16th PLENARY SESSION

      CG(16)10
      9 February 2009

      SUMMARIES OF THE REPORTS

      Table of contents

      1. Verification of new members’ credentials and new appointment procedures
      2. Public water and sewer services for sustainable development
      3. Combating domestic violence against women
      4. Congress Resources and its 2010 Budget
      5. Intercultural Cities
      6. Equality and diversity in local authorities’ employment and service provision
      7. The digital divide and e-inclusion in the regions
      8. Observation of the elections of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara (Georgia)
      9. Good governance, a key factor for the sustainable economic development of regions
      10. The future of cultural tourism - towards a sustainable model

      I. REPORTS SUBMITTED TO THE PLENARY SITTINGS OF THE CONGRESS

      1. Verification of new members’ credentials and new appointment procedures

      Rapporteurs: Anders KNAPE (Sweden, L, EPP/DC)

      Günther KRUG (Germany, R, SOC)

      CG(16)4RES

      As they do every year, the Rapporteurs will review the credentials of the new members and any new procedures for the appointment of national delegations in the light of the current criteria of the Congress Charter and Rules of Procedure.

      2. Public water and sewer services for sustainable development

      Rapporteurs: Vladimir GORODETSKIY (Russian Federation, L, SOC)

      Piet JANSEN (The Netherlands, R, EPP/CD)

      CG(16)6REC

      CG(16)6RES

      CG(16)6REP

      Water is an essential public good and guaranteeing the availability of sufficient quantities of good quality water is a major challenge for human societies and the sustainable development of the planet.

      Determined public action in managing water and sewer services is a vital investment for the future. The Congress calls for a genuine culture of responsibility which reasserts local and regional authorities’ role.

      The complexity of water-related problems tends to make it more difficult to take decisions on water management models. However, legal responsibility for services should be maintained as the closest level possible to citizens and decisions concerning water must involve the private sector, NGOs and citizens as users.

      The Congress invites local and regional authorities and the organisations which represent them to mobilise their forces to prepare for the 5th World Water Forum in order to highlight the fundamental role of local and regional authorities in the organisation of public water and sewer services and to ensure that their freedom to choose between different management models is respected

      3. Combating domestic violence against women

      Rapporteur: Sandra BARNES (United Kingdom, L, EPP/CD)

      CG(16)7REC

      CG(16)7RES

      CG(16)7REP

      Following the Council of Europe awareness-raising Campaign to Combat Violence against Women, including Domestic Violence (2006-2008), this report stresses the key role of regional and local authorities in addressing the issue of domestic violence.

      The majority of victims of domestic violence are women. However combating domestic violence contributes to community safety and the reduction of crime levels as a whole and promotes social cohesion.

      This report makes proposals on how local and regional authorities can take action efficiently and safely within their areas in three fields simultaneously: prevention, protection of victims and provision of services. It provides examples from several countries, which have developed a co-ordinated community response.

      4. Congress Resources and its 2010 Budget

      Rapporteur: Jean-Claude FRECON (France, L, SOC)

      CG(16)9REC

      CG(16)9REP

      This is the first of the reports that the Congress Bureau has decided to submit each year, at the first of its two annual sessions, which will enable the Congress to address a recommendation to the Committee of Ministers on the resources and budget of the Congress for the following year. It presents the budget of the Congress and its various structures, evaluates the 2008 budget, makes a first evaluation of the 2009 budget and makes proposals for the 2010 budget in line with the 2009-2010 priorities which the Congress adopted at its 2008 Autumn Session, and which constitute a genuine political commitment by the Congress to strengthening its institutional role in pursuit of local and regional democracy.

      II. REPORTS SUBMITTED TO THE CHAMBER OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES

      5. Intercultural Cities

      Rapporteur: Jens NILSSON (Sweden, SOC)

      CPL(16)1REC

      CPL(16)1RES

      CPL(16)1REP

      European cities have a fundamental role to play in promoting cultural identities, diversity and cultural exchanges. Best practices stemming from 12 pilot cities should enable to identify implementation strategies to be recommended to other cities and communities to promote intercultural relations.

      The objective of the Council of Europe’s programme is to foster cultural diversity, recognising the contribution of different cultural groups to the social coherence of cities. This project recommends a pro-active intercultural integration policy prioritising professional integration, housing and citizenship and encouraging the development of a culturally inclusive identity through public debate, cultural events and work with the media

      6. Equality and diversity in local authorities’ employment and service provision

      Rapporteur: Esther MAURER (Switzerland, SOC)

      CPL(16)2REC

      CPL(16)2RES

      CPL(16)2REP

      Access to jobs and progress in employment is a key dimension of the integration process, as is provision of services that migrants can access fully and effectively, without discrimination.

      Municipal authorities are major employers and service providers yet their role in this context, particularly as employers, is rarely analysed. Even though local authorities may be aware of the importance of achieving labour market integration of migrants, they have not as yet been successful in integrating them into their own workforces.

      This report, providing an overview of current practice in 25 European local authorities, fruit of the work of the CLIP (Cities for Local Integration Policy) Network, makes practical suggestions on ways in which local authorities can ensure that, in relation to their own staff and service provision, they make a positive contribution to the integration of migrants in their area.

      III. REPORTS SUBMITTED TO THE CHAMBER OF REGIONS

      7. The digital divide and e-inclusion in the regions

      Rapporteur: Jean-Marc BOURJAC (France, R, SOC)

      CPR(16)1REC

      CPR(16)1RES

      CPR(16)1REP

      In Europe today, there are large gaps between different population groups in terms of access to the information and communication technologies and their distribution and use.

      Although the term “digital divide” is often employed, the gaps are not a clear-cut division but rather a series of divisions superimposed on one another, and the ICTs merely reveal the exclusion that already exists in our societies.

      The concept of e-inclusion poses the question of equal access to the “information society” or the “knowledge society”. It is a multidimensional concept and embodies every citizen’s right to access the ICTs and acquire skills and information.

      In this connection, the authorities bear considerable responsibility and have a fundamental role to play as decision-makers, providers of essential services and driving forces for change.

      8. Observation of the elections of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara (Georgia)

      Rapporteur: Günther KRUG (Germany, R, SOC)

      CPR(16)2REC

      CPR(16)2REP

      The Congress observed the 3 November elections to the legislative assembly of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara. The four Congress teams covered more than 60 polling stations. Polling day was calm and several recommendations by the Congress following the 2001 and 2004 Adjara elections had been implemented. However, a further consolidation of the democratic processes is necessary because of inadequacies in a number of polling stations, including as regards the voter lists, the vote count and the transmission of results. The delegation also noted that some parties abstained altogether from participating in the elections and expressed doubts about whether the reduction of seats in the new Supreme Council from 30 to 18 can enhance regional democracy. Similar doubts were expressed about the fact that the Council does not have the right to elect directly the Head of Adjara Government.

      9. Good governance, a key factor for the sustainable economic development of regions

      Rapporteur: Uno ALDEGREN (Sweden, SOC)

      CPR(16)3REC

      CPR(16)3RES

      CPR(16)3REP

      Regions in Europe are subject to profound transformations as a consequence of global phenomena. They are facing new economic challenges and also have to adapt to demographic trends, improve their energy efficiency and combat climate change. Their future in a globalised world depends largely on their creativity, their capacity to innovate and their ability to foster cooperation.

      Sustainable economic development is not only dependent on tangible assets or on human capital. Regional authorities’ good governance practices, their ethical conduct and their capacity to promote a climate of confidence with citizens and local stakeholders are essential elements to reinforce regional attractivness.

      To achieve this, as advocated in the European Charter of Regional Democracy, greater regional autonomy, effective application of the principle of subsidiarity and new forms of political participation are required.

      10. The future of cultural tourism - towards a sustainable model

      Rapporteur: Günther KRUG, (Germany R, SOC)

      CPR(16)4REC

      CPR(16)4RES

      CPR(16)4REP

      Cultural tourism can be an antidote to mass tourism and contemporary tendencies towards a folklorization of culture. Such a form of tourism can offer an opportunity to European cities and regions to promote cultural exchanges and activities related to the preservation and revitalization of their heritage, which are the main characteristics of the majority of European urban communities.

      This type of tourism offers local and regional authorities the opportunity to develop new concepts with a view to striking a balance between the exploitation of the cultural heritage for commercial purposes and the responsible and sustainable use of the cultural heritage. Tourism should be an asset rather than a hindrance to local and regional development.

      The sustainable management of heritage resources by political decision makers ensures economic development while respecting the equilibrium of cities and regions. The communities concerned need to be directly involved in any initiatives.



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