Despite the ongoing challenges posed by the global pandemic, the Gagauzia Dialogue Project has successfully continued to provide Good Offices to the longstanding dialogue between Chisinau and Comrat, and built on the success of the Autumn Academy on “Advancing Good Governance through Decentralisation, Autonomy and Accommodation of Minorities” with a four-part webinar series on “Decentralised Governance”, delivered in July in partnership with Eurac Research.
More than 40 stakeholders from Chisinau and Comrat, including members of the Parliamentary Working Group on Gagauzia, civil servants and other interested parties attended the online seminars, which concluded on July 28 with a discussion between Steve Young, Manager of the CMI office in Moldova, and Francesco Palermo, Director of the Eurac Research Institute for Comparative Federalism, titled “Theory and Practice of Intergovernmental Relations and Conflict Regulation”.
Professor Palermo touched on key issues at the heart of the Gagauzia Dialogue process, providing inspirational perspectives, new knowledge and expertise to inform the process after the summer break.
Steve Young, CMI Manager in Moldova, agreed with Professor Palermo’s key points. “The Gagauzia Dialogue project works hard to cover all these aspects in many ways. The Parliamentary Working Group on Gagauzia is a key platform for dialogue and discussion of priorities and needs as well as building trust and understanding between the institutions. The Policy Development Task Force addresses local needs with both the Departments in Comrat and the Ministries in Chisinau, and the Expert Group will address capacity differences and develop a mechanism to resolve issues or problems that may arise”.
Ecaterina Jecova, Deputy of the Gagauzia People’s Assembly and member of the Parliamentary Working Group on Gagauzia (PWG), congratulated the project for the quality of the seminar series, and the impact on the future work of the Working Group. “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”.
The long-term importance of trust and a sustainable and functioning dialogue platform or other dispute resolution mechanism was a key take-away from the whole training series for many participants, as explained by Oazu Nantoi, MP and PWG Member: “This training has made clear that we need a continuous dialogue, which is meaningless without mutual respect. It is necessary to maintain this dialogue in different ways formal-informal, but there is also a need for an institutionalized 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”.
The webinar participants left feeling energised to build on their new knowledge and continue the dialogue process in the Autumn. Alexandr Tarnavschii, Deputy Chairperson/Speaker of the Gagauzia People’s Assembly and PWG Member summed up the feelings of many attendees, saying “The session with Prof. Francesco Palermo was the most valuable [in the training programme] it 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”.
To watch the discussion between Professor Palermo and Steve Young, click on the video below.