The President of the Committee of the Regions, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso, opened the international donor conference for development in Mali – "Together for a New Mali" –in the Committee of the Regions premises. Addressing about 100 national delegations attending the conference, he pledged the Committee's support for the ambitious goals of sustainable recovery plan for Mali, framed by the Malian government, to ensure State reform and a stronger decentralisation process, granting local and regional authorities in Mali a key role in their country's development.
He pointed out that the conference echoes the commitments that were made on 9 and 10 April at the 3rd Conference on the Decentralised Cooperation
, hosted by the Committee of the Regions and attended by a number of representatives of local authorities from Mali and neighbouring countries. In particular, he insisted on the essential need to give top priority to building the institutional and administrative capacities of local and regional authorities to enable them to play a full part in the process of defining and implementing future public policies and of managing international aid.
"On behalf of the Committee of the Regions, I invite all local and regional authorities of the European Union to take their cue from the international donors' community and take part in a joint cooperation for the benefit of their Malian counterparts" said President Valcárcel. He added that "Malian local authorities will have a key role to play in exiting the crisis, as it is they who will be responsible for putting local public services back on track, generating new local investment, easing tensions between communities and bolstering democracy from the bottom up". This is the reason why "European local and regional authorities will be there at their sides as they face this challenge".
The CoR President added that "The very fact that today's international conference is taking place at our headquarters in Brussels confirms the growing role of regional and local authorities in development cooperation policy and the degree to which the Committee of the Regions values their contribution to international relations and to decentralised cooperation."
José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission; François Hollande, president of France; and Dioncounda Traoré, acting president of Mali, will be closing the conference. Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council; Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; and Commissioners Andris Piebalgs and Kristalina Georgieva, also took part in the event.