Press Release - 731(2009)

Local action to combat climate change and to encourage youth participation in grassroots democracy at the centre of the Congress’ Autumn Session

Strasbourg, 06.10.2009 – The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe will hold its 17th Plenary Session in Strasbourg from 13 to 15 October 2009. In preparation for the UN Conference in Copenhagen in December, the Congress will hold a debate on the important contribution of local and regional policy makers to the global challenge of climate change. In the framework of this year’s European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) events will focus on ways to increase citizens’ participation in territorial processes, particularly, a stronger mobilisation of young people.

Further key debates include the role of territorial authorities to prevent over-indebtedness of households, the question of further enhancing Europe’s regions and the benefits and risks of e-democracy for local authorities. Also, there will be a vote on the report of the first ever election of the Mayor of Yerevan (Armenia) and a debate on the situation of local authorities in South-East Anatolia (Turkey).

Additional points on the agenda of the Autumn Session are the Congress’ political declaration on the 60th anniversary of the Council of Europe and the election of the new Secretary General of the Congress.

Among the personalities who will address this Session are the Slovenian Minister of Local Self-Government and Regional Development, Zlata Plostajner; the 1st Vice-President of the EU Committee of the Regions, Michel Delebarre; the Mayor of Caracas (Venezuela), Antonio Ledezma and the Mayor of Stuttgart (Germany), Wolfgang Schuster. Robert Herrmann, Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg in charge of local democracy, will make a statement with regard to the city’s ELDW involvement.

Tuesday 13 October

During a special sitting to celebrate the Council of Europe’s 60th anniversary, the Plenary will hear statements by invited guests and Congress members. The adoption of the Congress’ Declaration will round off the programme. With regard to the focus on citizens’ participation, representatives of the Municipal Councils for children and young people of Schiltigheim and Strasbourg will present their work. The Mayor of Stuttgart (Germany), Wolfgang Schuster, will speak about local action to stimulate children-oriented city policies. The Mayor of Caracas (Venezuela), Antonio Ledezma, and Mayor of Yonago (Japan), Yasuo Nazaka, will share their experience of local self-government in their parts of the world. The sitting will be followed by the inauguration of a photo exhibition created on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Organisation to highlight Congress action in Europe.

Wednesday 14 October

The highlights of the second day include the presentation of the Congress report on climate change in view of the UN Copenhagen Conference in December, as well as debates on territorial measures to prevent over-indebted households and violence against children. In addition, the Congress will discuss opportunities and risks presented by e-democracy for local authorities and the issue of multilevel governance in the case of regions with legislative powers. There will be a debate on the situation of local authorities in South-East Anatolia (Turkey). Also, the outgoing Secretary General of the Congress, Ulrich Bohner, will address the Plenary.

Thursday 15 October

Discussions on creative cities (as an example of managing the cultural activity of municipalities) and on improving indoor air quality (as a new challenge for local authorities) feature highly on the agenda on Thursday. There will be a debate and vote on the report of the first ever elections of the Mayor of Yerevan (Armenia). Also, the Governor of the Fukui Prefecture, Issei Nishikawa, will share the Japanese experience of regionalisation and a round table on objectives, structures and networks of interregional cooperation will be organised. The Session will be concluded by debates on equal access to local and regional elections and on cooperation in the Baltic Sea region, with the participation of Per Bǿdker Andersen, President of the Union of the Baltic Cities, Georgy Boos, Governor of Kaliningrad (Russia) and Ambassador Neris Germanas, representing the Lithuanian Chairmanship of the Baltic Sea Council.

Ian Micallef, acting President of the Congress, will give a press conference on Tuesday 13 October at 10 am in Room 1 of the Palais de l’Europe. The Session is open to the press and will be webcast live on the Internet. For more information:

Communication Unit of the Congress
of Local and Regional Authorities
Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 49 36
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 27 51