Marmara Municipalities Union Hands Over NALAS Presidency to Montenegro

The NALAS (Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe) XIX General Assembly Statutory Session convened on April 18, 2024, in Bar, Montenegro, marking the 20th anniversary of NALAS and highlighting its enduring commitment to fostering effective local governance and sustainable development in South East Europe. Marmara Municipalities Union has handed over the Presidency of the NALAS to Montenegro. The presidency of NALAS for the 2023-2024 term was assumed by M. Ergün Turan, Vice President of MMU and Mayor of Fatih Municipality.

Distinguished figures including Mr. Bernd Vohringer, Congress Vice President; Mr. M. Ergun Turan, President of NALAS; and Mr. Marash Dukaj, Minister of Public Administration of Montenegro, delivered opening addresses, setting the tone for the assembly.

Mr. M. Ergun Turan, Mayor of Fatih, and President of NALAS, 2023-2024 stated: “I believe that seeking solutions to the common challenges our cities face and sharing our best practices is key for reaching a better quality of life. With this aim, we came together last year at Marmara Urban Forum (MARUF) in Istanbul together with the “cities developing solutions” from all over the world to discuss “resilience and beyond”. We need such gathering places for urban thinkers and practitioners more than ever. I would like to also highlight the ever-increasing role of local governments in the EU integration process. Our local governments and associations should be recognized as key strategic dialogue partners in our countries’ journey towards enlargement. As NALAS, we have continued our presence and advocacy at regional and European levels during my term as in previous years.”

A special ceremony commemorated two decades of NALAS’s impactful presence in the region, reflecting on past achievements and reaffirming the organization’s dedication to its mission. The first NALAS President, Mr. Tarzan Milosevic, shared his insights on what NALAS means to him as a special guest.

Inauguration of New NALAS Presidency:

The inauguration of the new President and three Vice Presidents marked a transition in leadership, symbolizing continuity and fresh perspectives for NALAS’s future endeavors. Mr. Dusan Raicevic, Mayor of Bar, Montenegro, assumed the role of NALAS President for 2024-2025, embodying a commitment to advancing the organization’s mission. For the next period, The First Vice President of NALAS will be Mr. Marko Filipovic Raicevic, Mayor of Rijeka representing the Association of Cities of Croatia; the Second Vice President will be Mr. Emil Draghici, Mayor of Vulcana Bay, representing the Association of Communes of Romania, and the Third Vice President will be Mr Agim Aliu, Mayor of Ferizaj and President of the Association of Kosovo Municipalities.

Endorsement of Covenant of Mayors

The assembly endorsed the Covenant of Mayors for Energy and Climate SEE Commitment, reaffirming NALAS’s dedication to sustainable urban development and climate action, and fostering collaboration among local authorities.

During the meeting, delegates reviewed and approved the meeting procedures and agenda, ensuring a structured approach to discussions. The assembly assessed and approved the reports from the previous year, including the 2023 General Assembly Meeting Report, the NALAS 2023 Narrative Report, and the 2023 Financial and Audit Reports, fostering transparency and accountability. Furthermore, delegates deliberated on and approved the NALAS 2024 Workplan and Budget, outlining strategic priorities and resource allocation for the upcoming year. The NALAS XIX General Assembly was a forum for meaningful dialogue, collaboration, and decision-making, as stakeholders from across the region came together to discuss the future of local governance and sustainable development in Southeast Europe.

About NALAS:

NALAS is a network of associations of local authorities in South-East Europe. The Network brings together 13 Associations which represent roughly 9000 local authorities, directly elected by more than 80 million citizens of this region. MMU has been a member of NALAS since 2008. The mission of NALAS is to contribute to democracy, stability, and prosperity in the region by actively supporting the development of strong local governments and the creation of smart, sustainable, inclusive, resilient communities in South-East Europe. 

NALAS has a rotation Presidency system, with a President and three vice presidents, who later become NALAS Presidents. In line with the rotation presidency system of NALAS, M. Ergün Turan was inaugurated as the President of NALAS for 2023-2024 on behalf of MMU at the XVIII NALAS General Assembly that took place in Istanbul on 15 March 2023.