Rhone-Alpes region delegation visit in Gyumri

From 2nd to 9th of October, Rhone-Alpes region delegation is on an official visit in Armenia and held several meetings in Gyumri on 4th of November with the mayor and the local partners of “Local Democracy Agency” foundation, in the framework of Rhone-Alpes –Armenia decentralized cooperation.

The delegation was composed by Edouard Simonian, Vice – President of Rhône-Alpes region in charge for cooperation with Armenia and regional nature parks, Anna Fiorini, Responsible for the cooperation in the Mediterranean area and Armenia and Anait Davtyan, Coordinator for Rhone-Alpes –Armenia decentralized cooperation projects.

The first visit took place in the municipality with the mayor of Gyumri city, Samvel Balasanyan, during which LDA director,Lusine Aleksandryan, was also present. During the meeting, such questions as partnership with LDA foundation and development of the actions in this frame, possible cooperation among Rhône-Alpes region, Gyumri city and Armenia, particularly in the field of local development and tourism, were discussed. Mr. Balasanyan mentioned that strengthening the capacities of local authorities, promoting local democracy are necessary for Gyumri, but the city has also other vital problems concerning social, pre-school education, economic issues that demand quick solutions. Mr. Simonian, on his part, confirmed that he highly appreciates the mayor’s concerns about the city and added that Gyumri should find a partner organization or a city in Rhone-Alpes region, so that the French region can finance such kind of joint applications.

After, a meeting with the LDA foundation director and partners took place in LDA office. LDA foundation local partners Levon Barseghyan- Journalists’ club “Asparez”, Armine Tukhikyan – Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development, Vahan Tumanyan-“Shirak Centre” NGO participated and presented their organizations and assistance in LDA activities. Mr. Simonian shortly presented the principles of Rhone-Alpes region cooperation with Armenia, objectives and application procedures. LDA foundation director, Lusine Aleksandryan, presented a summary of the implemented projects and initiatives and agreed with Rhone-Alpes delegation that it is more effective to discuss the ideas with them before presenting to the French Embassy in Armenia.

The meeting was very effective for LDA foundation in its re-launching and stabilization process and has clarified further partnership relations.

From 2nd to 9th of October, Rhone-Alpes region delegation is on an official visit in Armenia and held several meetings in Gyumri on 4th of November with the mayor and the local partners of “Local Democracy Agency” foundation, in the framework of Rhone-Alpes –Armenia decentralized cooperation.

The delegation was composed by Edouard Simonian, Vice – President of Rhône-Alpes region in charge for cooperation with Armenia and regional nature parks, Anna Fiorini, Responsible for the cooperation in the Mediterranean area and Armenia and Anait Davtyan, Coordinator for Rhone-Alpes –Armenia decentralized cooperation projects.

The first visit took place in the municipality with the mayor of Gyumri city, Samvel Balasanyan, during which LDA director,Lusine Aleksandryan, was also present. During the meeting, such questions as partnership with LDA foundation and development of the actions in this frame, possible cooperation among Rhône-Alpes region, Gyumri city and Armenia, particularly in the field of local development and tourism, were discussed. Mr. Balasanyan mentioned that strengthening the capacities of local authorities, promoting local democracy are necessary for Gyumri, but the city has also other vital problems concerning social, pre-school education, economic issues that demand quick solutions. Mr. Simonian, on his part, confirmed that he highly appreciates the mayor’s concerns about the city and added that Gyumri should find a partner organization or a city in Rhone-Alpes region, so that the French region can finance such kind of joint applications.

After, a meeting with the LDA foundation director and partners took place in LDA office. LDA foundation local partners Levon Barseghyan- Journalists’ club “Asparez”, Armine Tukhikyan – Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development, Vahan Tumanyan-“Shirak Centre” NGO participated and presented their organizations and assistance in LDA activities. Mr. Simonian shortly presented the principles of Rhone-Alpes region cooperation with Armenia, objectives and application procedures. LDA foundation director, Lusine Aleksandryan, presented a summary of the implemented projects and initiatives and agreed with Rhone-Alpes delegation that it is more effective to discuss the ideas with them before presenting to the French Embassy in Armenia.

The meeting was very effective for LDA foundation in its re-launching and stabilization process and has clarified further partnership relations.


Busy day in Strasbourg with France-Balkans cooperation Programme at the World Forum for Democracy

The Steering Committee for France-Balkans Decentralized Cooperation took place on 5th November at Lieu d’Europe, in Strasbourg. The meeting preceded by a small tour inside the recently reopened Lieu d’Europe, which was an occasion to retrace the history of Europe and its institutions, with a special attention to the role of the city of Strasbourg in building the European Union. ALDA, represented by Biljana Zasova, Senior programme Coordinator, and Ivana Dimitrovska, Manager for the Decentralized Cooperation Programme between Lower Normandy and Macedonia, organized the meeting, which was attended by the representatives of AFCREE, SICALA,CIDEFE and of Pays Vichy- Auvergne. The meeting was the occasion to discuss about the present and the future of the Cooperation, and in particular about issues concerning local good governance, durable tourism, youth policies and mobilization and economic implications for the territories involved in the cooperation.

During the afternoon, the Annual conference of the Programme for Decentralized Cooperation between France-Balkans took place at the Communauté urbaine de Strasbourg. Mr. Dobrica Milovanovic , member of ALDA Governing Board, gave an introductory speech about the importance of intercultural dialogue and citizenship participation, two essential issues for ALDA mission. He reminded the participants of what intercultural dialogue means and what is it intended for in the perspective of European unification.
Among the speakers Ms. Nawel Rafik-Elmrini, AFCCRE Vice-President and Delegate for European and International Affairs for the city of Strasbourg, Mr. Franck Morawietz, from the Franco-German Youth Office, Mr. Jean-Claude Mairal, President of GAL Pays Vichy-Auvergne, Mrs Ivana Dimitrovska, Manager of the Office for Decentralized Cooperation in Skopje, and Mrs. Biljana Zasova, ALDA Senior Programme Manager. The Conference focused on youth and the role of local authorities in educating young people to cultural difference and intercultural dialogue even in a period of recession for most of the European countries and with high unemployment rates. The conference was followed by a debate, where all the participants could give their contribution.
The dynamic work day ended with the projection of the documentary “On Albert Londres’ footsteps in the Balkans” at Odyssée Cinema in the city centre. The movie, shot in collaboration with ALDA, is the reportage of a group of young people who travelled through the Balkans and reported on the current social, economic and political circumstances in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia.

The Steering Committee for France-Balkans Decentralized Cooperation took place on 5th November at Lieu d’Europe, in Strasbourg. The meeting preceded by a small tour inside the recently reopened Lieu d’Europe, which was an occasion to retrace the history of Europe and its institutions, with a special attention to the role of the city of Strasbourg in building the European Union. ALDA, represented by Biljana Zasova, Senior programme Coordinator, and Ivana Dimitrovska, Manager for the Decentralized Cooperation Programme between Lower Normandy and Macedonia, organized the meeting, which was attended by the representatives of AFCREE, SICALA,CIDEFE and of Pays Vichy- Auvergne. The meeting was the occasion to discuss about the present and the future of the Cooperation, and in particular about issues concerning local good governance, durable tourism, youth policies and mobilization and economic implications for the territories involved in the cooperation.

During the afternoon, the Annual conference of the Programme for Decentralized Cooperation between France-Balkans took place at the Communauté urbaine de Strasbourg. Mr. Dobrica Milovanovic , member of ALDA Governing Board, gave an introductory speech about the importance of intercultural dialogue and citizenship participation, two essential issues for ALDA mission. He reminded the participants of what intercultural dialogue means and what is it intended for in the perspective of European unification.
Among the speakers Ms. Nawel Rafik-Elmrini, AFCCRE Vice-President and Delegate for European and International Affairs for the city of Strasbourg, Mr. Franck Morawietz, from the Franco-German Youth Office, Mr. Jean-Claude Mairal, President of GAL Pays Vichy-Auvergne, Mrs Ivana Dimitrovska, Manager of the Office for Decentralized Cooperation in Skopje, and Mrs. Biljana Zasova, ALDA Senior Programme Manager. The Conference focused on youth and the role of local authorities in educating young people to cultural difference and intercultural dialogue even in a period of recession for most of the European countries and with high unemployment rates. The conference was followed by a debate, where all the participants could give their contribution.
The dynamic work day ended with the projection of the documentary “On Albert Londres’ footsteps in the Balkans” at Odyssée Cinema in the city centre. The movie, shot in collaboration with ALDA, is the reportage of a group of young people who travelled through the Balkans and reported on the current social, economic and political circumstances in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia.


ALDA joins CONCORDs efforts to brief newly elected MEPs on global development

The workshop which took place on 5th November in the European Parliament was organised by the EP DEVE Committee and CONCORD, the European NGO confederation for relief and development.

CONCORD’s work is carried out by its members, working groups and task forces based on their experience. ALDA has been an associate member of CONCORD since 2011, and especially participates in the the Working Group on Enlargement, Pre-Accession and Neighbourhood (EPAN), ALDA’s Secretary General, Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida currently chairing the group.

EPAN, bringing together over 70 members from across Europe, was represented at the event with a stand and various publications to introduce their work. The group issued an opinion piece on the precarious humanitarian situation in Ukraine, as well as making recommendations addressing the current state of the flood affected areas in Serbia and Bosnia i Herzegovina in cooperation with TRIALOG and the Balkan Civil Society Development Network. Immediate action and support was urged for the affected regions. An overview of the round table discussions with the DG DEVCO on the ENP South Civil Society Facility from last July was also presented at the EPAN stand.

Overall the event was about raising awareness of the sustainable development agenda and gaining the backing of newly elected MEPs. Various CONCORD speakers (Suzann Cornelissen, Co-Chair of the Policy Coherence for Development Group, Sally Nicholson, Co-Chair of the Beyond 2015 European Taskforce, Jean Saldhana, Co-Chair of the Development taskforce, Ad Ooms, Chair of the Private Sector taskforce, Stijn de Lameillieure, Co-Chair of the Funding for Development and Relief Working Group, and Marius Wanders, CONCORD Board member and World Vision International EU Director) addressed the present MEPs and rapporteurs. All, within their respective working areas, made a case of encouraging them to fare a more proactive approach than the previous administration as the world we live in has changed quite significantly in the past few years. There is a great opportunity to widely raise awareness of the issues at stake, especially coming into the European Year of Development 2015. The buzzwords of the day were alliance-building, policy coherence, and a transformative agenda towards a universal approach in terms of sustainable development matters. Ad Ooms and Stijn de Lameillieure stated the importance of a multi stakeholder approach and the concern of civil society groups about the EU funding bodies’ move away from small project granting schemes to larger multinational projects respectively. Present rapporteurs and MEPS included Davor Ivo Stier, Silva Pereira, and Teresa Jiménez Becerril Barrio MEP (Spain). Several MEPs expressed their strong interest to follow up closely.

The workshop which took place on 5th November in the European Parliament was organised by the EP DEVE Committee and CONCORD, the European NGO confederation for relief and development.

CONCORD’s work is carried out by its members, working groups and task forces based on their experience. ALDA has been an associate member of CONCORD since 2011, and especially participates in the the Working Group on Enlargement, Pre-Accession and Neighbourhood (EPAN), ALDA’s Secretary General, Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida currently chairing the group.

EPAN, bringing together over 70 members from across Europe, was represented at the event with a stand and various publications to introduce their work. The group issued an opinion piece on the precarious humanitarian situation in Ukraine, as well as making recommendations addressing the current state of the flood affected areas in Serbia and Bosnia i Herzegovina in cooperation with TRIALOG and the Balkan Civil Society Development Network. Immediate action and support was urged for the affected regions. An overview of the round table discussions with the DG DEVCO on the ENP South Civil Society Facility from last July was also presented at the EPAN stand.

Overall the event was about raising awareness of the sustainable development agenda and gaining the backing of newly elected MEPs. Various CONCORD speakers (Suzann Cornelissen, Co-Chair of the Policy Coherence for Development Group, Sally Nicholson, Co-Chair of the Beyond 2015 European Taskforce, Jean Saldhana, Co-Chair of the Development taskforce, Ad Ooms, Chair of the Private Sector taskforce, Stijn de Lameillieure, Co-Chair of the Funding for Development and Relief Working Group, and Marius Wanders, CONCORD Board member and World Vision International EU Director) addressed the present MEPs and rapporteurs. All, within their respective working areas, made a case of encouraging them to fare a more proactive approach than the previous administration as the world we live in has changed quite significantly in the past few years. There is a great opportunity to widely raise awareness of the issues at stake, especially coming into the European Year of Development 2015. The buzzwords of the day were alliance-building, policy coherence, and a transformative agenda towards a universal approach in terms of sustainable development matters. Ad Ooms and Stijn de Lameillieure stated the importance of a multi stakeholder approach and the concern of civil society groups about the EU funding bodies’ move away from small project granting schemes to larger multinational projects respectively. Present rapporteurs and MEPS included Davor Ivo Stier, Silva Pereira, and Teresa Jiménez Becerril Barrio MEP (Spain). Several MEPs expressed their strong interest to follow up closely.


Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis needs EU support

The opinion piece by CONCORD’s EPAN (Enlargement, Pre-accession and Neighborhood) working group on the Ukraine’s present situation is alarming. According to EPAN working group, chaired by Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA Secratary General, the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is getting worse every day.

Since January 2014, hundreds of thousands of civilians were forced to leave their homes and flee to neighbouring countries or to other more peaceful areas in Ukraine (internally displaced people, IDPs). The estimated number of people living in conflict-affected areas now stands at 5.2 million but real figures seem to be much higher. What needs to be set up firstly is a central unified registration system and electronic database of IDPs. This needs to happen fast and has to be well resourced. Without it there will be no effective registration, which is hampering in many ways the humanitarian aid from reaching the needy.

EU support and humanitarian help for the most vulnerable is now essential for the stabilization of the area. Europe should foster dialogue and reconciliation among citizens and institutions in all the country and especially in the conflict area, as well as continue the negotiations with all the parties involved in order stop military actions and allow people to start building their lives.

Reconciliation, trust in fellow human beings and democracy are three keys concepts in order to re-establish a long-lasting peace in the area. Last but not the least, supporting local development and citizen participation in decision-making processes at a local level remain a priority to guarantee respect of human rights, justice, and prosperity for all.

Read here the opinion piece by EPAN working group.

The opinion piece by CONCORD’s EPAN (Enlargement, Pre-accession and Neighborhood) working group on the Ukraine’s present situation is alarming. According to EPAN working group, chaired by Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA Secratary General, the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is getting worse every day.

Since January 2014, hundreds of thousands of civilians were forced to leave their homes and flee to neighbouring countries or to other more peaceful areas in Ukraine (internally displaced people, IDPs). The estimated number of people living in conflict-affected areas now stands at 5.2 million but real figures seem to be much higher. What needs to be set up firstly is a central unified registration system and electronic database of IDPs. This needs to happen fast and has to be well resourced. Without it there will be no effective registration, which is hampering in many ways the humanitarian aid from reaching the needy.

EU support and humanitarian help for the most vulnerable is now essential for the stabilization of the area. Europe should foster dialogue and reconciliation among citizens and institutions in all the country and especially in the conflict area, as well as continue the negotiations with all the parties involved in order stop military actions and allow people to start building their lives.

Reconciliation, trust in fellow human beings and democracy are three keys concepts in order to re-establish a long-lasting peace in the area. Last but not the least, supporting local development and citizen participation in decision-making processes at a local level remain a priority to guarantee respect of human rights, justice, and prosperity for all.

Read here the opinion piece by EPAN working group.


ALDA draws attention to the importance of sub-granting schemes in promoting active citizens participation at PDCI round-table discussions

The PDCI (PARTNERS FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE INTERNATIONAL) round-table discussions taking place on November 5th 2014 brought together academia, donors (EU Commission – represented by Jorge Rodriguez Bilbao, Decentralization & Local Governance) and practitioners in the field of local development and citizen participation in the local decision-making.

ALDA, represented by Mariam Khotenashvili, Project Manager and Head of the ALDA Brussels Office used the opportunity to discuss ALDA’s involvement with the Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs) and their role in building the social and human capital needed to reach meaningful participation. She particularly drew attention to the importance of smaller sub-granting schemes to effectively reach out also to marginalised communities. Let’s not forget the smaller NGOs and citizens initiatives she stressed. Here meaningful participation should start.

Bilbao, a former practitioner himself, highlighted the important role of Local Authorities (LAs) in this regard to enable the sustainable and effective development of their respective communities. They were the elected members of their constituencies, unlike the many CSOs also active in the field. Collaboration and alliances between the two actors were vital as both can bring added value to the table. The following highly interactive roundtable discussions proved very fruitful indeed as PDCI’s local members joined other experts in sharing concrete lessons from their own countries. A particular focus was laid on the concept of participation and the challenges and responses to same which were encountered by the participants over the years.

The PDCI (PARTNERS FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE INTERNATIONAL) round-table discussions taking place on November 5th 2014 brought together academia, donors (EU Commission – represented by Jorge Rodriguez Bilbao, Decentralization & Local Governance) and practitioners in the field of local development and citizen participation in the local decision-making.

ALDA, represented by Mariam Khotenashvili, Project Manager and Head of the ALDA Brussels Office used the opportunity to discuss ALDA’s involvement with the Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs) and their role in building the social and human capital needed to reach meaningful participation. She particularly drew attention to the importance of smaller sub-granting schemes to effectively reach out also to marginalised communities. Let’s not forget the smaller NGOs and citizens initiatives she stressed. Here meaningful participation should start.

Bilbao, a former practitioner himself, highlighted the important role of Local Authorities (LAs) in this regard to enable the sustainable and effective development of their respective communities. They were the elected members of their constituencies, unlike the many CSOs also active in the field. Collaboration and alliances between the two actors were vital as both can bring added value to the table. The following highly interactive roundtable discussions proved very fruitful indeed as PDCI’s local members joined other experts in sharing concrete lessons from their own countries. A particular focus was laid on the concept of participation and the challenges and responses to same which were encountered by the participants over the years.


November

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ENGFRAITASERRUS

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ENGFRAITASERRUS

ALDA at the Workshop "Local Democracy today and tomorrow Learning from Global knowledge and practices" of International IDEA

The Secretary General, Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, will share the good practices on local governance and citizens’participation of the the network of ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy and the Local Democracy Agencies at the workshop “Local Democracy today and tomorrow Learning from Global knowledge and practices” of International IDEA, today and tomorrow in Stockholm.
The support of local democracy throughout the globe sees today a recognition at the European and world wide level, being considered one of the elements that needs to influence the post MDGs in the way we consider development and growth. However, many difficulties influence the work of the practionners, in particular the connection with the decentralisation process and the non appropriate legislation and enabling environment for CSOs to operate and be active as stakeholder in the decision making process.
See the agenda and the background document of the event.

The Secretary General, Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, will share the good practices on local governance and citizens’participation of the the network of ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy and the Local Democracy Agencies at the workshop “Local Democracy today and tomorrow Learning from Global knowledge and practices” of International IDEA, today and tomorrow in Stockholm.
The support of local democracy throughout the globe sees today a recognition at the European and world wide level, being considered one of the elements that needs to influence the post MDGs in the way we consider development and growth. However, many difficulties influence the work of the practionners, in particular the connection with the decentralisation process and the non appropriate legislation and enabling environment for CSOs to operate and be active as stakeholder in the decision making process.
See the agenda and the background document of the event.


Project REACTION – REsources Anti-Crisis 2014

Project REACTION – REsources Anti-Crisis: Town twinning, Innovation, Openness and Networking 2014

Publication

Project REACTION – REsources Anti-Crisis: Town twinning, Innovation, Openness and Networking 2014

Publication