Adopted by AER Executive Board 16 March 2016.
Implementing mission and core objectives
The present Planning strategy is part of a fourfold global strategy of the Assembly of European Regions which aims at setting the stage to ensure that the mission and objectives of AER are implemented effectively.
AER’s mission is:
- To be the voice of the regions of Europe
AER’s core objectives are:
- Promoting regional interests in Europe and beyond;
- Fostering interregional cooperation to promote the exchange of experience and the development of regional policy.
AER believes in the following values:
- Democracy and transparency – two totally complementary and inseparable values: AER will act transparently to focus on defending the interests of all member regions while respecting democratic principles.
- Fairness and solidarity – the root of mutual respect and acceptance of cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic differences: AER advocates solidarity between all regions of Europe, while urging fairness as a source of cohesion between member regions and promoting equal opportunities for all.
- Openness and dialogue: AER is open to all European regions and their elected representatives, men and women alike, from all non-extremist political movements. AER promotes dialogue and dares to confront ideas;
- Boldness and effectiveness: AER seeks to stimulate creativity and encourage political debate, and aims to transform the regions via forward-looking projects.
Objectives of this strategy
1) Linking the AER planning documents
The mission and objectives of the AER Statute are the long-lasting point of reference. Planning at AER establishes the links between the complementary documents which are necessary to put the two objectives into effect.
2) Establishing the relations between the different AER bodies
This document aims to help better understand the individual role of each of AER’s bodies as well as establish how these work together as a whole.
3) Coordinating these elements into a planning cycle
The Planning strategy harmonizes and coordinates the drafting, adoption, implementation and monitoring of the AER activities into a unified and coherent process, also referred to as the AER planning cycle.
These three objectives allow for the AER Planning strategy to ensure that the concretisation of AER’s two core objectives are done in line with the statutory decision making process, using all resources available at AER at the right moment in time. Finally, it also facilitates the monitoring of the undertook actions and activities.
Key planning documents
Based on the AER Statute, the AER planning cycle consists of the following documents:
AER Political priorities
Document formulating the two core objectives into the political orientation of AER over the coming years. Adopted by the AER Bureau and ratified by the AER General Assembly. Renewed every two years.
AER Planning strategy
Strategy outlining the different key documents, the decision making process as well as the steps to fulfil in order to successfully set up a cycle of priorities and activities at AER. Adopted by the Executive Board and ratified by the General Assembly. Long term lifespan.
AER Communications strategy
Strategy creating a system of communications for AER as well as defining AER in its communications environment. Adopted by the Executive Board and ratified by the General Assembly. Long term lifespan.
AER Member relations strategy
Strategy setting forth the general goal of AER with regards to its members as well as the different options available to them in terms of membership. Adopted by the Executive Board and ratified by the General Assembly. Long term lifespan.
AER Human relations strategy
Strategy determining how AER staff should be recruited, the competences required at AER as well as how to manage issues related to members of the staff. Adopted by the Executive Board. Medium term lifespan.
Document containing all tools and methods used at AER. Adopted by the Executive Board. Medium term lifespan.
AER Action plan
Consolidation of the Committee Work programmes, implementing each core objective throughout a year. Adopted by the Executive Board and ratified by the General Assembly. Renewed annually.
AER Activity report
Listing of all the activities and outputs carried out per political priority. Each activity should also include which tool or method was used and how these activities contribute to the core objectives. Adopted by the General Assembly.
Planning at AER
Key planning elements throughout a cycle
The end is the beginning
The AER General Assembly is used as the ultimate chronological reference point. It marks the end of a cycle and triggers automatically the beginning of new one.
Defining limits in time
A planning cycle at AER has a life span of two years, from autumn year one to spring year three.
The cycle starts with the Action plan, based on the Political priorities and the Committee Work programmes and ends with the Activity report, the presentation of the results achieved during these two years, making way for a new cycle to begin.
Budgeting a plan
A budgetary year at AER spreads out from January to December. In order to correspond to the Political priorities as well as the Action plan, it is planned on a two-year basis. The plan is reviewed every year for the following two years.
Monitoring and evaluating results
Planning at AER allows having a clear overview of when specific activities will take place throughout a cycle.
Careful and regular evaluation of these activities’ results will be integrated into the annual planning scheme and will allow to showcase to the members the progress and achievements made at the end of a cycle, determining better how to work with the next one.
The overall performance is in parallel monitored by the Monitoring and Evaluation Group.
The decision making process
The bodies of AER are:
- The governing bodies: The General Assembly and the Executive Board;
- The Bureau for political discussion, debate and decision making a basis for lobbying and advocacy;
- The Thematic Committees for exchange and dissemination of best practise and running of programmes and projects.
Their respective roles in the planning cycle are:
- The Bureau leads the discussion on the Political priorities, in order to establish the political orientation of the organisation over a two-year period.
- The AER Committees will contribute to the AER Priorities though their thematic expertise. In the Committee Work programmes, they will make proposals on the methods and tools, as well as concrete activities that they wish to use on in order to achieve the core objectives.
- The Executive Board consolidates the Committee Work programmes into the Action plan. In this, the Executive Board ensures the accordance with the Political priorities, that a sufficient balance between the two core objectives is respected and that the activities are in accordance with the financial and human resources available during the coming year.
- The General Assembly will formally adopt the result of the consultation between the Bureau, the Committees and the Executive Board, as well as act as a safeguard of activities. This is done by ratifying the Political Priorities, the Planning, Communication and Member Relations strategies as well as the Action plan, and adopting the Activity report.
Linking the strategies
Planning helps Communications to determine where and how to act throughout a planning cycle, and defines the distribution of responsibilities and timing of the decision-making process.
Communications helps Member relations in Identifying and defining the added member value, a key component for success.
Member relations helps Planning to determine on what field to act depending on the demands of regions at AER.
The tools will take their full form in the AER Toolkit as an independent publication.