Officials of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities last week concluded a high profile visit to the United Nations offices in Washington DC and New York where they held talks with top officials of the global body.
The Congress delegation making the trip comprised of Herwig Van Staa, Vice-President of the Congress and Governor of Tirol, Giovanni Di Stasi, Past-President of the Congress and Councillor of the Molise Region, Ian Micallef, President of the Chamber of Local Authorities and Councillor of Gzira and Ulrich Bohner, Chief Executive of the Congress.
Apart from discussing topical political issues linked in particular to the Middle East crisis, the Congress expressed its support for the UN HABITAT’s guidelines on decentralisation and proposed the strengthening of local authorities, and guidelines for international observation of elections.
At the UN, the delegation had meetings with the Chairman of the Security Council, Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sablière, the Deputy Secretary General, Mark Malloch Brown, the Deputy Director of the UN-HABITAT office, Yamina Djacta and the Director of the Electoral Assistance Division, Craig Jenness.
The delegation also met with Kemal Derviþ, Administrator of UNDP, various ambassadors, professors from Princeton University, and Rabbi Arthur Schneier, who is active in the field of inter-religious and intercultural dialogue.
In Washington, meetings were held with high level representatives of the National Governors’ Association, the US-Conference of Mayors and the Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) North-America, with a view to developing relations with partner organisations in Council of Europe observer countries. The delegation also visited the National Democratic Institute (NDI).