THE 16th NALAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY WAS HELD ONLINE
The 16th NALAS General Assembly was held online from 12 to 14 April 2021, in partnership with the Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova (CALM) and several international partners. The event provided a great opportunity for Mayors, local government staff and practitioners to participate, exchange ideas, and learn.
Within the scope of the 16th NALAS General Assembly, a session to appoint the New President and Vice Presidents of NALAS and 6 side events were organized with the participation of 55 speakers and more than 500 registered participants consisting of mayors and local government representatives from Southeast Europe from 14 countries.
First day of the NALAS General Assembly started with two side events – City to City Dialogue: Sharing experiences from the Urban Partnership Program, and Peer Exchange of CALM and partner Local Government Associations (LGAs) from South and Eastern Europe. The first event, City to City Dialogue, brought together over 150 participants and successfully rounded up the World Bank – Austria Urban Partnership Program (UPP), sharing its valuable legacy. Representatives of municipalities and cities around the region presented their experiences using the tools developed by the program, such as Municipal Finance Self-Assessment, Urban Audit, and Citizens’ Score Cards. The event highlighted the good cooperation with NALAS and the helping hand it gives to contribute to the sustainability of UPP’s results.
The second event offered a specific, tailor-made support to NALAS members, the Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova, via peer exchange, organized in partnership with CEMR PLATFORMA. During the exchange, CALM received valuable advice on their financial sustainability, services to members and institutional dialogue, from peer LGAs, members of NALAS, but also from the partner LGAs from the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, and Norway.
The Statutory Session was Held on the Second Day of the General Assembly
The Statutory Session of the 16th NALAS General Assembly, acknowledging the importance of the Network and its contribution to local democracy in South-East Europe was opened with the welcome addresses by the hosts. In her extraordinary inspiring and passionate speech, HE Maia Sandu, President of Moldova emphasized that throughout South-East Europe we often encounter similar challenges, but also share similar goals, and similar aspirations – to get closer to the European family of nations and ensure EU living standards for our people. Ms. Tatiana Badan, CALM President, Mayor of Selemet, Moldova stressed that these difficult times more than ever emphasize the role of local governments and the importance of NALAS. Mr. Ion Ceban, Mayor of Chisinau, Moldova, CALM Vice-President, Head of Moldovan Delegation to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, emphasized that without local development we cannot talk about national development. At this General Assembly, Mr. Emanuil Manolov, NALAS President, Mayor of Pavlikeni, Bulgaria, rounded up an important year as NALAS President.
The keynote addresses, focused on Local Democracy and European Integration in South and Eastern Europe, were delivered by Mr. Leendert Verbeek, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Ms. Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General of Regional Cooperation Council, HE Sybille Suter Tejada, Ambassador of Switzerland in North Macedonia, Mr. Maciej Popowski Director General of Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR); and Mr. Nikola Dobroslavić, Prefect of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, rapporteur for the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) opinion on 2020 Enlargement Package. The distinguished speakers talked about the post COVID-19 recovery, the importance of investing in public administration reform for the benefit of the citizens of the Region, and the crucial role of local self-governments and their national and regional associations.
Based on the new format of the General Assembly this year, the Delegates brought the decisions by online voting between 29 March and 9 April 2021. All delegated casted their votes and the General Assembly has unanimously approved the proposed decisions related to 2020 reports and 2021 workplan and budget. NALAS Executive Director Mr. Kelmend Zajazi presented the 2020 reports.
The First Woman President of the NALAS was Inaugured from Moldova
Based on the rotation system for NALAS Presidency, Ms. Tatiana Badan, Mayor of Selemet Municipality of Moldova and President of the Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova, was appointed a new NALAS President. Ms. Badan stated in her inauguration speech: “We have to join our forces, both women and men, and use all available resources to address our challenges at the local level. And they are many, starting from the most pressing one – economic and social recovery after the COVID-19 crisis. As NALAS President, my priorities will center around sustainable and inclusive local economic development, digital transformation, improvement of local public services, and successful rollout of the Covenant of Mayors on Energy Efficiency and Climate Change for our Region”.
Marmara Municipalities Union (MMU) Vice President and Mayor of Bağcılar Lokman Çağırıcı inaugured as the Second Vice President of NALAS for the second time on behalf of MMU. Mr. Lokman Çağırıcı congratulated Ms. Tatiana Badan, and expressed that MMU is ready to give all kinds of support to her and NALAS activities during her presidency.
Conference on Sustainable Local Economic Development and the Second Forum of Women Mayors of South-East Europe
The second day encompassed two very inspiring events, focused on sustainable local economic development, by leaving no one behind. The Second Forum of Women Mayors in South-East Europe organized with the support of UN Women was held on the third day of the event. Ms. Tatiana Badan, NALAS President, President of CALM, and Mayor of Municipality of Selemet, Moldova opened the Forum. Ms. Natasha Petrovska, Mayor of Bitola, North Macedonia presented the case of their start-up center, that built local partnership among local government, university, NGOs and business community, resulting in 60 business ideas, 12 of which have been supported, 8 run by women. Ms. Jasna Gabrič, Mayor of Trbovlje, Slovenia elaborated on the social and economic measures they undertake to support vulnerable groups during the crisis. Ms. Mariana Gâju, Mayor of Cumpăna, Romania, for six terms, spoke about the role of woman Mayor as a soul and balance of the communes. Participants agreed that community-driven development should be the cornerstone of inclusive local economic development, along with funding targeting women and youth and online citizen participation mechanisms to mitigate the democracy crisis.
NALAS Presidency for the period of 2021-2022
- President | Tatiana Baden, President of the Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova
- The First Vice President | Mr. Antonio Ratkovic, President of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities of Serbia
- The Second Vice President | Mr. Lokman Çağırıcı, Vice President of Marmara Municipalities Union
- The Third Vice President | Mr. Dusan Raicevic, President of the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro