Events

14.05. - 15.05.2014
 
 

14-15 May 2014, Tbilisi/Georgia: Seminar for Dialogue and Capacity Building of Local and Regional Authorities in Eurasia in the Fields of Development and Local Governance


Location: Tbilisi, Georgia

Overview
Local governments in the Eurasia region have faced major challenges over the last 20 years due to the rapid adjustment to a diminished size and role of government.
This problem became even more complex given the concurrent attempt on the part of most national governments to retain responsibility for the large numbers of social services that usually were provided by local governments during the Soviet period.
At the same time, local governments across the region have been coping with a dramatic urban growth. This has resulted in a redistribution of service needs in relation to these positive and negative net-migrations, which no longer match the existing infrastructure. At the same time, the social infrastructure (schools, hospitals etc.) in localities that have lost population has been preserved in order to reduce social tensions, as budget-supported institutions have become almost the only area of employment.
In the early 1990s, despite the fact that Eurasian countries developed local self-governments from a common framework, different countries have responded to those challenges in their own way and have selected their own model of local self-governance and intergovernmental fiscal relations. Kazakhstan has adopted a system of deconcentrated state bodies for local administration, a rather centralised hierarchical system of public authorities was selected in Belarus, and a two-tier system of local self-government was implemented in Moldova. In between, there are states where local self-governments exist autonomously (Armenia, Georgia) or alongside state bodies of local administration (in Ukraine at the oblast and raion level, in Kyrgyzstan at the raion level).

PLATFORMA
It seems important in this framework that PLATFORMA partners try to help reinforce the institutional and operational capacities of Local and Regional Authorities in Eurasia countries, particularly in the field of good governance and local development.
In that sense, our project hopes to strengthen the working areas developed in the framework of the Structured Dialogue to promote good governance, and to further develop the strategic reflection on enabling environment so as to make local LRAs development actors with their own identity and role.

Objectives
► to have an exchange on the content of the Communication “Empowering Local Authorities in partner countries for enhanced governance and more effective development outcomes” published by the European Commission in May 2013;
► to exchange information on the challenges and opportunities to support decentralisation in the Eurasia region;
► to understand the support mechanisms available to LRAs, with recommendations to better tailor them, including those specifically for the region that come from the Neighbourhood Policy;
► to discuss views of LRAs of the region regarding the global local agenda (SDGs, Habitat III, climate);
► to encourage LRAs from the region to be proactive in looking for development cooperation.
Participants
50-60 participants from the region will be invited:
► representatives of LRAs (elected local and regional representatives and local representatives in charge of international cooperation);
► representatives of civil society;
► representatives of national governments;
► representatives of the European Union Delegations from the targeted countries.

Programme
After the introductory session, a presentation and discussion of the Communication of the European Commission “Empowering Local Authorities in partner countries for enhanced governance and more effective development outcomes” will take place in order to provoke an open debate on the issues and problems affecting the region and the possible role of local governments, with an evaluation of the political background.
The sessions will touch different topics:
► The EU Commission Communication “Empowering Local Authorities in partner countries for enhanced governance and more effective development outcomes”;
► A dialogue on the needs of the region regarding the global post-2015 development agenda, Habitat III and others;
► Support mechanisms available to LRAs;
► Decentralisation in Eurasia.

Documents
e seminar will be an active and participative experience for the participants but it will have as reference material the following:
► European Commission (2013) Communication “Empowering Local Authorities in partner countries for enhanced governance and more effective development outcomes”
► SKL – PLATFORMA (2014) Draft document on “Decentralisation in Eurasia; International comparison and current trends within local self-governance, local finance and service delivery”
► AEBR – PLATFORMA (2014) Draft document on “Support mechanisms available to LRAs with recommendations to better tailor them, including those specifically for the region that come from the Neighbourhood Policy”


DRAFT AGENDA
Day 1 - 14th May 2014
Time Session
09:00 - 09:45

Welcome and introduction
► Political representative of PLATFORMA (TBC)
► Representative of the European Commission (TBC)
► Sevdia Ugrekhelidze, Acting mayor of Tbilisi (TBC)
► Mamuka Abuladze, President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (TBC)
► Minister of Regional Development of Georgia (TBC)
► Irakli Tripolski, Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Local Government, Parliament of Georgia (TBC)
09:45 - 10:30 Presentation of the EC Communication “Empowering Local Authorities in partner countries for enhanced governance and more effective development outcomes”
► Representative of DG Development and Cooperation, Unit B2 - Civil Society and Local Authorities, European Commission (TBC)
10:30 - 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 - 11:30
Presentation of “Decentralisation in Eurasia; International comparison and current trends within local self-governance, local finance and service delivery”
► Anna Dzembak, Institute for Urban Economics (TBC)
11:30 - 13:00 Round table – Presentation of cases
► Anna Dzembak, Institute for Urban Economics (TBC)
► Sergey Sivaev, Institute for Urban Economics, – focus on service delivery (TBC)
► Tony Levitas, Senior Research Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University – focus on local finance (TBC)
► Vugar Bayramov, Co-Chair for the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (TBC)
► Edil Zhanbyrshin, Mayor of Aktau, Kazakhstan (TBC)
► William Carter, Senior Expert, MSI, Good Governance Program (G3) – focus on accountability (TBC)
Moderation by Håkan Gustafsson, CEO, SKL International (TBC)

13:00 - 14:30 Lunch

14:30 - 15:30
Presentation of “Support mechanisms available to LRAs with recommendations to better tailor them, including those specifically from the region that come from the Neighbourhood Policy”
► Martin Guillermo Ramirez, Secretary General of AEBR. The participation of LRAs in conflict prevention across boundaries
► Ignacio Sánchez Amor, OSCE Special Representative for Border Co-operation
15:30 - 15:45 Coffee break
15:45 - 16:45 Round table – Presentation of cases
► Natalie Nosa, President of the International Association of Regional Development Institutions (IARDI), Ukraine - The Carpathian Euroregion: integration across five countries
► David Melua, Secretary General of the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia - case from Georgia (TBC)
► Emin Yeritsyan, President of the Communities Association of Armenia and President of the Euro-Caucas Euroregion – case from Armenia
► Fergana Valley, Laboratory for the cooperation between Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (TBC)

Day 2 - 15th May 2014
Time Session
09:00 – 11:00 Round table on Governance for Development, Decentralisation, Service Provision and Post-2015 Agenda
► Tatiana Badan, President of the Congress of Local Authorities of Moldova (TBC)
► Aytmamat Kadyrbayev, Mayor of Osh, Kyrgyzstan (TBC)
► Rasikh Sagitov, Secretary General of UCLG-Eurasia (TBC)
Moderation by Frederic Valier, CEMR Secretary General

11:00 - 11:15 Coffee break
11:15 - 12:00 How to reinforce the relation EU – Eurasia LRAs: instruments for development cooperation
► Representative of DG Development and Cooperation, Unit F - Neighbourhood, European Commission (TBC)
12:00 - 13:00 Conclusions and wrap-up
► Martin Guillermo Ramirez, Secretary General of AEBR
► Eldar Azizov, Mayor of Sumgayit, Azerbaidjan (TBC)
► David Melua, Secretary General of the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia - case from Georgia (TBC)
► Frederic Valier, CEMR Secretary General