The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe organized a regional conference on 6 - 7 December 2017 in Tbilisi, Georgia, which brought together around 100 mayors and local elected representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. Numerous newly-elected Georgian mayors took part in the event, as well as representatives of national associations of local authorities, civil society organisations and expert.
The conference was opened by the Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Zurab ALAVIDZE, the Mayor of Tbilisi, Kakha KALADZE, the Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, Janos HERMAN, the Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Andreas KIEFER, and the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Tbilisi, Cristian URSE.
At the opening of the conference Janos HERMAN, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, said, "Strong municipalities are a component of political and social pluralism. We are glad that through this project, the EU contributed to reinforce local authorities' engagement for increased accountability and transparency towards their citizens. This is essential to gain the population's trust towards public instances. The EU fully supports central and local authorities to help them public authorities get closer to citizens and better serve them."
During the conference, mayors, representatives of local authorities associations shared good practices promoting and strengthen ethics, transparency and citizen participation at local level in these countries. Participants addressed these questions through concrete examples of local initiatives that were implemented in 2017, by twelve local authorities from Armenia, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
On the eve of the conference, 5 December 2017, a workshop on ‘Local initiatives: managing and communicating the change’ brought together the mayors and project co-ordinators implementing initiatives on ethical governance.
In addition, on 8 December 2017, the EU Ambassador and Secretary General of the Congress intervened at the 6th General Assembly of the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG).
The conference was organised by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities within the thematic programme “Strengthening institutional frameworks for local governance”, implemented jointly with the Council of Europe Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform, Directorate General of Democracy. This programme is funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe, and implemented by the Council of Europe, through the Partnership for Good Governance (PGG) 2015-2017 for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus.