International Conference of capital cities of the Council of Europe member States
11 October 2013, Yerevan, Armenia
On October 11 2013 an International Conference of capital cities of the Council of Europe member states was held in Yerevan, Armenia. The conference was co-organised by the Armenian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, in close co-operation with the municipality of Yerevan.
It addressed the issues related to the particular role of capital cities in the overall development of local democracy and in political, economic, social and cultural life. The Conference was also an opportunity for an exchange of good practice and the progress achieved in member States of the Council of Europe.
Mayors and Deputy Mayors of the capital cities of the Council of Europe member states, the representatives of municipalities, of relevant state structures, local self-government bodies and the civil society, as well as international and local experts participated in the Conference.
John Warmisham, Vice-President of the Congress, Armen Gevorgyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Territorial Administration of Armenia, and Taron Margaryan, Mayor of Yerevan, opened the conference.
The discussions were organised around following main topics: the growing role of capital cities and the quality of life; the institutional capacity of capital cities to address the challenges of the quality of life.
John Warmisham: “Capital cities must have the budgets, the status and the power to act”
“Capital cities’ responsibilities must be matched by necessary resources, infrastructures, governing methods and institutions, as well as legal competences” stated Congress Vice-President John Warmisham at the conference of capital cities of Yerevan on 11 October. He underlined the importance of innovation in urban governance, with the full involvement of citizens in democratic decision-making and strong co-operation between central and municipal authorities. Referring to the vision of urban governance presented in the Congress’ European Urban Charter II- “a citizen-centered inclusive sustainable and knowledge driven city”- Vice-President Warmisham also pointed to the crucial importance of ethical and transparent governance. He concluded by stressing that urban growth and the economic crisis have a new impact on capital cities’ policies which requires more compact neighborhoods, horizontal co-operation between different district structures and partnerships between public authorities and private sector as well as with civil society (PPPs and PPCPS).
Capital cities must have competences and institutional capacity to carry out their tasks
“As the largest urban centers in most countries in Europe, capital cities have special responsibilities in ensuring the quality of life of their residents,” stated Congress Vice-President John Warmisham at the opening of the International Conference of Capital cities on 11 October, in Yerevan, Armenia. “From the quality of public services to civil participation, from crime prevention to green technologies and technological innovation, public authorities in capital cities today face challenges unparalleled in history. They must have sufficient capacity to make their cities citizen-friendly, inclusive, sustainable and knowledge-driven,” he said.