MOGILEV, 8 February (BelTA) – Experts of the Council of Europe have spoken in positive terms about promising avenues of development of the Mogilev Oblast Association of Local Councils of Deputies, BelTA learned from Chairman of the Mogilev Oblast Council of Deputies Dmitry Kharitonchik.
A delegation of the Council of Europe experts visited Kirovsk District on 7 February where they examined how associations of local councils were established and work as well as possibilities of providing practical assistance with improving their operation using Mogilev Oblast as an example. “In the short term we intend to focus on three priority areas of work: training our specialists, making our association financially stable, and, of course, studying and analyzing the situation in the districts in order to step up the resolution of various problems of local importance. The association is also intent on providing active assistance with the operation of local self-administration bodies – elders and collective territorial public self-government bodies,” Dmitry Kharitonchik said.
In his words, the association will closely cooperate with municipal government agencies, corporations and individuals, the general public as well as external donors in order to implement various ideas, proposals, and projects designed to take care of the sustainable development of the territories and improve living standards. “Dmitri Marchenkov, Head of the Cooperation Department of the Secretariat of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, noted that we are on the right track and persistently fulfill Council of Europe recommendations on enhancing the role of local self-administration,” Dmitry Kharitonchik said.
Participants of the roundtable session also discussed the establishment of a nationwide association of local councils of deputies, its structure, and capabilities. Apart from that, the experts visited an agricultural college and a museum complex in the agrotown of Zhilichi. They looked into what the local authorities do to raise living standards of the local residents.
In turn, representatives of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus told BelTA that a conference to discuss topical aspects of the work of the association of local councils of deputies took place in Kirovsk District on 7 February. The conference was chaired by Chairman of the Regional Policy and Local Self-Government Commission Alexander Popkov. During the conference Sylvia Ivanova, a program coordinator in the Department for Democratic Governance of the Directorate General of the Council of Europe, said that Council of Europe experts are ready to provide practical assistance to the Belarusian side with improving the work of the associations. The expert said: “Belarus has already done some serious work to organize the operation of the associations in Mogilev Oblast and Grodno Oblast. These are progressive steps on the way to improving the work of local councils of deputies. The country has a great potential in this regard and we are ready to assist with its implementation.”
In turn, Alexander Popkov mentioned Belarus' interest in advancing cooperation with the Council of Europe in this field. “We are interested in the experience of European Union countries. We are open to cooperation. I am convinced the meeting will help make our ties stronger. It represents a new stage in our relations,” he noted.