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
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
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
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.