Intervention byNataliya Romanova, Vice-President of the Congress
Opening and Welcome
It is a great honour for me to beheretodayinTbilisito represent the Congress for the opening ofthe first regional Conferencewe areorganisingwithin the programme“Strengthening institutional frameworks forlocal governance”.
On behalf of the Congress, I would like to thank all our partners involved in the implementation of thisprogramme, in particular the National Associations of Local Authorities of Georgia.NALAG who is a long-standing partner of the Congress since its creation in 2004,hasaccompanied us these past months and provided continuousand valuablesupport for the organisation of this Conference.
DearMinister, dear MrJavakhishvili, it is a great pleasure to hold this first regional Conferenceof this programmein Georgia.Since the start of this regional project, your country expressedon many occasionsthe will to take the lead when it comes to local democracyand to host such events– well,this is a concrete example of our collaboration!
I would also like to express my specialgratitude to the European Union,represented todayby AmbassadorHerman,for providing, for the first timein its long-standing co-operation with the Council of Europe,thenecessary funding to promotelocalgovernancein the Eastern Partnership countries.Today we show our determination to work together to promote and strengthen the European standards of democracy in this region.
Andlast but not least, I would like to thank Davit Narmania, for welcoming us inthis beautiful city of Tbilisi and for hosting us allfor dinnertonight.
But before the festivities, we have a great work to accomplish during this two-day event.By gatheringmayors, local councillors, their associationsand non-governmental organisations,coming from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus– we intend to lay the foundationfora fruitful co-operation towards an enhanced local democracy in the region.Emphasis will beput onthe roles and responsibilities of local elected representatives, on ethical decision-making processes at the local level, as well as on citizen participation.
In the Congress, we believe that local authoritiesshould bea major stakeholder of the democratic system of a country. They should be given the possibility to intervene in the decision-making process when it touches upon the interest of their territories.This is provided by theEuropeanCharterof Local Self-Government, and as you know the Congress isentrustedto monitor the implementation of its principles,butnot only it alsosupportsmember states in putting into practice our recommendations.
We have been engaged in post-monitoring dialogue in Georgia,in Moldova,in Ukraine, and will start soon in Armenia. The process had proven to be particularly fruitful with Ukraine, as the post monitoring roadmapfor the implementation of the Congress recommendations for local democracywas signedwith theUkrainian authorities on 20 May 2015.
It is of paramount importance that efforts and actions are undertaken inmember states ofthe Eastern Partnershipto bein line with the Charter, and that all stakeholders have the knowledge and understanding of what the Charter entails, ofthe requirementsto be met for enhanced local democracy.
We,in theCongress, workspecificallywith mayors, councillors, and their associations. They are our main partners in reinforcing the dialogue with central authorities, the dialogue with citizens, and an ethical decision-making.
I would like toseizethis opportunity to invite you all to take active partinthisconference andtoprovide your contribution tothepreliminarydraftStudy on roles and responsibilities ofmayors and local councillors, which will be presentedduring the round-table.
Dear mayors, dear councillors, dear representatives of associations and NGOs, the ownership of democratic processesisin your hands,andthe Congress is happy to provide a platform for discussionandto support positive change throughexchanges with peers and experts. I hope that during this two-day eventyou will be ableto catch a glimpse of what the Congress intendsto implement for the next two years and a half.
Only if we work together, we can accomplish remarkable results in improving local democracy in your respective countries! I thank you for your attention.