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UNDESA Policy Briefs

Trans-European Dialogue (TED) 7 -Strong Local Governments: Community, Strategy, Integration
 
6-7 February 2014, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Theme

TED7, similar to the previous conferences, strives to offer a platform for exchanging ideas, opinion and experiences on key issues of Public Administration. TED7 will focus dialogue on the processes and practices of developing a stronger relationship between local governments and communities/citizens between experts from various European countries. It is also an excellent opportunity for various EGPA and NISPAcee study groups to focus on the topics described above to intensify the exchange of views.

The EGPA aims to explore and understand developments and improvements in public administration, policy and politics. EGPA’s, Local Governance and Democracy Study Group provides a regular forum for the in depth study and discussion of changes in local politics, government and administration. The group is particularly interested in the challenges that emerge to traditional representative local democracy and this is the key theme running through the TED7.

TED7 will focus on issues of strengthening the link between the local governments and the communities they represent, govern and serve.  Though local government is differently perceived in different European countries/administrative systems, there seems to be a disconnection between citizens who no longer feel part of only one community but rather to a variety of localities/territorial units with which they have functional relations. In this context, the topic is very important for all EU States: The capacity of local governments to connect with the community, to put together viable strategies for local development and to integrate within the (supposed) European common framework as a key factor for the development of public administration and democracy within Europe.

The conference will serve as an opportunity to explore current trends concerning local democratic governance. Within this broad framework the conference will explore the way in which the traditional relationship between public administration, local democracy and local communities which  is evolving under several pressures – increasing social fragmentation; the loss of the relationship between the citizens and their communities; emergence of networks which are engulfing local communities and governments, etc.

Participants will be invited to debate the role and function of the relationship local governments has with communities within an era of global governance and to address specific challenges given the framework of representative democracy.

Sub-themes:

The following issues will be addressed:

a) With regard to the relationship between public administration, local democracy and-communities, specific questions concern democratic representation and how easy it is for the local communities to get their message across; performance and quality management in the public sector (how well public local administrations serve the needs of the community); accountability (what mechanisms are in place to ensure the accountability of the public administration vis-à-vis the community)

b) With regard to strategies and strategic planning at the local level, the focus is on determining if local governments are able to develop strategies capable of serving the local community and their constituencies in the context of globalization and of the trends/priorities promoted by the Europe 2020 strategy.

c) With regard to integration, the focus will be on the capacity of the former communist states to become fully integrated within the functioning framework of the Western public administrative systems. Also, we are interested in discussing best practices in local politics and democracy coming from the Western democracies in the EU. One final question is whether the transfer of know-how is a two way street – do the Western public administrations have something to learn from their Eastern counterparts?  We wish to discuss how policy transfer occurs across and within countries and the barriers that prevent and factors which stimulate, policy transfer

 
 
 
 
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