Co-operation and external relations activities have been adapted to the COVID-19 situation, in co-ordination with institutional and field partners.

Current co-operation work in the field ranges from preparing the launch of a new project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with special emphasis on Mostar, and finalising proposals for new projects to be implemented in Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Kosovo*, to pursuing project activities in Armenia, Ukraine, Morocco and Tunisia.

We continue providing expert support to 13 Ukrainian municipalities in implementing their local initiatives for more ethical, innovative and inclusive policies and practices, and the preparation of a peer-to peer workshop for their representatives. In addition, we are drafting a Practical guide on preventing and fighting sexism at local level, to be disseminated to Ukrainian municipalities during the XVI Ukrainian Municipal Forum organised by the Association of Ukrainian Cities and planned for June 2020.

We also continue expert support in developing a workplan for the Community of Practice on public ethics and integrity in local governance in Armenia, set up by the Armenian municipalities in March 2020. Furthermore, our activities in the South-Med Partnership include assistance to the National Federation of Tunisian Towns in strengthening its secretariat capacities and developing a conflict management training to address political differences within local councils; and support to the Association of Regions of Morocco and the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Provincial and Prefectural Councils in developing their websites.

Work in the field of external relations includes planning a workshop on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the Assembly of European Regions and a meeting of the Congress/Committee of the Regions High-Level Group as well as contributing to the preparation of the World Forum for Democracy later in the year.

In addition, we have started adapting proposals for future activities of the Chamber of Regions to include an analysis of the problems encountered and lessons to be learned from the current crisis. Regional authorities in particular have been at the frontline of responding to the impact of COVID-19 on their communities, taking into account their responsibilities in the field of health care and the duties of coordinating municipal action within their territories as well as ensuring the necessary coordination with national authorities, and often with neighbouring regions across national borders. One objective of this analysis would be to contribute to shaping a common European policy for tackling such transnational crises in the future.

(*) All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.