on European and international standards between both shores of the Mediterranean has been at the heart of the programme since its beginning in 2012. It represents undisputed gains for the consolidation of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the region by enshrining international standards in national legislation.

The previous phases of the South Programme have achieved exceptional results in promoting accession to Council of Europe Conventions in areas covered by the South Programme, such as data protection and preventing child abuse. Morocco, Tunisia and Israel have ratified several Council of Europe conventions and further ratification processes are undergoing and will be accompanied by the programme.


Promoting the creation of a common legal space also translates into providing technical support to ongoing national legislative reforms with a view of aligning legislation with European standards, which is in some cases a prerequisite to accede to Council of Europe conventions. At the request of beneficiary authorities, the programme supports legislative reviews or produces opinions through the Venice Commission and/or other relevant instances of the Council of Europe.


At last, the programme will continue to work with the countries that have been invited to accede or are in the process of acceding to Partial Agreements, namely through technical support to finalise existing accession processes and to ensure a better understanding of the commitments that they will entail. Participation in such bodies and in Council of Europe intergovernmental and conventional committees is a key aspect of creating a common legal space as it allows beneficiaries to participate in the Organisation’s work in many areas of interest covered by the programme and contributes to awareness-raising efforts and better understanding of European and international standards.


Picture: Naziha Laâbidi (left), Minister of Women, Family and Children, and Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni (right), Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, on the occasion of Tunisia’s accession ceremony to the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Strasbourg, 15 October 2019)

reference documents

Conventions and standards

Council of Europe conventions and standards are recognised as a key reference for the promotion of human rights, the rule of law and democracy. They form the legal acquis of the Council of Europe, and of the whole European continent, as they are also an essential part of the Organisation’s instruments used to harmonise national laws at the pan-European level and beyond. Out of more than 200 conventions, around 150 of them are open for accession by non-member States of the Organisation which is a key asset of this legal acquis.

 List of the Council of Europe conventions and standards in Arabic

 For more information on the conventions