The Social Cohesion Research and Early Warning Division was set up in 1998 by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers to undertake, in close cooperation with the member states, conceptual and methodological analysis. The overall objective is to support the implementation of the Strategy for Social Cohesion, to analyse the society's transformation and its consequences on social cohesion and to seek new ways of fighting against social exclusion in the member states.
The Strategy for Social Cohesion was first drafted in 2000, and revised versions have been approved by the Committee of Ministers in 2004 and 2010. The European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS) is the intergovernmental body, in charge of implementing and developing the strategy for social cohesion. It is also required to provide follow-up to the conclusions and recommendations of the High-Level Task Force on Social Cohesion established pursuant to the Action Plan as approved by the Warsaw Summit in 2005 and revised in 2010 (Chapter 3 – Building a more humane and inclusive Europe). It meets twice a year:
- to set the main lines of future work on social cohesion;
- to approve the results of activities carried out under its responsibility, and
- to hold exchanges of views on current issues in this field.
The CDCS is composed by senior civil servants with policy making responsibilities and by representatives from other Council of Europe bodies willing to develop an integrated approach to social policies issues. Representatives of the social partners and non-governmental organisations with participatory status also take an active part in the work of the Committee.