The AER Executive Board (EB) met at the occasion of the Spring Committees Plenaries in London on 21 March for their first meeting in 2017. High on the agenda was the preparation for the General Assembly as well as following topics of strategic importance in various fields. Here are some of the key decisions that were taken.
Revising the planning strategy
The recent changes in the Statute adopted by the General Assembly in June 2016 sought to clarify and simplify the roles of the AER bodies (Bureau, Committees, General Assembly) giving them each prominence in their fields. The planning strategy needs to reflect these changes for the sake of coherence:
- Political priorities: the political priorities will now run for 1 year in order to better reflect issues that come up. They will be decided by the Bureau and will serve as the guidelines for AER’s work. The action plan will no longer be a static document but will be continuously adapted to reflect the reality of the activities taking place and available on the website.
- 3 changes in the Statute: the portfolios of the Vice-Presidents are assigned by the Executive board. The number of Vice-Presidents will be between 3 and 6. The election committee will work throughout the year and will also be responsible for the elections of the Committees.
- Changes in the procedures: proposal for each Committee to work with a Presidium that takes joint responsibility for the activities, and increase involvements and relations.
Measures for smooth transition
The elections taking place in June in Lower Austria mark a turning point for the organisation. The Executive Board that has been responsible to implement major changes over the past 4 years will see itself largely replaced after these elections. The work of the Election Committee has been key in this process to ensure suitable matching between nominations and profiles for the open positions. Conscious of the delicate process that a transition can be and confident in its open and transparent processes, the Executive Board has set up 3 additional measures to make the transition a successful one and to give the new EB members all the tools for a successful mandate: (1) a transition meeting of the outgoing and incoming Executive Board will be organised the day following the General Assembly in Lower Austria to include newly-elected members in the operations; (2) a meeting with the seconded officers of Executive Board members will be organised in June in Brussels to establish work methods, roles and responsibilities; (3) the EB suggests the election of a President Emeritus, for the outgoing President, to provide such advice as from time to time is requested by the President or the Executive Board.
Continued involvement in ARLEM
AER has been active in the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) for many years, but the EB recently questioned the relevance of this activity and asked Mr Christian Debève (Grand-Est-FR) to attend one of their meetings and evaluate the added-value for AER. Following a report from Mr Debève, the EB confirmed AERs participation in ARLEM activities and events as an excellent means to get further involved in Mediterranean issues and gain visibility on that front.
Membership in the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Government
AER was invited by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) to join its Global Task Force. This taskforce is a gathering of the key worldwide networks working on the global agenda : the Sustainable Development Goals and the fight against climate change. The Taskforce members share information on these topics and decide on common action when needed. Current members include CEMR, Metropolis, C40, ICLEI or nrg4sd. Next common action through the Global Taskforce, the organisation of the COP23 Summit of local and regional leaders!
On the way to becoming founding member of the European college of local innovation and democracy
AER has been approached to become a founding member of this new European college, the very first college dedicated 100% at Master degrees on the European action of future or current local and regional leaders (students, civil servants or politicians). To put it simply : the college of Bruges of local and regional authorities.
Located in the historic town of Cluny in AER member region Bourgogne-Franche Comté (FR), the first students will be welcomed in 2018 with priviledged access to AER members.
AER is following closely the progress of the European college and will inform you as soon as the first applications will be open. In the meantime, a delegation of the AER Summer Academy Committee and the Youth Regional Network will go to Cluny in early July 2017 in order to participate in the College’s Summer School and discuss potential cooperation on the Summer Academy and YRN front.
AER programmes looking ahead
“The Summer Academy will be taking a break in 2017 and focus resources and energy on planning for the 2018 and 2019 editions”, explained Mr Rune Fredriksen, President of the Summer Academy Organising Committee (SAOC). The SAOC will also be looking at attracting new regions to join the Organising Committee.
Ms Gloria Vitaly, President of the Youth Regional Network (YRN), spoke of the preparation for the upcoming YRN Committee meetings and General Assembly. The changes in the Statute will give the YRN the necessary tools to pursue the topics of their interest all the while influencing AER bodies to keep the youth perspective in their positions and actions.
A new Statute will also be adopted in Lower Austria for the Eurodyssey programme , aiming at clarifying the relations between the two structures while giving the members in the programme latitude to establish working methods that best fit the needs for filling the placement opportunities of the member regions.