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The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, has issued a toolkit for governments across Europe on respecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law during the COVID-19 crisis.
COVID-19 Toolkit (available in several languages)
The Kingdom of Morocco benefits from the Partner for Local Democracy status of the Congress since April 2019. This status provides local and regional elected representatives in the Council of Europe’s neighbouring countries an ideal platform for dialogue and institutional contacts with their European counterparts.
Within the framework of the Advanced Regionalisation process, Moroccan regions are in the front line facing the current global health crisis. In this struggle, the Association of Regions of Morocco (ARM) has mobilised 1.5 billion Dirhams for the Covid-19 Special Fund to help Moroccan regions, provinces and municipalities. In addition to this fund, the regions have contributed in their own way to this fight by releasing 305 million Dirhams to deal with the coronavirus. In addition, the regions have provided assistance to local and regional authorities directly in partnership with those provincial and municipal councils concerned.
This assistance takes several forms, depending on the region, and includes financial support to businesses and co-operatives, the purchase of medical equipment for hospitals and health services, and the provision of food aid and hygiene kits to the neediest families and persons in vulnerable situations. The regions have also purchased computer equipment for students to facilitate their access to distance learning. As an example, the Council of the Region of Casablanca-Settat gave 120,000 visors to the Academy of Education and Training (AREF) in support of the preventive measures adopted for the organization of baccalaureate exams, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As part of the Moroccan government's policy to combat Covid-19, the General Directorate of Local Authorities (DGCL) of the Ministry of Interior held two online meetings with the Association of Regions of Morocco (ARM) and the Moroccan Association of Mayors (AMPCC) at the beginning of May. The aim of these meetings was to discuss the current situation, recall the need for cooperation and underline the tireless efforts of local and regional authorities in this fight. Indeed, the participants reaffirmed the importance of local and regional authorities in local crisis management, as an institution close to the concerns and needs of citizens. This also enabled DGCL to reiterate its support for local and regional authorities in carrying out their missions, both now and after the lifting of the state of health emergency.
Subsequently, the AMPCC intends, with the support of the DGCL, to carry out online consultations with the Presidents of local councils at the Regions’ level to discuss the concerns of local authorities, examine the means and solutions to deal with the consequences of this crisis.
Tunisia benefits from the Partner for Local Democracy status of the Congress since October 2019. This status provides local and regional elected representatives in the Council of Europe’s neighbouring countries an ideal platform for dialogue and institutional contacts with their European counterparts.
In Tunisia, the FNVT created a "What's new in the municipalities?" group on Facebook, the social network: a virtual space that brings together mayors, councillors, consultants and civil servants from 350 municipalities to exchange experiences, present developments and work carried out at the local level and strengthen networking. The FNVT invites municipalities to join this page and to publish – daily – measures taken to fight the coronavirus epidemic. This platform serves as a good tool for exchanging information between municipalities and making their voices heard, as well as allowing for citizen participation in decision making in the framework of open governance and effective participation in local affairs.
This group also features interventions by experts and specialists, to answer the numerous questions triggered by the crisis and support municipalities in the fight against the coronavirus. Such presentations have addressed, in particular, the following topics “Municipalities and administrative control mechanisms: what challenges in the current situation?”, “What are the challenges facing local governance today in fighting the spread of the virus? How can municipalities be effective?” and “Crisis communication, communication mechanisms with citizens, media and within the municipality”.
In order to best meet the needs of municipalities and to support their efforts in the fight against the spread of the virus, the Tunisian Ministry of Local Affairs (MAL), with the support of its financial partners, has developed a report (in French) evaluating the intervention of municipalities in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Tunisia. The report aims to establish a reliable diagnosis of the situation and to guide decisions and interventions for each municipality.