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CITIES - Creativity and Innovation in Town-twinning Initiatives in Europe and South-Eastern Europe


CITIES

The Cities project is implemented by the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) in cooperation with the Association of Municipalities from Albania, the Regional Association of Municipalities “Central Stara Planina” and the Union of Bulgarian Black Sea Local Authorities from Bulgaria, the Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania, ECOVAST –National section for Republic of Macedonia, the International Co-operation Agency of the Assocation of Netherlands Municipalities, and the Union of Towns and Cities of Slovakia.
The project aims at promoting “innovation and creativity” in the framework of town-twinning, both in Europe and with a special focus on South-eastern Europe, as a way to revitalize and develop town-twinning relationships and thus strengthen cooperation among “old”, new and forthcoming Member States.
More specifically, the project aims at:

 

  • Promoting the concept of town twinning;
  • Starting, revitalizing, and developing town twinning relationships;
  • Improving the quality of the activities within existing twinning relationships, especially by means of developing thematic cooperation;
  • Developing new skills amongst those who are responsible for twinning activities at a local level;
  • Promoting exchange of good practices in the field of town-twinning.

The project is launched 1st February 2010 and will finish 31 January 2011.


Objectives of the project

The general objectives of the project are to:
- Give citizens with the opportunity to interact and participate in constructing a tighter-knit Europe, which is democratic and world-oriented, united and enriched by its cultural diversity, thus developing citizenship of the European Union;
- Develop a sense of European identity, based on common values, history and culture: Both the national workshops and international twinning conference are designed to help improve the quality contents of the twinning projects and help develop local capacities for European wide exchange of practice in promoting diverse cultural heritage of multicultural local communities across Europe;
- Foster a sense of ownership of the European Union among its citizens: The project is aimed at reinforcing of the role of national associations of local governments in providing necessary tools and capacities for town twinning, towns and their twinning organizations that need advice and support in partner search and in using relevant European Union programs; direct beneficiaries of all three components are the local civil society organizations and citizens of local communities actively participating in developing innovative tools for follow-up co-operation projects;
- Enhance tolerance and mutual understanding between European citizens, respecting and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity, while contributing to intercultural dialogue.
The program aims particularly at :

  • Promoting the concept of town twinning with a special focus on linking good twinning practice among the cities of “old” Europe with Southeast Europe. The project activities will contribute both to establishing and to revitalizing the town-twinning relationships and thus strengthen cooperation among “old”, new and forthcoming Member States.
  • Starting, revitalizing, and developing town twinning relationships

Considering the number and geographic distribution of the partners involved, a new impetus will be ensured for thematic based co-operation for the smaller, non - capital cities to acquire new knowledge, improve their administrative capacities and experience on one hand, and to learn from the cities with substantial experience in twinning projects. Specific focus will be given to developing authentic innovative tools for both starting and revitalizing the twinning relationships.

  • Improving the quality of the activities within existing twinning relationships

The quality of existing twinning relationships will be improved through developing new innovative tools for twinning and cooperation as the result of interaction among the participants themselves, at the level of national workshops and international conference.

  • Developing new skills amongst those who are responsible for twinning activities at a local level

The project aims at developing new skills amongst those who are responsible for twinning activities at a local level through their intensified interaction and introducing collaborative approaches in defining the common thematic co-operation initiatives. Entire project is designed as a learning tool for acquiring the skills and administrative capacities necessary for successful implementation of twinning projects applying the methodology of international decentralized co-operation  and promoting exchange of good practices in the field of town-twinning. The partner organizations gathering large number of municipalities will therefore have an important multiplier effect but also will help facilitate and improve the co-operation of respective local administrative departments.

Activities of the project

  • National Conference 1 (CITIES project kick-off event), 24th March 2010, Shkodra Albania

Promotion of EU Active Citizenship Program, history and the concept of Europe wide town-twinning initiatives, with a focus on South-eastern Europe, as a way to revitalize and develop town-twinning relationships and thus strengthen cooperation among “old”, new and forthcoming Member States are the principal subjects of the Conference.
Workshops about: Presentation and promoting the EU Active Citizenship program/ town twinning component; Developing thematic co-operation and twinning potentials of the Albanian municipalities; Twinning programs through exchange of good local practice; Developing an innovative tool for European wide twinning initiatives will be organized.

These workshops will also take place in different partner countries of the project, with same themes. The objective of these workshops is to contribute to the development of thematic co-operation and twinning potentials of national communities of all the partner countries. The National Conferences in other countries:

- National Conference  Gabrovo, Bulgaria
- National Conference  Varna, Bulgaria
- National Conference Vilnius, Lithuania
- National Conference Bitola, Macedonia
- National Conference Bratislava, Slovakia
- National Conference Tirana, Albania

  • International Twinning Conference, November 2010, Hague The Netherlands

Agenda of the international twinning conference includes the following thematic workshops: CITIES project: EU Active Citizenship program/ town twinning initiatives – challenges and future perspectives; Twinning program – a new frame for local development strategies; Twinning programs through exchange of good local practice; Developing an innovative tool for European wide twinning initiatives.

  • Developing innovative town twinning cooperation tool, March-June 2010

The project aims to develop the most effective tool for improved twinning initiatives that would serve for follow-up initiatives of the participants involved in the action. Activities will take place in close communication with the partners and will include selected best practice exchange and innovative methodologies applied in twinning initiatives.  The products will be innovative in terms of methodology of their design since it will depend on interaction and active contribution of the participating associations and local governments involved.

  • Developing innovative town twinning cooperation tool, March-June 2010

The project aims to develop the most effective tool for improved twinning initiatives that would serve for follow-up initiatives of the participants involved in the action. Activities will take place in close communication with the partners and will include selected best practice exchange and innovative methodologies applied in twinning initiatives.  The products will be innovative in terms of methodology of their design since it will depend on interaction and active contribution of the participating associations and local governments involved.

  • Final Conference, Dordrecht - The Netherlands, 13th January

ALDA, together with the Municipality of Dordrecht, the Netherlands, and its partner BMC has organized the CITIES final conference taking place in the City Hall of Dordrecht on Thursday 13th January 2011.
Six workshops will take place in smaller groups allowing concrete discussions and encounter of many municipality representatives, in order to conclude on new cooperation projects, that could lead to future town-twinning agreements. The International Twinning Conference for Innovation provides information on international cooperation at local level today, and shows the possibilities that the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme of the European Union offers.

Download the Final Conference agenda here 
Download the programme of the workshops here
Download the Final Conference press release here


Visibility of the project

Visibility actions are envisaged at local, national and European level. Awareness raising among the general public in countries involved will be organized by the associations of local authorities, while the cities included in the action will have a specific role as multipliers of twinning programs potentials. Both the websites and electronic newsletter dissemination will be applied. Specific action plans will be developed by the respective departments in the city administrations.
Evaluation of the impacts and results will be carried out in regular intervals and after each project actions by the International Steering group, composed of lead applicant members and partner organizations. Survey and impacts of specific thematic twinnings established will be conducted in co-operation with the twinned towns and based on interviews and focus groups research. Apart from the Steering Committee groups meeting during the project events, evaluation at national level will be conducted by the partner organizations.
At the end of the project, a final project publication will be produced as one of the components of innovative twinning tools (500 copies.). The publication, under the supervision of ALDA, with the support of the partners, will compile the twinning initiatives established including the cities involved. The publication will be made in English/Albanian/Bulgarian/Macedonian and will be disseminated among ALDA networks and partners’ networks.

500 copies of DVD/CD-ROM will also be produced and they will contain the partner information, including the twinning initiatives proposals by the local governments included, good local practice exchange component based on information provided by the twinned cities programs, new twinning initiatives, and the thematic components promoting citizen participation and European Active Citizenship program – both as a learning tool and as a promotion of best practice share. It will be produced in languages of the partners included and further disseminated among ALDA networks and partners’ networks.

A website link on the main ALDA website will be created for the project, with main section with the relevant information regarding the project and the activities. Each partner of the project will have a dedicated section for the online national workshop and international conference.


Expected results of the project

Expected impacts on the target groups have three main dimensions:
At national level, the expected results are: The increased number of;

  • content based co-operation initiatives between  local authorities and local civil society;
  • content based initiatives between the national associations of local authorities and civil society;
  • participants in specific thematic co-operation programmes;
  • and the communication between the associations of local authorities and their members will be improved.

At European level,

  • The number of international content based initiatives of the associations of local authorities will be increased;
  • The number of European networking initiatives among civil society organisations will be increased;
  • The number of participants in thematic twinning workshops will be increased;
  • The communication and co-operation between local authorities from different parts of Europe will be enhanced.

The tihrd dimension is an innovative dimension by which collaborative approaches in identifying a most effective communication tool for twinning initiatives will be develooped. The participants from different walks of life will work together for fostering cooperation to the benefit of citizens in different local communities across Europe. The results of the project will be disseminated through the associations of local authorities in respective countries, but also through the network of ALDA composed of more than 150 members- local authorities and NGOs. More specifically- follow actions based on the experience in this project will be initiated within the network of 12 Local Democracy Agencies in Southeast Europe and Caucasus which will have the role of multiplier and the development of the follow-up actions in the contries in the Western Balkans and Caucasus.

 

For more information, please contact:
Meike Westerhaus, ALDA Project Manager Active Citizenship

(meike.westerhaus@aldaintranet.org; +33 (0)3 90 21 45 93).

Barbara Elia, ALDA Financial Officer

Biljana Zasova, ALDA Senjor implementation Coordinator


    No data available.

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