Nino Tvaltvadze, Delegate of LDA Georgia, at the annual meeting of Club de Strasbourg
The annual meeting of Club de Strasbourg took place on 17th-19th November at the European Youth Centre of Strasbourg, gathering together mayors and elected representatives from all the member cities, including European and non-European countries, which are more than 60.
Club de Strasbourg works in close cooperation with the Council of Europe and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities; its goal is to promote European fundamental values such as democracy, intercultural dialogue, and respect for human rights - including minorities - in local public policies.
Yesterday meeting was dedicated to civic engagement in the society, focusing especially on young people’s participation. The event was moderated by Nawel Rafik-Elmrini, Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg.
The first intervention was the one of Mr. Evgeny Shulepov, Mayor of Vologda (Russia), who briefly introduced his city and presented the situation of the youth within it. A project regarding youngsters’ engagement in society was mentioned: it invites young people to renovate the public playgrounds of Vologda. The initiative is having great results: young generations have started to see themselves as decisive and as real actors within their city. According to a comparison between 2010 and 2015, the volunteering participation increased from 480 to 51000 youngsters and there is a better interaction between different generations.
The following intervention was the one of Mrs. Renata Bojczuk, FISU Student Committee Coordinator, who presented the European Youth Event 2016. This event is organised by the European Parliament which will open its doors to 7.000 youngsters (16-30 years old) from all over Europe. The participants at the event will have the opportunity to meet European decision-makers and speakers in order to exchange ideas and perspectives on youth-related issues. Five main topics will be mainly discussed: war and peace, apathy of participation, youth unemployment, tomorrow’s world of work and the idea of a sustainable EU.
Finally, the last intervention was the one of Mrs. Nino Tvaltvadze, Delegate of the Local Democracy Agency of Georgia. After a short introduction of the LDA Georgia - presented as essential part in ALDA’s network - and its role in strengthening local democracy and civil society within the country, Mrs. Tvaltvadze presented the project “Kutaisi: IT WORKS”. The project is a perfect example of civic engagement. Eight Citizens Forums were organised in the year 2014-2015 in order to involve the population in local budget planning processes regarding local issues, such as the developing of proposals concerning Infrastructural and Youth programs. Civic participation and citizens forum were a success: 6 out of 8 recommendations which had came out from these forums were indeed taken into account and funded by the local budget.
Mrs. Tvaltvadze also mentioned the Project “IMERY – Joint Initiative of Municipalities of Imereti Regions”. This provided some trainings on civic engagement, local self-government and advocacy; in addition an Advocacy Campaign to solve local problems was sustained for the whole duration of the project. This brought great results such as the opening of a kindergarten, rehabilitation of some roads and the reconstruction of some administrative buildings.