Improving the governance of metropolises for a better quality of life

Strasbourg, 11.10.2013 – In presenting the conclusions of the international Conference of Capital Cities of Council of Europe Member States in Yerevan on 11 October 2013, John Warmisham, Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, underlined that “capital cities clearly need a special regulatory framework”.

Given the challenges of growing urbanisation – transport, housing, pollution – European capital cities and metropolises are having to deal with increasingly complex tasks which demand special recognition from national governments.  This situation also requires effective dialogue between all levels of government, combined with clearly defined responsibilities.

The participants debated the issues surrounding the conference theme, “Making the metropolis citizen-friendly”.  They underlined the potential of metropolises as driving forces for economic growth through long-term planning and investments, as well as the importance of new technologies as tools for greater citizen participation.

John Warmisham also stressed the need for flexible structures that allow rapid responses, as well as for large-scale consultation and dialogue.  “The more we involve our citizens, both through representative democracy and through direct democracy, the more appropriate and effective the decisions we take will be,” he said.

In his conclusions, he pointed out that greater transparency in decision-making at local level is a precondition for greater citizen participation and more effective dialogue.  This need is all the more pronounced in major cities, where decision-making is necessarily more complex and involves larger numbers of stakeholders.

File of the Conference