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Final Declaration of the International Conference:“The Decentralization Reform: from Strategy to Action”

15.11.2012   7917 Views  

Gathered together on November 13 and 14, 2012 in Chisinau, for the International Conference "The Decentralization Reform:  from Strategy to Action" organized by the Government of the Republic of Moldova, with the support of the Swedish Government, UNDP, UN Women, UNICEF and the Soros - Foundation Moldova;

Representing the central and local public administration authorities, the academia and the civil society, the international and local experts' community;

Reaffirming our commitment to the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government of the Council of Europe, and to the principles of national legislation on local government;

Analyzing the progress registered in implementing the National Decentralization Strategy;

Stating that the decentralization reform is in its incipient phase and that sustained efforts are needed for the reform to be implemented according to the set timeframe;

Considering that, in the present period of severe and probably lasting crisis in the world economy, it is of high importance for the Moldovan citizens to benefit from having a solid and efficient local government, close to them and under their direct supervision, with effective capacity to create and manage services and infrastructures;

Noting the availability and willingness of all stakeholders to give a new impetus to reform;

Supporting the Government of the Republic of Moldova in its thorough commitment to strengthen local self government by decentralizing responsibilities, competences and resources to give local elected authorities the capacity to improve the standards of life of the citizens and to act for regional development;

We, the participants of the International Conference "The Decentralization Reform: from Strategy to Action":

Plead for strengthening the institutional and managerial capacity of the central public authorities involved in the implementation of the National Strategy for Decentralization. Moldova is at a crucial time for the decentralization reform, an opportunity that needs to be used in the short run.  The opportunities offered by the current institutional structure should be fully exploited by creating new departments with qualified personnel. It is imperative to boost the sectoral implementation of the National Decentralization Strategy at the line-ministry level, to improve the methodological and procedural coordination of the implementation process of the National Decentralization Strategy by the State Chancellery and the Ministry of Finance, to adapt the sectoral implementation process of the reform to the new finance framework of local public administration envisaged by the amendments to the law on local public finances.

We are in favor of the new conceptual framework on decentralization of the system of local public finances and we recommend the following urgent measures: revision of the current collection and allocation system of shared taxes; revision of the sharing system for the personal income tax in order to enshrine in law fix quotas for first and second level LPAs; development and implementation of a stable, general purpose, equalization system, distinct from the conditional transfers, and which would encourage the own tax effort; separation the of equalization transfer flows for first and second level LPAs (direct allocation per level); development and implementation of a system of conditional transfers for the main delegated and shared functions, that would ensure a minimum and equitable level of performance.

We highlight the need to optimize the territorial-administrative structure of the Republic of Moldova, as a precondition for a significant transfer of responsibilities and resources to more powerful local public authorities, so that they have the capacity to fulfill their mission and to meet the people's needs in a proper way. Demographic, economic and social criteria must prevail over political stereotypes when the competent and efficient administration of local communities and people's welfare is at stake. Territorial-administrative organization must be improved consolidation of the administrative capacities of the LPAs of first level, followed by an effort to make the current system of rayons more efficient and to consolidate the development regions in a regional level of governance. A short-term option in this regard would be the inter-communal cooperation, which, in any case, should be promoted as an intermediary solution.

We encourage the need to materialize and to achieve, in due time, the objectives of the new conceptual framework of the decentralization strategy in the field of education. The reform in this field must ensure the universal access to education and the quality of the teaching-learning process in all schools. In this respect, the following systemic and specific activities are needed: analysis and amendment of the laws on education; development of budgetary procedures that would comply with the new legislation on public finances; objective and proper information of local governments and schools; enhancing the autonomy and competences of schools and of local public authorities; introduction of a transparent and equitable funding system; involvement of parents and of local community in school's activities; building the schools' capacity to meet parents' needs; ensuring external monitoring.

We support the measures proposed for the achievement of the strategic objective related to property decentralization and namely: completion of the legislation in the field; development of private and public property management models; enhancing the operational capacity of managing buildings as well as the Register of Properties; integration of special planning with the land management tools; conclusion of privatization of dwellings that still belong to the state and territorial-administrative units; enhance the role of public administration in concluding the process of setting up and registration of condominium associations; development of  management and maintenance services for apartment buildings; ensuring the legal compliance when setting up associations for the use and technical maintenance of the housing stock.

We recommend the improvement of the institutional framework and of the financing system for social service provision by LPAs, the implementation of a coherent system of territorial identification of needs, of evaluation of quality of and access to social services, in order to achieve the objectives of the national policies in this field.     

We emphasize the need to encourage inter-municipal cooperation in the provision of local public services, as a feasible and efficient solution for the problem of excessive fragmentation of the local public administration. The reform in this field must develop a permissive legal framework and provide financial incentives, favor the voluntary association of the local public authorities for common provision of public services which they manage.     

We unanimously subscribe to the need to respect human rights and gender equality during the reform. Decentralization involves a Human Rights-Based Approach, the integration of the gender dimension and women's empowerment, the development of each human being entirely according to the principles of non-discrimination, participation, transparency, accountability and equality between women and men. This approach concerns the needs of every woman, of every man, and every child in the local communities, it ensures their participation in decision-making and all public activities, as well the access to services and public infrastructure.             

We believe that the decentralization reform will bring benefits to all the citizens of the Republic of Moldova. The local communities will be better managed. People will be provided better and more accessible services, will be involved in local administration, will become more responsible and will take control over their lives.        

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