International Conference “Advancing Good Governance through Decentralization, Autonomy and Accommodation of Minorities”

The internatioanal conference is organized within the framework of “Supporting Inclusive Dialogue and Strengthening Capacities for a Better Functioning Gagauz Autonomy in Moldova” Project  implemented by Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) with funding from Sweden. The international conference follows the 4-day Autumn Academy organized in cooperation with Moldova State University and Comrat State University in cooperation with Eurac Research.

The conference aims to provide substantive discussion on concepts of decentralization, devolution and autonomy as a means of managing of states’ territorial and societal diversity and promoting good governance. A Governance strategy that includes decentralization as an instrument for the management of territorial pluralism and complexity must include both the interests of the majority and the minorities. Only by doing so, a State can sustainably develop procedural frameworks and participatory schemes in policy-making that ultimately guarantee social and political stability. Strategic consideration of the interests of its territorial and societal diversity by a State allows for mitigation of inter-group tensions, as well as a better use of its territorial and societal potential in politics and law-making. Such an approach also better responds to the principles of good governance embodying efficiency in the public sector, public responsiveness, accountability, and transparency. Today, territorial self-government combined with sophisticated multi-stakeholder participation mechanisms in decision-making could respond to the interests of both the majority and minorities within a State.

The international conference brings together a range of experts from various disciplines and contributes to increasing the understanding mechanisms of self-government and intergovernmental relations. The objectives of the conference include:

  • Examine international frameworks and principled guidelines of power-sharing mechanisms;
  • Engage into comparative exercises of analyzing different practices that have successfully been put in place and have, if not solved, mitigated and transformed conflicts in ethnically diverse societies;
  • Understand and discuss the role of stakeholders at different governmental levels in implementing decentralization policies, from a theoretical and practical point of view.

The panelists focus on common trends, challenges and difficulties of decentralization and conflict management, present how they play out in multi-level systems and look at procedures and policies in place across Europe.



November 4, 2019

08:30 – 09:00 Registration, coffee

09:00 – 09:30 Welcome Addresses

Anne Lyberg, Ambassador of Sweden to Moldova

Gheorghe Ciocanu, Rector, Professor, Dr. Habil Moldova State University

Steve Young, Country Manager, CMI

Elisabeth Alber, Eurac Research

09:30 – 10:30 Keynote Speech

Management of Territorial and Societal Pluralism: International Standards, Intra-State Practices, Domestic Approaches

Professor Francesco Palermo, Director of the Institute for Comparative Federalism at Eurac Research, Professor at the University of Verona

10:30 – 11:00 Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:45 First Panel: Decentralization and Minorities

Territorial and Non-Territorial Autonomy Arrangements: Principles and Practices

Sergiu Constantin, Senior Researcher, Institute for Minority Rights, Eurac Research

Relations with the Centre: The Autonomies of South Tyrol and the Aaland Islands 

Elisabeth Alber, Senior Researcher, Institute for Comparative Federalism, Eurac Research

Susann Simolin, Head of Information and Researcher at the Aalands Islands Peace Institute, Finland

National Minorities in Moldova: Institutional Arrangements, Rights and Policies

Natalia Putina, Doctor in Political Science, Associate Professor and Vice Dean at the Faculty of International Relations, Political and Administrative Sciences, Moldova State University

Moderator: Zdenka Machnyikova, CMI Legal Adviser and Expert in Minority Rights

12:45 – 14:00 Lunch Buffet

14:00 – 15:45 Second Panel: Decentralization and Local Governance

Local Government: Principles, Structures, and Functions 

Karl Kössler, Senior Researcher, Institute for Comparative Federalism, Eurac Research

Building Administrative Capacities in the Danube Region: Experiences from the BACID programme

Thomas Prorok, Deputy Managing Director, KDZ Centre for Public Administration Research

Local Self-Government in the Republic of Moldova: Challenges and Solutions 

Ion Beschieru, CMI Legal Adviser, Moldovan Member of the Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of local self-government of the Council of Europe

Moderator: Elisabeth Alber, Senior Researcher, Institute for Comparative Federalism, Eurac Research

15:45 – 16:15 Coffee Break

16:15 – 17:30 Third Panel: Moldova’s International Relations in the context of Diversity Management

Diversity Governance and the European Union Association Agreement with Moldova:

Nicolai Tveatcov, Senior Researcher, Institute of Legal, Political and Sociological Studies

Grigorii Vasilescu, Dr. Habil in Philosophy, University professor, Moldova State University

Moldova’s Societal Pluralism and Diversity Management Strategies: Challenges and Solutions

Yan Feldman, President of the Council for Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination and Ensuring Equality

Moderator: Valentina Teosa, Dr. Habil in Political Science, University Professor, Moldova State University

17:30 – 18:00 Concluding Remarks.