Message by Secretary General, Iñaki Susaeta:
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and the current lockdown situation in many regions and countries worldwide, Regions4 Secretariat would like to share a message of solidarity with the most affected by the pandemic, calling on individual and collective responsibility and collaboration to face this difficult situation.
Regions4 highly commends the efforts of all regional and subnational governments working hard alongside the central and local authorities to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Their role as intermediaries between the national and local levels of government; their unique and shared competences on planning, legislation, and policy-making; and their closeness to citizens are more relevant than ever in order to ensure the collection of bottom-up information that will feed the national and global decisions for action in this emergency context.
Regions4 member governments are leading by example with the implementation of measures to protect their citizens:
- Azuay prepared 50,000 food baskets to fight hunger and provide help to those most in need in every corner of the province.
- Catalonia has announced the mobilisation of retired medical professionals, recent graduates, and final-year students to bolster the health workforce, and the reduction of water rates for domestic users by 50% for two months.
- Lombardy has expanded its hospitals, medical staff, and emergency services to assist more people, and has proposed to the central government a strategy with specific measures to support the agri-food sector given the economic losses.
- Québec has declared the health emergency throughout the territory enabling measures such as concluding the necessary contracts to protect the health of the population or offering financial support for students, workers in isolation and businesses experiencing difficulties.
- Wales has announced the implementation of emergency legislation to protect renters and landlords affected by COVID-19.
- Basque Country has worked on a set of measures to ensure the capacity of the health system in addition to other services to cover basic needs, support most vulnerable collectives and back up the business sector. In addition, the region is helping Basque citizens to return home and supporting those living and working abroad that may be facing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic through the Network of centres to promote Basque culture. To ensure the protection of women, the region has also published a message translated to 6 languages to ensure domestic violence victims are properly assisted.
As a Network of and for regional governments, we commit to continue to work to widely disseminate their leadership and actions to protect our biodiversity, our citizens and our territories, guaranteeing sustainable living for all.
Regions4 will remain operational with the Secretariat working remotely to inform on the most relevant global processes and updates in the international events on biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development.