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FEDRE in a nutshell

How FEDRE was founded

Firmly convinced that there can be no lasting democracy without economic progress, the Chamber of the Regions of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe organized the first "Economic Forum of the Regions of Europe" in January 1996, with the support of the Canton of Geneva and the Helvetic Confederation. It was attended by the representatives of the European Union, the Council of Europe, the United Nations and representatives of many organizations and States. The participants adopted a “Geneva Declaration”, asking for the creation of a permanent body which would make available to regional stakeholders a network for the promotion of exchanges and economic, environmental and social partnerships. This is how FEDRE was born.

On 25 April 1996, its founding Act was signed by Mr. Claude Haegi, a member of the Canton of Geneva’s government, a former president and former mayor of Geneva; Mr. Yves Berthelot, Executive Director of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations; and Mr. Daniel Goeudevert, First Vice-Chairman of the International Green Cross and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Volkswagen.


FEDRE’s principles

FEDRE’s goals and activities are based on the following principles:

  • The strength of a State and its unity is contingent upon a balanced and diversified development of its Regions, in the full respect of their diversity.

  • The regions, which are closer to its citizens, are the optimum scale of territorial development and of its economic, social, cultural and environmental development.

  • The objectives and resources of the central, regional and local authorities must be complementary.

  • The stability and prosperity of the European continent and Maghreb are based on the solidarity between countries, regions and people. Their regions are now called to fully play their role.

FEDRE’s objectives
  • To promote the sustainable development of the regions of Eastern, Central and Western Europe, and of the South-Western Mediterranean bassin.

  • To boast interregional co-operation in Europe, in particular East-West cooperation and that with the South-Western part of the Mediterranean.

  • To give rural and urban regions, cities, economic bodies and companies the opportunity to take advantage of FEDRE's network to build partnerships committed to sustainable regional development.

  • To provide strategic, legal and technical information for local and regional decision-makers.

FEDRE’s means of action
  • Its internet site, now in six languages, features basic information in its Directory of the Regions on contacts with the political authorities and commercial bodies of more than 750 regions.

  • Its Economic Forums of the Regions of Europe, organized at least annually in co-operation with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. The previous forums were held in Geneva (Switzerland), 1996; Dortmund (Germany) and Moscow (Russia); Vienna (Austria), 1997; Bucharest (Romania), 1998; Weimar (Germany), Skopje (Macedonia) within the framework of the Stability Pact in 2000; Istanbul (Turkey) in 2001; Novi Sad (Voivodina, Serbia) in 2002; Prijedor (Bosnia-Herzegovina) in 2003 and Budva (Montenegro) in 2004.

  • Its forums held on a specific theme pertaining to sustainable development: Alpine tunnels (“Tunnel 2000”, Geneva, 1999); Energy (Geneva, 2001, Omsk, 2002 and "Energy: The Power of the Regions", Geneva, 2003) and Mobility ("Energy and Transport", Geneva, 2004).

  • Its promotional programmes related to topics such as energy, transportation, or water and waste management.

    These initiatives should contribute to the awareness of the population of a region or municipality of the importance of protecting the environment and of qualitative development, and publicize their commercial and industrial potential at the international level, as well as their commitment to sustainable development.

  • Events organized at the request of economic or political stakeholders, committed to sustainable development.

  • The foundation also provides expertise to facilitate the establishment of partnerships, transfers of technology and other similar contacts.

FEDRE’s resources

FEDRE disposes of resources ensuing from cooperation agreements, partnerships or other such agreements. Among its partners are:

  • The Council of Europe and its Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
  • The Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations
  • The Helvetic Confederation (Agency for Development and Cooperation)
  • The Republic and Canton of Geneva
  • Various Regions of Europe
  • Private and public economic stakeholders

FEDRE's organization
  1. Board

    Claude Haegi, President
    Administrator of several foundations, associations and companies, former Mayor of Geneva and a former member of the Government of the Republic and Canton of Geneva in various capacities; honorary member and former President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.

    Yves Berthelot, Vice-President
    President, French Committee of Solidarity International; Senior Research Fellow, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); former Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations.

    Daniel Goeudevert, Vice-President
    International consultant, Former Vice-President of the Volkswagen Group and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Volkswagen.

    Jerzy Regulski, Member
    President, Foundation for the Development of Local Democracy (Poland); former Minister and former Permanent Representative of Poland at the Council of Europe.

    The Secretary General is Dr François Saint-Ouen.

    In addition to the competencies and experience of its Board members and European institutional partners, FEDRE also avails itself of a network of specialists, on a permanent or consultancy basis, which allows it to keep abreast of the scientific, technical, economic, social and political problems which are of its purview.

  • Council of Europe
    (particularly the Commission for Sustainable Development and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities)
  • Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations
  • Helvetic Confederation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
  • Republic and Canton of Geneva
  • Foundation Denis de Rougement for Europe
  • The European Forum of Coppet
  • NGOs and associations active in the fields of sustainable development, institution-building and human rights.

FEDRE’s Geneva headquarters also host the Foundation Denis de Rougement for Europe.