Memorandum of Understanding between Together network, Cittàslow network and the Council of Europe
- The Council of Europe’s Action Plan for Social Cohesion, approved by the Committee of Ministers in July 2010, aims to strengthen the commitment of all stakeholders in society in a process of co-responsibility for the well being of all, including future generations. It relies on a bottom up approach, starting at the local level to build dialogue and a shared vision of well-being at all levels of society, and a top-down approach to better adapt public policies to citizens' expectations:
- A large number of towns and cities are engaged in this process, thus becoming Territories of Co-responsibility and giving rise to the establishment of a network of Co-responsibility Territories, now in the process of being formalized and the coordination of which is currently provided by the cities of Braine-L'Alleud in Belgium, Lisbon and its suburbs in Portugal and Kavala in Greece, with the support of the Council of Europe’s Social Cohesion Research and Anticipation Division;
- A participatory methodology, called SPIRAL methodology, has been developed with the Territories of Co-responsibility, under the leadership of the Council of Europe and is made available to all those who wish to enroll in this approach; it allows to build a shared vision of the well-being of all, from the words of the inhabitants, leading to new solutions best suited to their needs and better preservation and valorization of local, natural, physical, human and cultural resources and territorial identities;
- The 180 Cittàslow existing in the world today, including 133 in Europe, are in line with a similar approach, as they highlight the importance of a number of benchmarks to prove the quality of the process being implemented. They join the same concerns and the same principles of local consultation and construction of shared responsibility among stakeholders and citizens living in the same territory for the well-being of present and future generations;
- The approach developed by the Territories of Co-responsibility and the SPIRAL methodology bring interesting added value to consolidate Cittaslow, especially on the dimension of citizen participation; it allows the construction of a shared vision of the well-being of all from the criteria developed by different groups of people, including the most disadvantaged; it also allows to have a grid to evaluate and adjust public policies, to identify new avenues for action and priorities to strengthen social cohesion and have progress indicators reflecting the expectations of people in different municipalities;
- Conversely, the experience of Cittaslow 21 is a particularly interesting source of inspiration for the Territories of Co-responsibility and SPIRAL methodology, including through the valorization of local identity resources and certification from a number of common indicators of reference;
- A number of Territories of Co-responsibility are also CittaSlow and several Cittaslow have already expressed interest in the approach Territories of Co-responsibility;
The network of Cittaslow, first, represented by Pier Giorgio Oliveti, its Director.. Together Network, the International Network Territories of Co-responsibility, on the other hand, represented by the President of its Direction, and the Council of Europe on the other hand, represented by Gilda Farrell, head of the Division Social Cohesion Research and Early-warning,.
Agree on the following:
- Both networks seek to cross their efforts and enhance complementarities between them, with the support, as far as possible, of the Council of Europe within the framework of its Action Plan for Social Cohesion;
- To do this they will organize a research on the complementarities between the two approaches with the cities wishing to engage in both. To this end a first seminar-training on the methodology SPIRAL has been held in Italy with some Cittaslow who are interested in becoming Territories of Co-responsibility, establishing a pilot group of cities engaged in the two approaches.
- Based on the results of this first seminar-training, specific trainings will be realized, either for Cittaslow wanting to become Territories of Co-responsibility or for the Territories of co-responsibility wanting to join the Cittaslow network;
- The two networks will analyze the development opportunities based on the results of this process which can possibly go in the direction of a combination of the two approaches. They will also take into account the results of other research complementarities which are underway with other similar approaches, namely Agenda 21. They will organize meetings of debate about this, especially during scheduled meetings of each of the two networks.
- The present Protocol shall enter into force on the date of its signature. It is signed for a period of two years and may be extended on the same terms or other modalities based on new needs.
Signed on November 4th 2013 in Strasbourg