Last updated: 21 Jun 2024
UDiTE AND UNSCP successfully hosted a high level conference on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th April 2024 in the magnificent city of Siena in Italy - Local authority Chief Executives facing the challenge of Good Governance and change

Siena is a beautiful historical city, that stands as an iconic symbol of Good Governance, with Ambrogio Lorenzetti's fresco - the Allegory of Good and Bad Government, painted around 1338 in Siena. Though unfortunately, the fresco was currently being restored the hosts were able to introduce our members to this beautiful city.

Our high level conference involved eminent academics, senior practitioners and input from policy makers. They were joined by European speakers Thomas Wobben, Director at the EU Committee of the Regions, Niall Sheerin from the Council of Europe and Dorothée Allain Dupré, head of unit from the regional development and multilevel governance directorate of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Before an international audience from various European countries and Italy in particular, around 150 participants heard interventions from various academics connected to the universities of Milan, Bologna, Siena and Maastricht. They stressed the changing role local chief executives play in the context of Good Governance.
Speakers set out the challenges, pointed to potential solutions and highlighted different approaches to good governance that are vital to local authority leadership at a time when we are confronted by such significant transitions - economic, environmental and social.

One of the key messages to emerge was the need to re double efforts to ensure interdependence and not just independence throughout all spheres of governance as the key to working together, identifying innovative and replicable solutions that can benefit our communities to address the challenges we face. With many local authority chief executives assisting the logistics behind the June Elections for the European Parliament our European speakers reflected on the future shape of EU policy and its budgetary scope post 2027 that will be felt by many local authorities.

Overall, the UDiTE-UNSCP conference shone a spotlight on the current situation and provided members with a unique opportunity in Siena to exchange views and learn about how peers are managing the challenges of local authority leadership in their communities that they serve across Europe.  Worth remembering, that with the COVID-19 crisis in 2020-2021, the opportunity for international peer meetings fell away and a new way of working was introduced with the online meetings via platforms such as ZOOM and TEAMS. Virtual networking does though have its limitations and its was delightful to see members engaged in face-to-face contact discussing the issues of importance to them in our profession.

Our thanks go to UNSCP colleagues and in particular to Roberto Nobile, 2nd vice president of UDITE for all of his hard work that went in to make this such a successful event.  Besides the academic programme, delegates were able to enjoy the magnificient city of Siena with visits to some of the mosts historical buildings and sites of architectural heritage.