NALAS - Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe

The NALAS network was set up in 2001 to further the process of democratisation and decentralisation in south-east Europe and is made up of the national associations of local authorities from the region.

Background

All south-east European countries have established national associations of local authorities with technical and financial assistance from bilateral and multilateral donors and with the support of the Stability Pact. These associations bring together large numbers of municipalities on a voluntary basis and play a key role in fostering democracy in the countries in the region.


They provide their members with services which enable them to boost their expertise and capacity in the administrative, legal, fiscal and management fields, as well as in the area of social and economic development. They also ensure effective co-operation with central government and represent and defend their members’ interests.

 
Given that the levels of development of the various associations and the degrees of decentralisation vary greatly from country to country, in May 2001 the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe decided that it was necessary to strengthen these associations to help foster local democracy.
 
Since 2001, the Congress has been using voluntary contributions from the Swiss Government (SDC) under the Stability Pact to set up and expand a network which would bring national associations together, facilitate the pooling of experience and help strengthen the position of the individual associations in their own political arena.
 
In December 2002, the Congress held the network’s inaugural conference in Strasbourg, and, after 18 months’ work, the NALAS statutes were signed in the Council of Europe’s Assembly Chamber during the Plenary Session of the Congress on 27 May 2004.
 
The first General Assembly of the Association was held in Skopje on 6 September 2005. NALAS is no longer an informal network but an association with an official status and an infrastructure which should enable it to become more independent. It can now establish links with international and European organisations and with other associations in the same field and set up specific projects and activity programmes.


Members

 NALAS, as it stands today, is a network of associations covering more than 4 000 local authorities, directly elected by over 60 million citizens in south-east Europe. It is made up of full members (national associations of local authorities from south-east Europe) and associate members (associations of local authorities from countries outside south-east Europe, international associations of local authorities, bodies working in the same areas as local authorities, foundations, international and European organisations, non-governmental organisations and donors), as well as honorary members.


Supporting democratisation and decentralisation in South-East Europe

The network’s main aim is to further the process of democratisation and decentralisation in south-east Europe, in accordance with the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government. It helps establish partnerships between associations of local authorities in south-east Europe and other local authority associations in Europe, thereby assisting the process of European integration and European Union enlargement for the benefit of countries in the region.
NALAS also supports initiatives which help its members to speak out on behalf of local authorities and their needs, and seeks to expand dialogue between associations of local authorities in south-east Europe and central governments.

It fosters the pooling of information, examples of good practice, experience and legislation between local authority associations in south-east Europe by holding training workshops and seminars.
It helps prepare joint projects to be submitted to donors for funding and establishes twinning arrangements and technical partnerships.

In October 2004, NALAS made a significant contribution to the work of the South-East European Regional Ministerial Conference in Zagreb. It drew the Ministers’ attention to the need for ongoing consultations with local government associations when introducing legislation on local authorities.

Contacts

Marité Moras
Tel: +33 3 88 41 22 33
Fax: +33 3 88 41 37 47 / 27 51
Email

Website NALAS