Political Conference 2022, Krakow, May 17
Publish date: Friday, 20 May 2022
The annual political conference of the European Confederation of Local Intermediate Authorities (CEPLI), whose vice-presidency is held by Partenalia, was held with hybrid participation (onsite and online) on Tuesday, May 17th, at the headquarters of the Association of Polish Provinces – Zwiazek Powiatow Polskich ( ZPP) after a year of hiatus without any conference (2020) and another year of online conference (2021).
Together with representatives of the academic world from several European countries, from the main European institutions and organisations financed by European programmes, the political and technical representatives of the national associations of local intermediate authorities that make up the CEPLI met in Krakow, at the invitation of Andrzej PŁONKA, President of the ZPP and Starost of the Bielsko province in Poland, to carry out a reflection on territorial resilience in a context of multiple crises - health, economic, climatic and the invasion of Ukraine - which gave its relevance to the topic chosen for this annual meeting.
The academic presentations made it possible to define the concept, shed light on the transversality of its application in the various areas of intervention and actions of local intermediate authorities and provide keys elements of understanding through the presentation of the various dichotomies that territorial resilience encompasses.
Emphasis was placed on the fact that Territorial Resilience is not a principle whose application would be limited to one area of public policy, but rather a key concept applicable to all public action and that highlights the need to conceive of all such policies holistically and as an interrelated.
The presidents of local intermediate authorities and provincial deputies then presented specific cases of territorial resilience, thus demonstrating the essential role of this level of government in absorbing the shocks, both foreseeable and cyclical as well as unforeseeable, that populations face through a capacity for reaction and adaptation provided by experience and in-depth knowledge of the local realities of their respective territories. Specifically, the interventions of the politicians focused on the management of the COVID crisis with direct emergency aid to the population and in particular to local companies and the management of the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army but also the management of floods and forest fires (unpredictable crises/cyclical crises). They were able to demonstrate, through their respective presentations, the essential role of local intermediate authorities in the execution at the local level of European and national political decisions which without knowledge of the terrain would remain in the state of mere declarations of will.
The third and last part of the day was devoted to prospective work aimed at improving territorial resilience by providing development and learning tools to local intermediate authorities. The various organisations and institutions represented (ESPON – permanent structure financed by the INTERREG program that provides studies and territorial data to political decision-makers, policy learning platform also financed by INTERREG and the knowledge network partnership of the European Commission) announced the various instruments available to local intermediate authorities to build up their absorption, reaction and improvement capacity in the face of current and future major crises. The study of the variables that impacted the quality of responses to previous crises (ESPON) and peer learning (among the various European administrations) enabled by the platform and the knowledge network constitute the main areas of work and improvement paths for local intermediate authorities.
President André Viola closed the working day with the reading and adoption of the CEPLI Political Declaration urging the European institutions to promote greater integration of local intermediate authorities through more direct access to European funding, involvement of the local intermediate authorities in the European decision-making processes and the design of European policies -especially those with a direct impact on local politics- and the support to the Marseille manifesto of the European Committee of the Regions that demanded, amongst other things, a greater role of this institution that would materialise by making its local policy-related decisions binding.
Following the decision of the General Assembly held the day before, the next CEPLI Political Conference will be hosted by the Diputación de Ourense in 2023
The various presentations given during the conference as well as the complete programme can be consulted on the CEPLI website: www.cepli.eu