The regional governments call for adequate funding in Rio

Foto de familia, VII Cumbre Mundial de Gobiernos Regionales de ORU-Fogar en Rio de Janeiro

Governors and regional presidents from Europe, America and Africa, gathered at ORU Fogar’s Summit last 14th and 15th April, concluded that one of the keys to improving the effectiveness of intermediate governments is to have adequate funding. The VII World Summit of Regional Governments, untitled “Regional Governments, how can we become more effective?” and hosted by the Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro, was primarily geared at discussing the public management processes of the intermediate governments.  

Some of the speakers at the 6 round tables of the meeting noted the need for better planning, increased transparency and more training for the political and technical officials of the regions, underlining that ORU Fogar can make an important contribution in this regard. The governments represented in Rio concluded, however, that the most fundamental element for the efficiency of a regional government is having adequate funding, accordingly for the services provided.

Fiscal policies for the regions

“It is very difficult for a Governor to carry out large-scale projects, because he never knows what his budget will be –said Pedro González, Governor of Amambay, Paraguay– so the best way of financing is having our own fiscal policy and a Legislative Assembly having the power to make laws in the Department”. Along the same lines, the Governor of Risaralda, Colombia, Sigfredo Salazar Osorio, alleged that “the Colombian departments have little resources and a lot of work, and that is because we have decentralised only in theory. We need revenues, administrative decentralisation and a fiscal reform”.

Over the two days of the Summit, it became apparent that the economic crisis has entailed in many countries not only a great debate on the distribution of powers, but also on the budget allocation, “in some countries, squalid, in others, insufficient”, stated ORU’s President, Paúl Carrasco. In this context, the need to match their resources to the citizens’ fiscal efforts arose, and even if a possible ‘fiscal laziness’ of intermediate governments in the collection of taxes came up, the speakers rejected the idea and they assured that, when possible, they collect. 

Next stop: Quito and Habitat III

Before the Summit, ORU Fogar held a General Assembly, which renewed the members of the Executive Bureau.  One of the decisions taken was the organisation of an Executive Bureau and an extraordinary Assembly in Quito, Ecuador, to elect ORU’s new president and vice-president, in the framework of the Habitat III Conference. 

The assembly also adopted three resolutions: the first one against terrorism promoted by the Vice-President Abdelkébir Berkia and the Association of Moroccan Regions (ARM), the second one on the role of regions in the refugee crisis promoted by the governments of Catalonia and Euskadi and, finally, a proposal of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) to designate the 7th June as International Day of Integration across national borders.

The VII World Summit of Regional Governments ended with great success in terms of participation, with a significant presence of Latin American governors, as well as international organisations such as the UNDP, the World Bank, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Latin American Bank of Development (CAF) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as observers.

The participants concluded that ORU Fogar must go deeply into the issue of regional funding, by sharing experiences with its partners and studying the possibility of providing technical assistance to the regions. During the closing of the meeting, President Carrasco stated that “discussions on all the round tables were fairly unanimous in asserting the need for adequate funding. In order to be more efficient, the intermediate governments, which are the closest to the citizens, need enough resources to meet their needs and ensure the services they deserve”.

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