REGIONAL STRATEGY

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ALDA’S WORK IN THE MED AREA


Regional strategy Med area

Context

LDA has identified several priorities for its work in the Mediterranean area:

  • Decentralization and capacity-building for local activities;
  • Citizen participation and strengthening of civil society;
  • Women participation;
  • Migration and intercultural relations;
  • Professional youth training.

Where ALDA can be effective?

The Maghreb region has been identified as priority areas for ALDA, which is especially working in Tunisia, supporting the democratization process, but also conducts activities and projects in Morocco and Algeria.

The first activities that ALDA carried out in Tunisia took place in 2014 within the framework of the project “Vox in Box” funded by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), and implemented by Lam Echaml. This project aimed to ensure the successful conduct of the 2014 elections through the dissemination of information to young people and the implementation of a permanent platform enabling an open discussion.

Other projects in North Africa have followed “Vox in Box”: thus, in October 2016, ALDA in partnership with ARDES – l’Association Régionale de Développement Economique et Social (Morocco) launched the one-year project “AVEC - Villages Associations of Savings and Loans for the Economic and social empowerment of vulnerable women” in the Tiddas region of Morocco, co-funded by the Raja Foundation (France).

The same year, the project “For a sustainable and shared mobility in Kairouan” was launched in Tunisia with the objective of improving urban mobility and the quality of life of the citizens of Kairouan. The municipalities of Strasbourg and Kairouan and their partners ALDA and CODATU (Cooperation for Urban Mobility in the Developing World) cooperate to propose the setting up and sharing of technical and methodological tools allowing to develop a global and coherent vision of mobility in the city.
Besides, in the framework of the LADDER project (www.ladder-project.eu), a MED working group has been established as a platform of reflexion, exchanges and action at the EU level concerning DEAR (« Development Education and Awareness Raising »). This “Med Path” encompasses Local Authorities and CSOs from all over the Mediterranean, from Morocco to Israel. In this framework, a Special Initiative “Local democracy in the two shores of the Mediterranean” has been held, in October 2016 in Tunis and a Mediterranean Charter of Democracy and Local Autonomy was elaborated by the Path: http://www.ladder-project.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/1.CHARMEDAL-EN-FINAL-VERSION.pdf

Finally, ALDA is launching this year, with its partners EPD – the European Partnership for Democracy and la Coalition pour les Femmes de Tunisie, its two-year project “PARFAIT – PARticipaton des Femmes pour l’Avancement et l’Innovation de la Tunisie co-funded by the European Union. PARFAIT aims at increasing women participation at local level by giving them the means to fully access the public sphere – as voters, and candidates, but also as empowered, informed and involved citizens in order to make the implementation of decentralization a success for all citizens, women included.

Themes & Priorities

For ALDA, citizens’ participation and civil society empowerment are the priorities to focus on in the MED area. Decentralization is also a priority due to the lack of coordination of local authorities (LAs) in the area. ALDA’s experience in this field, which proved its worth in the Balkans, contributes to empower LAs in achieving this goal. Besides, migration has been identified as one of the main topics to consider together with intercultural relations, culture and professional training for young people and LAs.
Gender equality and women empowerment are also at core of all ALDA actions in the Mediterranean area, and this engagement for women rights is demonstrated especially by the projects AVEC in Morocco and PARFAIT in Tunisia but ALDA is giving a higher importance to the integration of the gender dimension in all its projects.

Enhance collaboration with active stakeholders in the Mediterranean area

ALDA has developed strong partnerships with several institutional actors working in the Mediterranean area. Thus, ALDA is regularly working with PASC Tunisie - Programme d’Appui à la Société Civile en Tunisie (http://pasctunisie.org/), in the framework of capacity buildings activities (on decentralization, youth volunteering, etc.) and in the opening process of a Local Democracy Agency in Tunisia.
ALDA is also collaborating with the Euro-Mediterranean Regional and Local Assembly (ARLEM) and the Committee of the Regions. In October 2016, ALDA and ARLEM organized a joint conference on the theme “Local and Regional authorities exchanging experiences on circular migration” in Tunis.
In July 2013, ALDA and UNDP Art Programme signed a Memorandum of Understanding, highlighting the common features of the programmes. This agreement allowed the development of synergies in fostering cooperation at the local level between local authorities and civil society and aims at the implementation of further common projects and strategies, especially in the Mediterranean area.
ALDA is continuously identifying cooperation opportunities in the MED area. ALDA is seeking to enlarge its network involving new active actors with common interests in the area.

Next Steps: working towards a North African network of Local Democracy Agencies

The opening of the LDA in Tunisia in 2017 gives the opportunity of a permanent local presence and closer ties with the region. This important step paves the way for the opening of other Local Democracy Agencies in the area, constituting a North African Network of LDAs and strengthening the multilateral decentralised cooperation, which is at the core of ALDA’s approach.

Indeed, the future Local Democracy Agencies in Algeria and Morocco will develop partnerships with local authorities and NGOs from all over Europe giving to the whole network direct access to an international framework. The cooperation and partnership between local and international partners, between local authorities and NGOs, will give added values to the process of designing projects and implementing local activities in the Maghreb region. Indeed, ALDA’s experience from the Balkans has demonstrated the benefits of multi-stakeholder approach to regional cooperation with the specific focus on people-to-people contacts, best practices and lesson learnt sharing, as well as trans-border cooperation. The future LDAs in Morocco and Algeria and the existing LDA Tunisia constitute a great added-value in terms of putting in a place a mechanism to support the development of local self-governance in the Maghreb and sharing best practices of cooperation of local authorities, associations of local authorities, civil society and local communities.


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