Acting Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer presented the work of the Congress over the last 8 months to the Ministers' Deputies on 8 July 2020. In his communication Andreas Kiefer focused on the role of local and regional authorities as key actors and the Congress with its supporting activities in the COVID-19 pandemic and the lessons learned in order to respect the democracy, human rights and the rule of law in cities and municipalities also in extra-ordinary situations.
He underlined that in this severe sanitary, social and economic crisis in all member States, local and regional authorities found themselves at the frontline in their communities. He said the Congress leaders were very pleased that this key role has been recognized by heads of governments, the Chair of the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary General and that the Council of Europe is aware of the role and contributions, which local and regional authorities – via the Congress – can make for the Organisation. He highlighted some concrete achievements of the Congress during this period, in particular the establishment of an online platform showcasing the action by local and regional authorities during the pandemic, inorder to provide a swift response to the need for exchange of experience and good practice.
“When Cities and regions were included from Day 1 in the national inter-ministerial task forces and emergency response structures, when pragmatic, inclusive and capacity-oriented approaches were applied, they delivered in the best possible ways for the benefit of the people. And there are many positive examples in our member states to draw lessons from" he stated.
On the basis of discussions in its Committees in September and its Session in October, the Congress will formulate concrete recommendations to member States’ governments, parliaments and local and regional authorities and also contribute to the Ministerial meeting to be held in Athens in November 2020.