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Webinars on decentralised governance bring new insights for stakeholders of the Gagauzia Dialogue process

Published on Thursday, 13 August 2020

Online seminars organised by CMI and Eurac Research provide new perspectives and in-depth technical knowledge on the link between effective decentralisation, economic stability and quality of life for citizens of Moldova and the Gagauz autonomy – inspiring members of the Gagauzia Dialogue process to identify their “own way for establishment of the permanent consultative mechanisms between Comrat and Chisinau”.

Moldovan and Gagauz politicians, civil servants and other key stakeholders at the online seminars provided by CMI and Eurac Research.

Despite the ongoing challenges posed by the global pandemic, CMI Moldova has successfully continued the work of the Gagauzia Dialogue project, providing Good Offices to the longstanding dialogue between Moldova’s national authorities and the Gagauzia autonomy, and strengthening the capacities of politicians, civil servants  and other key stakeholders to find joint solutions to shared issues. This effort culminated in a series of four capacity building webinars on Decentralised Governance held in July and attended by more than 40 stakeholders, providing expert insight into the potential of decentralisation for economic stability in autonomy regions, and a sense of optimism for the work ahead.

CMI partnered with Eurac Research, a leader in its field, to design a capacity building programme to strengthen stakeholder understanding of key topics related to autonomy issues. The series included in-depth technical information on autonomy function and legal issues, and insights into international and local experiences to provide a comparative perspective. Through obtaining this new knowledge, the programme’s 40 participants gained new tools to continue the ongoing dialogue process, and work towards the development of permanent dispute resolution mechanisms and the clarification of autonomy competences.

Screenshot from the webinar.

“If CMI was not already in Moldova, we would have had to bring it”

The webinar participants left feeling energised to build on their new knowledge and continue the dialogue process in the Autumn.

Vladimir Bolea, Member of the Moldovan Parliament and the Parliamentary Working Group on Gagauzia said “If CMI was not in Moldova, we would have had to bring it! CMI fits perfectly with the needs of politicians to gain knowledge and experience in a very short time, in our case, for settling possible disputes between the central power and autonomy”.

This sentiment was reinforced by Oazu Nantoi, Member of the Moldovan Parliament and the Parliamentary Working Group on Gagauzia, who said : “[This programme has made clear that] we need a continuous dialogue, which is meaningless without mutual respect…but there is also a need for an institutionalised mechanism, which enjoys respect in society. There is no point in continuing with a “zero sum” scenario – only the paths and the mechanisms that lead you to a “win-win” solution are worth the effort”.

Alexander Tarnavschii, Deputy Chairperson and Speaker of the Gagauzia Peoples Assembly and member of the Parliamentary Working Group on Gagauzia agreed: “The session with Prof. Francesco Palermo triggers the thinking regarding our local context and the need to figure out our own way for establishment of the permanent consultative mechanisms between Comrat and Chisinau”.

Ecaterina Jecova, Member of the Gagauzia People’s Assembly and the Parliamentary Working Group on Gagauzia, concluded: “The CMI team found a very efficient way to continue communications between legislators from Chisinau and Comrat during the pandemic. The experts made a thorough analysis of the peculiarities of our centre-autonomy relations, addressed questions from members of the Parliamentary Working Group, and facilitated a useful discussion. In my opinion, this allows us to say that there is more understanding of how to move forward and where to direct efforts for both sides”.

Ecaterina Jecova, Member of the Gagauzia People’s Assembly and the Parliamentary Working Group on Gagauzia, participating in the webinars on Decentralised Governance provided by CMI and Eurac Research.

About the Gagauzia Dialogue Project

“Supporting Inclusive Dialogue and Strengthening Capacities for a Better Functioning Gagauz Autonomy in Moldova” is a three-year project implemented by CMI and funded by Sweden. The project focuses on increasing trust and dialogue between the central authorities of Moldova and the Gagauz autonomy and aims to facilitate the clarification of competences between the center and the autonomy.

It also initiates discussions on the best institutional mechanisms to ensure good governance and facilitate the elaboration of the public policies which have strategic value for the Gagauz Autonomy. The seminar series on Decentralised Governance builds on the success of the project’s 2019 Autumn Academy and international conference on “Advancing Good Governance through Decentralisation, Autonomy and Accommodation of Minorities”, which contributed to increased understanding of mechanisms of self-government and intergovernmental relations, and stimulated discussion about concepts of decentralisation, devolution and autonomy as a means of managing of states’ territorial and societal diversity and promoting good governance.