The European Charter of Local Self-Government (ECLSG) lays down standards for protecting the rights of local authorities and requires states which have ratified it to comply with a number of conditions, principles and practices. States undertake to respect a core of basic principles to which no reservation is possible – such as the right of citizens to participate in managing public affairs, the key rights of communities to enjoy autonomy and self-government, elect their local bodies and to have their own structures and financial resources.
This session will provide an overview of the progress in decentralization in the Eastern European and Central Asia (EECA) region drawing on two instruments: Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe (NALAS) Regional Decentralization Observatory and University of Lausanne’s Local Autonomy Index (UNIL-LAI).
NALAS Regional Decentralization Observatory continuously tracks the progress of decentralization and local government, fiscal trends and local public services in South-East Europe. The Observatory’s data shows that the decades-long decentralization efforts and successes are threatened by trends of re-centralization. This started well before the COVID-19 pandemic, but accelerated during the crisis and culminates today, as a result of the shortage and high prices of key resources, inflation and economic crisis.
UNIL-LAI is an extension and update of the “Self-rule index for local authorities in the EU, 1990-2014”, applying the comprehensive methodology to 57 countries over 30 years (1990-2020), including almost all EU, CoE and OECD member states. LAI data shows an increase of local autonomy between 1990 and 2020, especially in the Central and Eastern European countries.
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