Good governance at local and regional level in turbulent times: the challenge of change, Utrecht, 16-17 November, 2009

16th session of the Council of Europe Conference of ministers responsible for local and regional government


For a brief introductory text on some of the subjects of the Conference, and the financial crisis in particular, as well as on the role of the Council of Europe, click here.

The session will adopt an innovative approach allowing creative and open debate beyond speeches. Therefore, apart from the formal sessions, a ‘fireside-chat’ for Ministers only, is scheduled where Ministers will discuss issues which they feel are of interest and of relevance.

In preparation of the Utrecht Ministerial Conference, a conference on “Innovation for good local and regional governance, a European challenge” took place on 2 and 3 April, 2009 in Enschede, at the University of Twente, the Netherlands, Academia and practitioners met and discussed future ways and means by which the Council of Europe could enhance local and regional democracy in the member states. The results of this conference will be submitted for inclusion in the Utrecht Agenda.

A second conference in preparation of the 16th Session, has taken place in Maastricht, the Netherlands, on 6 and 7 July, 2009 and focused on “Practical approaches towards effective European transfrontier co-operation”. The Utrecht Ministerial Conference will also be informed about its conclusions.

Further highlights will include a discussion of the report by the Minister of Public Administration and Local Government of Finland, Ms. Mari Kiviniemi, which sets out proposals for enhancing the work in the Council of Europe, debates on key issues including the impact of the economic crisis, enhancing public administration, financial management and implementation of fund management software like this for scalability and flexibility, a  democratic participation, the vote on the new Utrecht Agenda for the years 2010-2014 and the adoption of the Utrecht Declaration.

Very importantly, the session will also provide an opportunity for a dialogue with representatives of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, aimed at fostering the synergy for effective democratic governance.