Over 70 mayors from around South-East Europe convened on the XVII General Assembly of the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe (NALAS) on 12 May 2022, in Hotel Crown Plaza in Belgrade, Serbia, in partnership with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities of Serbia (SCTM).
The XVII General Assembly was chaired by NALAS Vice President, Mr. Mehmet Ergun Turan, Mayor of Fatih Municipality in Istanbul.
“It is such a great pleasure to see all NALAS General Assembly delegates today here in Belgrade in a physical presence after over two years of severe lock down in coping with the COVID crisis.” – emphasized Mr. Turan.
As we all know, it takes so much efforts of local government authorities and their associations to decentralise competencies and fiscal power to improve public services for our citizens to enjoy better life in their community. On the other hand, when our governments have to manage situations of crisis, all reform processes can easily get either frozen or forgotten. However, it is exactly the crisis situations showing how important it is for our societies to have strong local governments which make our communities resilient to external shocks added Mr. Turan.
The meeting was acommpanied by Tour de table discussion on how to improve local service; where digitalisation, combating crisis and fiscal decentralisation were highlighted as key preconditions by the mayors.
During the General Assembly, based on the rotation system, Mr. Goran Cvetanovic, Mayor of Leskovac, Serbia, assumed the role of new NALAS President. “During this year, NALAS will develop its new strategy for the next five years. I would commit myself to lead a participative process, that will ensure that the new strategy reflects the emerging and development needs and priorities of all NALAS’ members. As the current NALAS’ strategy is still very relevant, I would keep the focus on sustainable local development and resilience of local governments. In the upcoming years, we have to be very swift in supporting digitalisation of local public services and supporting municipalities to implement the smart city concept.”, said Mr. Cvetanovic.
High officials from Serbia and the Region, as well as from the European institutions addressed the 17th NALAS General Assembly, including:
– Ms. Aleksandra Maletic, Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
– Ms. Maja Mačužić Puzić, State Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Republic of Serbia
– Ms. Anna Magyar (ECR/Hungary), Committee of the Regions Rapporteur on Enlargement Package 2021
– Mr. Fabrizio Rossi, Secretary General of CEMR (video address)
The program of the XVII NALAS General Assembly will also include the Water conference on the role of municipalities in providing quality water and sanitation services that will take place on 13 May 2022.