The PIECE project: digitalizing and providing  e-platform tools to the community

 In the last couple of months, the project’s consortium has organized and implemented several initiatives to strengthen the dynamics of dissemination and, through the presentation of the Intellectual Outputs produced, reach more direct and indirect beneficiaries.

Right after the summer break, the partners met in Seville for the last Transnational Project Meeting where they discussed the development of the project’s activities and results, exchanged views on the situation in their respective home countries and talking together about the finalisation of intellectual outputs. Specifically, dissemination and communication issues were addressed. ALDA and the other partners created a plan for more efficient and effective dissemination of project outputs and management of the Facebook page.

Intellective outputs and interactive platforms for community workers

More recently, in the months of October and November, project’s partners have organized multiplier events in Italy (Lamezia Terme), UK (London) and Greece (Athens) to showcase the results produced. Moreover, the partners have hosted local pilot actions, with community workers, to test the effectiveness and the application of the Intellectual Outputs, in particular the e-Learning Platform for the Upskilling and Empowerment of the Target Group.

Lastly, on November 11th ALDA held an Interactive Webinar, with the collaboration of all partners, to present to a larger online audience the project itself and what has been produced in the last 2 years. The invite to the webinar was shared between ALDA’s and the other partners’ network. In this occasion the consortium was able to engage with associations working in similar fields and dealing with Erasmus+ projects. 

The exchange of information and interaction between the participants made these experiences unique and useful for gaining further feedback and to implement the latest changes to the digital education platform.

The project is indeed coming to its finish line but given the great interest in the project we are trying to create all the conditions for a possible follow up and continuation of the collaboration.

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On the 4th of April, the Vice-President ALDA Alessandro Perelli and the Director of the International Telematics University UNINETTUNO Professor Maria Amata Garito signed a cooperation agreement between the two institutions and launched their first common project, namely the new edition of the Master on-line in European Law and Policies.

Promoted by the International Telematics University UNINETTUNO in collaboration with the ALDA and the Italian Council of the European Movement.
By combining the expertise of the network ALDA in the European context and the experience of UNINETTUNO in distance learning with six faculties and nine master’s degree courses and professional training courses and students from 40 different countries, the new cooperation agreement will lead to the development of other training opportunities tackling European themes and topics.
In particular, besides the above mentioned Master, ALDA will develop a series of webinars focused on EU programs and funds, with special reference to the new programming period of the European Commission 2014-2020.
Finally, ALDA and UNINETTUNO – through signing the agreement – have expressed their common interest to develop new and innovative transnational projects that are able to combine ALDA and commitment on European issues and the focus of UNINETTUNO on distance education.

The Association of the Local Democracy Agencies, LDA Osijek, LDA Sisak, LDA Verteneglio, Foundation for partnership and civil society development of the Istrian Region, AEGEE- Zagreb, Centre for Civil Initiatives (of the Network CEECN) are the initiators of the Croatian Alliance for the European Year of Citizens 2013.
The first meeting took place in Zagreb on the 6th of November and confirmed this formal step. The Croatian Alliance for the European Year of Citizens 2013 will therefore officially registered within the National Platforms Alliances supporting the wide Alliance at the EU level.

The Secretary of ALDA, Ms. Paula Rauzan, Delegate of the LDA Sisak will coordinate the group of initiators. She was also accompanied by the Director of ALDA, Antonella Valmorbida and the Delegate of the LDA Osijek, M. Miljenko Turniski
The initiators are now working for launching a vast campaign of mobilisation in Croatia that will engage, before the end of the month, the networks of civil society interested to work for the EYAC 2013. They will be proposed to work together to disseminate the Manifesto at the EU level and probably to adapt it to their national and local situation. It is also proposed to work on working groups and to develop common initiative to include more citizens of Croatia in EU policies.
The Croatian Platform will be of particular interest because of the upcoming integration of the country into the EU. The Annual priority 2013 – Year of Citizens – will be then meaningful to launch a debate on European Citizenship for this new EU members.
ALDA is also member of the EU steering Committee and Coordinator of WG1, as well as initiator of the Italian Alliance.
Next 14th of November will take place in Rome (from 10:30 to 13:30 – Eurispes premises Via Orazio, 31) the second meeting of the partners. In this occasion will be adopted a declaration of intent of the Italian Alliance ECY 2013.

Oriano Otocan, ALDA President, and Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA Director and member of CIVICUS International Board, will be participating in the 2012 CIVICUS World Assembly (3 – 7 September 2012) in Montreal, Canada.
In particular Mrs. Valmorbida will present ALDAs experiences on participatory governance at the workshop on “Good governance through citizen action” that will take place on 5 September (11.00-13.00), after the opening ceremony of the Assembly (9.00-9.30) and the first plenary session (9.30 – 10.45).
In the panel also Mrs. Carmen Malena, Canada, Mehr Latif, Programme Manager, Asia Foundation, Pakistan and Mrs. Paola Margarita Q. Deles, Coordinator, People Power Volunteers for Reform, Philippines.

This session will share good practices and lessons in participatory governance from around the world and challenge participants to think beyond traditional forms of protest and activism to less familiar but potentially more impactful practices of ‘critical collaboration’ and participatory governance.
As citizens, publicly denouncing injustices in society is an important first step towards seeking change, but it is not enough. Real change comes when citizens not only cry out in the streets, but claim their rightful place as active participants in processes of public governance and decision-making. In recent years, a wide and exciting array of ‘participatory governance’ approaches have been tried and tested around the world. From citizens’ juries, multi-stakeholder dialogues and integrity pacts to participatory budgeting, social audits and community scorecards, citizens and CSOs are creating a multitude of innovative ways to engage in ‘critical collaboration’ with government counterparts.
The 2012 CIVICUS World Assembly will focus on defining a new social contract, through discussions on three key themes: changing nations through citizens, building partnerships for social innovation and redefining global governance.
The 2012 Assembly will see the launch of a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder process, led by CIVICUS, on defining a new social contract, that will culminate in the presentation of recommendations to the United Nations in 2015. The World Assembly comes at a pivotal moment for citizens to redefine the relationships and conditions we want for a sustainable future in a changing world.
Having a role in CIVICUS International Board, for ALDA means taking a further step to bring internationally the cause of its work: to improve citizens’ and civil society’s participation at the local level, working closely with local authorities, for development, democracy and respect of human rights.

CIVICUS Board of Directors has formally communicated that Antonella Valmorbida, Director of ALDA, has been welcomed as a new co-opted member of CIVICUS International Board.
CIVICUS is an international alliance dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world.
The term of Antonella Valmorbida Board membership will be one year and three months, until the Board meeting in September 2013, when all of the current Board members’ terms will expire.
Among the forthcoming engagements as member of CIVICUS Board is the attendance of the Board meeting in September during the CIVICUS World Assembly in Montreal, 3-7 September 2012.

CIVICUS, World Alliance for Citizen Participation, is an international alliance of members and partners which constitutes an influential network of organisations at the local, national, regional and international levels, and spans the spectrum of civil society. CIVICUS includes the following in its definition of civil society: civil society networks and organisations; trade unions; faith-based networks; professional associations; NGO capacity development organisations; philanthropic foundations and other funding bodies.
CIVICUS has worked for nearly two decades to strengthen citizen action and civil society throughout the world, especially in areas where participatory democracy and citizens’ freedom of association are threatened. CIVICUS has a vision of a global community of active, engaged citizens committed to the creation of a more just and equitable world. This is based on the belief that the health of societies exists in direct proportion to the degree of balance between the state, the private sector and civil society.
CIVICUS provides a focal point for knowledge-sharing, common interest representation, global institution-building and engagement among these disparate sectors. It acts as an advocate for citizen participation as an essential component of governance and democracy worldwide. CIVICUS seeks to amplify the voices and opinions of ordinary people and it gives expression to the enormous creative energy of the burgeoning sector of civil society.

The itinerary tour “On Albert Londres’ footsteps” will take place in August 2012 in several Balkan countries. This events is dedicated to promote reporting journalism among dispriviledged youth from France and Balkan countries. On 13 June, the France Balkans Network gathered in Saint-Denis, France, to discuss this forthcoming activity of the network.
This project is organised within the multilateral decentralised cooperation programme for good governance in South-East Europe supported by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. The lead partners are the County Pays Vichy Auvergne and ALDA, the Association of Local Democracy Agencies. The main objective of this project is to revive Albert Londres’ (1884-1932) experience, born in Vichy, father of modern journalism and reporting, during his numerous investigation trips in the Balkans at the beginning of the 20th century. His story is aimed at stimulating the taste of adventure, curiosity and openness to other cultures among young people with talent for reporting but who do not have the opportunity to travel much and put their knowledge in reporting.
By enabling local authorities, civil society organisations and territories from France and the Balkans to meet and exchange on joint projects, this programme supports the values of peace and intercultural dialogue, as well as promotes European integration of all the countries from South East Europe.
Other partners which are involved in this adventure are the Regional Council of Auvergne, the Regional Council of Lower-Normandy, Maison de l’Europe in Caen, the General Council of the Hautes Alpes, CRET Hautes Alpes, the city of Dijon, the City of Saint-Denis and their counterparts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Romania as well as the Local Democracy Agencies in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, the French and Macedonian ALDA offices as well as two Italian partners.
Regional and national journalists and several associations (France Television, the National Association for the promotion and defence of press youth initiative, the Association of European Journalists) are also partners in the operation, which receives funding communities, the MAE, Foundations and probably Europe.
Then forty young French and Balkan bloggers, young and amateur journalists aged between 18 and 30, were selected to travel in the Balkans for two weeks and report about the current political, social, economic and environmental situation in the Balkans via different means of reporting (old and new technologies) and reflect upon the overall situation in Europe.
In preparation to this meeting, ALDA organised a meeting on 6 June with the Local Democracy Agencies involved in the project.

A meeting of municipalities and communities from the Region of Lower Normandy who cooperate with the Macedonian municipalities will take place on April 25 in Caen. The meeting will gather the officials and representatives from the Lower Normandy communities, but also representatives of the Regional Council of Lower Normandy, as well as representatives of the organisation Horizons Solidaires and the representatives from ALDA Skopje office that are in charge of technical support for the cooperation of cities.
Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the progress of each municipality in the cooperation and will give an update on administrative and financial matters. They will also discuss the opportunities in establishing new links and introducing other municipalities in the cooperation. One part of the meeting will focus on the tourism component, as a part of the Decentralised cooperation between the Region Lower Normandy and Republic of Macedonia, and on the role of the municipalities from both regions in tourism development.
In the framework of the Decentralised cooperation between Lower Normandy and Macedonia, there are currently seven active town twining’s, and more pairings are planned in the future. The town twinning segment builds up contacts and friendship with communities from the two territories and promotes better understanding. The Programme for Decentralised cooperation is coordinated by ALDA.

The increased involvement of Local Authorities (LAs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in EU development policy generates the need for the establishment of a new alliance among them in order to capitalise and improve their experiences and methods of actions.
On 28th of March 2012, in the Committee of the Regions premises in Brussels, will be launch WTD – Working Together for Development with the International Conference ”Local authorities and civil society: a partnership for development”.

During the last two decades, LAs gained a significant expertise in terms of conflict prevention, decentralisation and confidence building in development, revealing themselves as real catalysts for change. In strong cooperation with CSOs, LAs confirmed decentralised cooperation methodology as one of the most relevant tools to promote a shared and bottom-up approach to development, inside and outside Europe.
ALDA, which has been one of the first European actors promoting this practice through the network of Local Democracy Agencies, is launching a new alliance between LAs and CSOs interested in having a voice heard in Europe as for policy making about development cooperation.
We will be pleased to involve your institution or organisation in this new challenging European endeavour, thus the president of ALDA is honoured to invite you all in Brussels.
The Conference will gather the main European stakeholders in the field of development and aims at debating on the opportunities LAs have to work together with CSOs to foster a bottom up approach to development and to plan a join strategy to make their efforts more efficient.
WTD, Working Together for Development, is a multi-annual development alliance granted within the framework of the European Commission NSA & LA Programme in the Objective III.
It has been conceived by ALDA in cooperation with 21 international partners and associates coming from 16 different countries from enlarged the wider Europe.
It involves both Associations of Local Authorities and NGO networks, and aims at improving their capacities to act as development agents inside and outside Europe, in partnership with EU and national institutions. WTD adopts a multi-stakeholder approach and focuses on creating strong partnerships between Local Authorities and NGOs. It has a special particular focus on Eastern and South Eastern Europe.

For more information contact Mr Alfonso Aliberti, Project Manager of ALDA, at or visit the website:

“The European Year of Citizens, suggested by the European Commission for the 2013, today focused on rights, mostly on right to move and work in the Union, should have a wider perspective, and promote European citizenship and identity, including social and cultural aspects”. This is the main proposal of ALDA about the EYC 2013, expressed during the public hearing promoted by the European Economic and Social Committee, in Brussels.
The European Economic and Social Committee is drawing up an opinion on the proposal of the European Commission and would like to give every European citizen, NGO, enterprise, trade union etc. an opportunity to contribute to its opinion, which will be sent to the European Parliament, Commission and Council once it has been adopted. A first NGOs meeting was held in Brussels in EESC on the 27th of January and ALDA was represented by Mr. Marco Boaria.
Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA Director, attended to the public hearing that was held the day before.
“We are interested in an Alliance which main aims should be promoting the participation of a wide spectrum of civil society organisations working to promote European citizenship and implement the European Year of Citizens 2013. ALDA supports the idea of organising quickly “decentralised” groups of support at the national level”, stated Mrs. Valmorbida.
ALDA think that the activities of the “year” should be done even more on new members States, future member countries (those of the Enlargement process), and the countries of the ENPI Interregional Programme, since they are the direct beneficiaries of the effects as neighbours of Europe.
ALDA proposes that the programme of the 2013 European Year of Citizens works mainly with small and local events and not only focusing on high level discussions, engaging civil society and local authorities and promoting an open debate on the future of participation mechanisms to strengthen European identity and The European Project.
ALDA proposes also to reach political objectives in terms of citizens’ participation (and mechanisms for facilitating this) with legislative initiatives, best practices at the community level, etc. with the EYAC 2013. The group, in preparing the Year, should set these high objectives, planning the Year in this direction, considering the upcoming European Parliament Elections in 2014.
For further information please visit the EESC website

LDAs Mostar and Central and Southern Serbia – Niš signed a partnership agreement with the Association of Fenomena from Kraljevo (Serbia) for the implementation of project “Promotion of the European Charter for equality between women and men at the local level”, during the first project meeting that took place on 11-12 January 2012.
The Project, funded by the European Commission under the IPA Civil Society Facility: Partnership Actions-Empowerment of Women, will be implemented during the 2012.
The Association Fenomenon, as the leading organisation in the project, will implement the activities in cooperation with other organisations: Centre for Local Democracy LDA from Nis, Serbia; ANIMA – Center for Women and Peace Education from Kotor, Montenegro, Association of Citizens for Local Democracy Agency Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina and The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden.
The overall project objective is to contribute to the development of policies, measures and budgeting to improve gender equality in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The specific objective is to create conditions for development of policies, measures and budgeting to improve gender equality, development of local action plans to implement the European Charter for equality in cities and municipalities participating in the project.

The celebration for the 15th anniversary of the LDA of Sisak (HR) coincides, for a not accidental case, with the eve of Croatian access in the big European family, and the awarding of the “12 stars label” to the Municipality for its efforts in ELDW, the European local democracy week, by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.
The official celebration will take place the 4th of November, with an international conference on “The Road of Croatia towards the EU: the role of Croatian Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs)”, organised in the framework of the ELDW, ) by the LDA of Sisak, in cooperation with ALDA, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the CoE and the the Municipality of Sisak (9.00-13.30 City Hall Sisak).
The Conference will be attended by many national and international experts and representatives of European and national institutions as well. Among them Ms Barbara Toce, Member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and Vice Mayor of Pedaso (Italy), Ambassador Henrik Ofstad, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Zagreb, Ambassador Paul Vandoren, Head of the EU Delegation to Croatia, Mr. Dinko Pintarić, Mayor of Sisak, Mr Per Vinther, President of ALDA.
In these 15 years, starting from the ruins of the conflict, the LDA has been a promoter of many initiatives whose aim was primarily to promote the participation of citizens and their associations and to strengthen the democratic debate with local authorities.
These are the values which Croatia has signed up to get access to the European community and some credit goes also to the work done by the ADL of Sisak.
During last 15 years LDA Sisak has implemented more than 100 projects that have directly involved over 15.000 people. Established in 1996 as a pilot project of Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Council of Europe and since 2006 working as a domestic organisation, Local Democracy Agency Sisak enforced itself as one of the key actors in civil society development in Sisak and Sisačko-Moslavačka County. From its very beginnings LDA Sisak is implementing projects aiming to protect human rights and democratic society development, promotes values of tolerance and non-discrimination, multiculturalism, cooperation, partnership and active citizenship.
In addition to the international conference, Sisak was selected by ALDA to host the Annual LDAs Delegates meeting and the Annual Meeting of the Lead Partners Representatives of the LDAs (3 – 5 November).
The Association of LDAs is confident that the regular meetings and discussions among the Delegates and the Lead Partners of the LDAs could contribute to the development of all the network of the Agencies, in particular with regards the concept of partnership in the framework of the multilateral decentralised cooperation and the area of intervention and interest of each LDA.

The new Local Democracy Agency Armenia will open on 28th of October in Gyumri. It is the second LDA in the South Caucasus area and the thirteenth LDA opened by the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) with the support of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.
“Decentralisation of power and the development of administrative capacities at the local level, together with a capable and vivid civil society, represent a fundamental step in the process of democratisation, stability and development of Armenia”, says ALDA President, Per Vinther.
On occasion of the official opening ceremony, ALDA organises a conference to gather Local Authorities, NGOs, citizens, and international representatives that are actively involved in local governance issues to discuss and learn about best practices of involving citizens in public life. The opening conference will take place in the City Hall of Gyumri and will be also be part of the European Week of Local Democracy.

In an effort to support the process of democratisation, stability and development of Armenia ALDA and the Congress decided to establish the Local Democracy Agency in the country. The opening plan has been developing since 2008.
It is a long term project and it will utilise the expertise of ALDA and the other LDAs and the network, which gather about 160 members, including Local Authorities, Associations of Local Authorities and non-governmental organisations, coming from more than 30 countries.
Partners of LDA Armenia will come from three countries: the Rhône-Alpes Region (France), the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region (Italy), the International Committee For The Development of Peoples CISP (Italy), the Union of Communities of Armenia, the Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development (Armenia), the Journalists’ Club Asparez (Armenia), and the Armenian Municipalities of Gyumri, the host city, and Ijevan. The role of the international partners will be to provide core financial support, participate in activities where they have the skills and capacities, to encourage their own partners to participate in the work of the LDA and to promote the work of the LDA in their own community and encourage wider participation.
Gyumri is the second largest city in Armenia, situated in the North of the country and has been selected as host since it will provide a good basis to allow the LDA to work on a national level.
The Municipality of Gyumri provides an office and rooms for the LDA in a building which already hosts other public associations and NGOs in Gyumri. “Furthermore the vibrant civil society in Gyumri and the possibilities to improve the situation for cooperation between civil society and local authorities are also very important factors”, stresses President Per Vinther. “In addition”, says Mr Vinther, “Gyumri is also twinned with the Georgian city Kutaisi which provides a strong basis for developing the cooperation between both cities”.
The first LDA in the Caucasus is based in Kutaisi, Georgia since the year 2006.
The LDA will facilitate the participation of civil society in the decision-making process at the local level, increase the interest, awareness and capacities of citizens to take part in the decision-making process at the local level and increase the awareness and skills of the local communities and local authorities to address the needs of their citizens. So a practical exercise of policy sharing between citizens and local authorities should also be facilitated. The LDA will support capacity building of civil society and local authorities and it will implement its activities at the local level with trainings, study visits and other participative methods.
Acting as a promoter of democracy and local self-government, the Local Democracy Agency will also promote human rights and sustainable development. The realisation of all objectives will be reached by implementing projects with local authorities and NGOs using the international partners support. The LDA will aim to serve as a bridge between Europe and Armenia and will bring Armenian practice to Europe and European experience to Armenia.
Finally the LDA will also work to ensure cross border cooperation in South Caucasus and will work to promote peace and understanding in the South Caucasus region. “There are plans to set up an LDA in Azerbaijan in the near future as well. So the LDA in Armenia will also become part of a network of LDAs in South Caucasus that can promote cooperation and mutual understanding between the countries in South Caucasus” announces Per Vinther.

ALDA will take part in the International conference for the European Year of Volunteers on “Italy – Central and South Eastern Europe: Volunteerism and Institutions in comparison”, 7-9 October 2011 – Gorizia (I).
Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA Director, will take the floor on the last day, after the presentation of the results of the working groups, together with Anica Mikus Kos, Slovenska Filantropija President, Andrea Waxenegger, University of Graz, President EUCEN (European Network of University Centers for Long Life Learning), and Luca Jahier, the Economic and Social Committee, President Group III.

The conference is promoted by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region and organised by the regional CSV in collaboration with CSVnet – National Coordination Centres for Voluntary Service; it has also received the patronage of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, European Commission Representation in Italy CEV – European Volunteer Centre, Brussels.
The conference will be an opportunity to continue the comparison between volunteerism and institutions in Italy and in Central and South Eastern Europe, focusing on issues such as diversity and social inclusion, young people and participation. The aim is to draw a roadmap for future advocacy activities and common planning.
The event represents an important moment to engage and support existing realities of volunteering of those countries which are not members of the European Union yet.
The conference will be attended by over 100 Italian and foreign volunteers, institutional representatives and leaders of voluntary organisations, the Centers for Voluntary Service and Volunteer Centers, coming both from Italy and other countries such as Albania, Austria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey.
The Conference will be opened, the first day, by a plenary session titled: “Which role for volunteering in the Europe of the future”.
The second day will be dedicated to working groups, accompanied by the interventions of Italian and foreign associations introduced by the relations of Joachim Ott, Acting Head of Unit, Directorate General Communication, Unit Policy for Citizens of the European Commission, and Martijn Pakker, Director CEV – European Centre for Volunteering.

Starting from July 4 until July 8, 2011, Macedonian and French professionals will work on discovering and practicing the technics of renovation of traditional buildings in Pont Farcy, Lower Normandy.
This practical workshop on renovating ancient buildings with natural and ecological materials will be held in the Norman farms and sites, where the experts from the two countries will demonstrate their skills in reconstruction using traditional methods.
The experts will work not only on the implementation, but also on the basic theory knowledge regarding preparation of building sites, renovating and constructing stone walls, cob walls, etc. while using the traditional (natural) materials, easy to practice individually. More information on this specific workshop and building heritage activities can be found at
This practical workshop is organised in the framework of the Decentralised cooperation between the Lower Normandy region and Republic of Macedonia, in the component 5 – Sustainable Tourism and Cultural Heritage, project coordinated by ALDA. For further information please consult the webpage of the Cooperation

With three days of exhibitions, debates and concerts, the city of Brindisi has commemorated the first landing of Albanian citizens fleeing towards freedom. From 11th to 13th of March was held the exhibition “The hospitable city: Albania – Brindisi twenty years later“.
It was March 7th, in 1991, when thousands of Albanians fleeing from a country devastated by a severe economic and political crisis landed in the port of Brindisi.

Twenty years have passed and the city of Brindisi recovered the memory of this historical page, still current.
The program, developed through an extensive course of action, has decreased the city in an atmosphere of reflection and commemoration. Moments of entertainment and discussion, including art installations, events of the narrative, allegorical band marches through the streets of the historic center, documentaries and special interest, conference-seminar on immigration and the concert of an artist of great appeal, have read, with the lens of history, those days of March that shook nationally and internationally the public attention.

“The City hospitable” proposed to rediscover a dramatic period in the history of the Balkan country and also the great welcome offered by citizens and institutions in Brindisi, which was able to alleviate the suffering of countless lives embarked on an adventurous journey, revealing an extraordinary spirit of cohesion.

Twenty years later, today those people are integrated and vital into the civil society of the city.

The members of the Governing Board of Asael, the Association of municipalities of Aragon Region (Spain) that was dissolved in late 2009 swept away by a scandal, former President Jesus Alone in the head, will be liable personally for debts left.
ALDA, with its other partners, decided to take legal action on the basis of the Spanish Law on Associations (the “Ley Organica 1 / 2002, de 22 de marzo, reguladora del Derecho de Asociacion).
“We are forced to choose the legal way -said Antonella Valmorbida, Director of ALDA-because all our efforts to resolve the issue amicably have not been successful. The Aragon institutions we questioned, as Asael was an association of local authorities, ignored our calls or answered that the issue does not concern them. A rubber wall has been raised around Asael and its administrators that were all mayors of Aragon towns”.

But the Spanish Law on Associations is clear and says that administrators are responsible of debts of their Association debts, caused by malicious reasons, and also for culpable negligence, and that they have to pay with their personal assets.
“It’s clear-stated the Director of Alda, AntonellaValmorbida- that during the Sol management of Asael, in recent years none of the administrators has exercised effective control, to avoid accumulating debts and that European funds were not used for the purpose for which they were assigned to Asael, to support project activities”.

The projects were developed in the years 2008-2009 and were Bandair, Emanzipar and Eclau. The other ALDA members partners of the project managed by Asael were the province of Reggio Emilia (Italy), the City of Bydgoszcz (Poland), Baltisfem (Lithuania), the Local Councils’ Association, Association of Municipalities (Malta), the Institute of Enterpreneurship, an NGO (Greece), the Association for the development of mountain communities (Bulgaria).
The credit of ALDA and its partners amounts around to 115.000 (ALDA 30,180, City of Bydgoszcz 31,000, Baltifem, 24,000, Institute of Enterpreuneurship, 9,700, Province of Reggio Emilia 9,000, Association for Development of Mountain Municipalities, 9,000, Local Councils’Association, 1,800).
This is an amount of money that Asael has to pay to its partners for activities under the project, personal taxes, social contributions. Some of them could have lots of serious financial difficulties if they will not be paid.

“We believe that the situation has been largely overlooked bye very one here in Aragon – still says the Director of ALDA, Antonella Valmorbida – by the risk that it may have in relations with the European Community. The Commission’s representative office in Madrid is aware of what happened and shares our position. TheCommission’s anti-fraud office is investigating possible embezzlement of which has been discussed in newspapers in the region. We are willing to go all the way to guarantee our rights, and we believe that it’ll be hard that any other European project could have partners entities such as the Aragonese Famcp, one of which vice president is the current President of Asael, whose responsibilities, if not for Sol’s management facts, is now due to elude any response.”

Asael’s former partners do not understand how institutions and political forces in Aragon do not exercise all is in their power to success fully resolve the issue, which also includes former employees of Asael remained without payment.

“We know that the former president of Asael, JesusSol, was very close to the President of PAR, Jose Angel Biel, who is vice president and spokesman of the regional government, and that the majority of members of Municipality member of Asael were led by mayors of the PAR. Can the PAR, which will celebrate its congress in the next days – still says Antonella Valmorbida – ignore the moral issue internally? And do the other parties in government and in the opposition not have the heart to safeguard the image of the region of Aragon in Europe? And how do they believe that, at the upcoming May elections, they can nominate again those outgoing mayors responsible for this failure?”

These are questions which the public of the region should demand answers, because the ethics of elected representatives and the institutions they governed has been called into question.

“We regret being forced to give public evidence of this situation – concluded the Director of ALDA, AntonellaValmorbida-but silence would be complicit in unlawful conduct. And we are even more regretful for the thirty years of history of Asael, its efficient staff and the president himself Sol, who we always had, until these facts have emerged, a very good account on. Asael was our partner and Sol was a member of our Board. It’s a real shame that things have had this outcome.”

The next 10th and 11th of March will take place in Sarajevo “NEXPO 2011” , the first Local Government Fair including participants from South Eastern Europe. ALDA is actively involved in the programme of this event with a stand and the participation of its President, Per Vinther, in the first panel on Good Governance and EU Integration (see

The stand will mostly present the last activities of ALDA on local governance and citizens participation as well as the activities of the Local Democracy Agencies from Mostar, Prijedor and Zavidovici.
“NEXPO 2011” is organised by NALAS, network of associations of local authorities of South East Europe, and more than 1,000 people will be participating, representatives from local municipalities, associations and international organisations.

A clear definition and extension of the competences of local authorities, appropriate local and regional financial means and autonomy, improvement of governance through increased transparence and participation and strengthening of capacities for public services.
These are the four central needs of local authorities in the Western Balkans indicated by Keith Withmore, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, in his conclusion speech of the conference on the European perspective of the Western Balkans and the contribution of local and regional authorities that took place in Paris, in the French Senate, on 18th and 19th of February.
Mr Keith Whitmore underlined also the involvement of the Congress in the Balkans (citing explicitly the LDAs and their existence since 1993 and ALDA’s work).

The conference united representatives of local authorities and other stakeholders of European decentralised cooperation. It was an excellent occasion for French local authorities and authorities from the Western Balkans to meet and exchange their views on the strategies and priorities of European integration.

A central point of reflection was the role of local authorities’ international cooperation in the integration process. Further subjects discussed included the role of good local governance and public local policy for European integration.
The pause of enlargement is a chance to rethink the relationship between the EU and the Western Balkans, underlined the debate, and the governments in the Balkans have to act now, and at the same time, the EU has to speed up the accession procedures and propose viable political solution to problems such as the Kosovo issue. Many participants also demanded a greater implication of local authorities in the accession process.

Per Vinther, President of ALDA, was present at the conference and informed about its activities in decentralised cooperation in one of the workshops. The project of decentralised cooperation between Lower Normandy and the Republic of Macedonia was at the centre of attention.
The conference was organised by the French Association of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (AFCCRE) in cooperation with the municipality of Dijon and the Community of Greater Dijon.

In cooperation with the The Franco-German Youth Office OFAJ and memorial centresOradur-sur-Glane in France and Dachau in Germany, LDA CSS implemented three cycle seminar entitled “War and Propaganda: An Approach to History in Europe”.

After a seminar in Dachau, this year youth groups from Germany, France and Serbia met in Oradour, France and Nis.
Each seminar has been led by wellknown national historians, experts on each specific topic. Young people had the opportunity to question the relationship between propaganda in the Second World War and the 90s conflicts in the former Yugoslavia while investigating transnational historiography.

In the framework of the European Youth Week, on April 19, 2024, a successful local event of the TALE – TAke the Lead in the European Elections action took place at Re-Work in Rome, Italy. Organised by one of the Italian TALE changemakers, this event gathered young students, young professionals, young volunteers and local associations in a vivid discussion about the upcoming European elections as well as youth participation beyond the voting process. 

The event was divided into two main phases: the first part was dedicated to the presentation of local associations of youngsters, to the introduction of ALDA’s campaign “Better Europe Together” and of the TALE initiative, and to the panel discussion led by Europe Direct – Roma Tre. The second phase focused on the group discussion and final remarks. 

Following the welcoming session, “YOUTH Taking the lead” was launched by TALE changemaker, introducing local groups of European associations of young volunteers and activists, aimed at shaping a better Europe and at promoting European values. First, Young European Ambassadors briefly presented their work within the European Union and beyond; then, Europiamo shared their experiences and mission in line with the European Youth Goals. 

After the good practices and relevant initiatives at the EU level of both youth organisations, ALDA shared with all participants its campaign “Better Europe Together” ahead the upcoming EU elections, presenting the long-lasting Communication Partnership with the European Parliament, and the visibility opportunities offered to all ALDA’s partners and members’ initiatives promoting the European Parliament elections on its landing page and through its social media. 

Within this framework, a specific focus of ALDA’s presentation was on the TALE action, aiming at empowering young citizens and enhancing their active participation, notably towards the parliamentary elections of June 6-9, 2024.

Yesterday’s event was the opportunity to present the first achievements of the TALE project, namely of the TALE webinars and of the first local events. 

The goal of the event was for ALDA to invite the audience to register on the EP platform through this link, in order to get the main updates, news and relevant information on the upcoming elections. 

The last part of session one was dedicated to a panel discussion on how to effectively communicate about European issues, values and institutions. The panel was led by Europe Direct – Roma Tre and involved Raffaele Torino, Professor of EU Law at Roma Tre University.

Phase two of the event was devoted to the TALE World Cafè, involving around 40 participants in small groups discussing about and focusing on the TALE’s webinars topics: activism and youth participation, information, and online and offline campaigning. The results of each small group discussion were presented at the end of the event, stressing the importance of young people’s voice as drivers of the change and key actors of a better Europe’s future, and enhancing the need of reaching all citizens through a multiplier effect of such crucial local initiatives. 

2030 Youth Vision partners and young people met at First Youth Forum in Novo Mesto, Slovenia.

From April 1 until 5, some of the youngsters involved in the Local Labs that were held in Rome by Fondazione Mondo Digitale, in Spain by the Municipality of Catadau, in Portugal by the Municipality of Lousada and in Slovenia by DRPDNM, met for the First Youth Forum Exchange Ii Novo Mesto, Slovenia. They had the chance to get to know each other, share experiences from the Local Labs, and explore the 2030 Agenda and SDGs with a panel discussion on the role of youth in achieving sustainable development goals.

Among the numerous activities, time was dedicated to cultural activities such as a workshop to celebrate various cultures, traditions, and ethnicities, promoting inclusivity and reducing inequality.

Moreover, the youngsters got to experience how technology and innovation can contribute to achieving Agenda 2030

They also were invited to engage in Traditional Dance and Music Showcases, where traditional dances and music performances highlight themes of gender equality and empowerment, and a Theater Performances Addressing Social Issues workshop. 

In parallel to the Youth Forum Exchange, on April 4, ALDA and CREAS joined the other partners for the Third Transnational Partners meeting, which took place in Novo Mesto too. The partners who implemented the first phase of the Local Labs, shared insights, successes and challenges from the activities and the next steps of the project implementation were discussed. 

Furthermore, on April 5 the partners were engaged in the Local dissemination event, and participated in a round table discussion with the youngsters about “the Role of the media in promotion of SDG and participation of youth”.

The First Youth Forum was a significant step forward in empowering youth in influencing local policies in the context of the SDGs and to face the most significant challenges for their future. The Second Youth Forum will take place in Catadau (Spain) to discuss the results of the second phase of Local Labs.

To ensure a comprehensive EU policy framework for a socio-ecological transition within the European Green Deal, the REAL DEAL project partners have developed a Social-Ecological Transition Policy Tool within the Civil Society Forum. 

The Real Deal is a community of people living in Europe who are taking action to build a new model of environmental citizenship for Europe; a model which places people living in Europe at the heart of the decision-making process, making a REAL DEAL for both people and the planet.

The European Green Deal puts living species at its core, addresses the needs of disadvantaged groups, reduces inequalities and ensures a sustainable environment

Through the development of a Policy Tool, civil society organisations deliver input for future EU-level policymakers and different stakeholders to align with the aspirations of citizens, civil society, and stakeholders in the pursuit of a robust social-ecological European Green Deal. By providing examples of emerging issues, this tool aims to inspire civil society organisations to develop narratives in line with their advocacy priorities and empower them to engage with policymakers involved in the upcoming EP elections.

On November 8 2023, more than 50 civil society organisations (CSOs) from across Europe came together for the sixth edition of the Civil Society Forum for Sustainability: Shaping the European Green Deal. The forum focused on the importance of a powerful vision for the socio-ecological transition. This vision is essential for the European Union to ensure a safe future, protect the planet, and promote the well-being of people in the context of the upcoming European Parliament elections. To achieve these goals, the participants identified the following themes around which stronger collective messaging is needed from civil society: civic space and democracy, the green and social deal, and the mobilisation of citizens

The tool includes conclusions of the discussions with CSOs and other stakeholders about the context, problems, possible solutions and optimal vision of each dimension. Furthermore, the tool also  proposes a structure for a campaign briefing to guide CSOs in developing their own campaigns.

By integrating the recommendations and addressing the issues discussed in this tool, the Civil Society Forum believes the newly elected European Parliament will be able to successfully implement the European Green Deal and lead the socio-ecological changes needed.

On April 3, the consortium of the newly launched Erasmus+ project “Speak up” came together in Bucharest (Romania) for its kick-off meeting, marking the beginning of an exciting journey.

Led by Grupul pentru Dialog Social (Romania), the consortium comprises Tudatos Ifjúságért Alapítvány (Hungary), ALDA (France) and Centre of Active Citizens for Sustainable Development (Cyprus).

Speak up is an Erasmus+ project, which aims at fostering youth engagement and participation through the creation of a resilient network of youth debate clubs across Romania, Cyprus and Hungary. Recognising structured debate as a pivotal tool for civic learning and empowerment, the project aims to equip young individuals with the requisite skills and confidence to become proactive citizens within their local communities.

One of the project’s commitments is inclusiveness

By extending its outreach to vulnerable groups, including Roma communities, young migrants, and those susceptible to radicalisation, SPEAK UP commits to ensure that every voice is not only heard but also valued. Through creating debate clubs in disadvantaged areas and, with the support of the partners, the project strives for a more inclusive and cohesive society. Indeed, the consortium recognises the debate platform as a venue of dialogue and exchange, capable of amplifying youth voices and fostering exchange between different groups.

During the Kick-off meeting, the partners had the chance to connect, share ideas, and determine together the next steps of the project. An important highlight was the presentation of the ARDOR, as an associated partner of the project. As the Romanian Debate and Oratory Association, they explained the World School Debate format, outlined its extensive network within Romania, and shared the methodology employed in its debating activities with young individuals.

ALDA, in turn, will play a crucial role by training and empowering youth workers and youth on issues of participatory democracy and youth engagement, so they could in turn make a lasting mark in the local communities.

SPEAK UP holds promise as an exceptional opportunity to amplify youth voices, encourage their active involvement, and empower them to assume leadership roles, thus contributing to the cultivation of a brighter future for generations to come.

One crucial element stands at the forefront in the journey towards a green future: citizen participation. As we experience the complexities of climate change and environmental degradation, it becomes evident that the engagement of citizens and key stakeholders is not only desirable but essential in driving meaningful green change. Citizens emerge as pivotal actors in green transition, shaping sustainable policies, driving innovation, and fostering collaborative efforts towards a greener tomorrow.

On April 11, the event “What’s new for Green Living Areas?” organised in the framework of the Green Living Areas Thematic Community Kick-off, took place in Turin, Italy. 

The event aimed to foster the exchange of best practices regarding tools, strategies, and policies for promoting environmentally friendly territories and involving citizens in sustainable transitions

ALDA participated as a panellist in the session “Experiences with citizen involvement and advice for the new projects. The Environment and Climate Hub, represented by Lizeth Lopez, ALDA Project Manager Junior with a focus on Environment, emphasised the importance of citizen involvement in the green transition, through participatory methodologies. The experiences of the E&C hub involve co-creation activities with citizens and key stakeholders that contribute to the development of the ongoing projects. The session emphasised how the collaboration among local authorities, institutional actors, and citizens amplifies the impact of grassroots efforts in driving environmental change.

The E&C Hub, with its commitment to inclusive environmental citizenship, advocates for the integration of citizens into decision-making processes. The Hub operates on the belief that civic engagement acts as a catalyst to deliver fast and effective environmental outcomes. Through initiatives focused on climate change adaptation and mitigation, green skills, circular economy, and inclusive transitions, the activities of the hub empower citizens to take ownership of the green agenda. By fostering dialogue and bridging the gap between citizens and decision-makers, ALDA facilitates a participatory approach that ensures no one is left behind in the transition towards a greener world.

The event was an exchange of best practices which offered unique perspectives on engaging citizens to drive impactful change in green living areas. From innovative technological solutions to community-driven initiatives, the projects showcased diverse approaches towards fostering environmental consciousness and active citizenship.

The recent Training of Trainers of the Erasmus+ MEDIUM project allowed us to discover the possibilities that innovation and technologies may bring to citizen engagement. Hosted by the Municipality of Lousada (Portugal) and guided by experts from ALDA+ and CSUV, this training was held on March 26-27 and marked a significant milestone in fostering participatory democracy and also uncovering the role of immersive technologies.

The MEDIUM Training of Trainers involved ALDA+ and CSUV, Municipality of Lousada and Municipality of Etterbeek (Belgium), members of ALDA.

Over the course of two days, four local civil servants from Lousada and Etterbeek joined and shared this journey

The first part was dedicated to participatory democracy practices and their implementation in local contexts. Participants had the unique opportunity to explore the role that citizen and stakeholder involvement plays in our democratic systems, while analysing the transformative potential that digital tools already have in the public sphere. This session was enlivened by interactive and engaging exercises in which participants and trainers shared their opinions and insights from their experience in local contexts, thus fostering a multidimensional and multi-stakeholder exchange.

On the other hand, in the second part of the training sessions, with the guidance of the CSUV, participants had the opportunity to actively engage with immersive technologies, trying out VR viewers and experiencing first-hand what virtual realms and the Metaverse can offer. Navigating these new possibilities and tools allowed them to imagine technologies as a way to foster the accessibility and intuitiveness of public services.

However, the journey did not end in Lousada. In fact, the trained participants will now be responsible to share their knowledge and skills in local training workshops to empower colleagues within their local communities. This cascading effect would eventually translate into citizen consultations and local events , where citizens themselves would become agents of change and brainstorm together with local authorities on how to integrate these tools within local communities to better promote innovation and adapt it to their needs.

Overall, this training of trainers within the MEDIUM project was only the starting point towards a more inclusive, engaged and technologically empowered society. It is indeed important to remind ourselves of the challenges that technologies can bring, but also how their use can have a significant and positive impact on our lives. Together, it is important that we continue to work on the potential of digital technologies and use them to engage citizens and enable the principles of local participatory democracy.

Introducing a new chapter in the old familiar location, the Western Balkans. ALDA is launching the BOOST project – Balkans for Optimising Opportunities, Sustainability, and Transformation of Civil Society, officially commencing on 1 April, 2024.

Funded by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), BOOST project is a three-year initiative coordinated by ALDA and implemented by a consortium of partners from France and the Western Balkans, with the goal of advancing development in various areas in the region within the framework of EU enlargement.

The project will involve CSOs from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia in various activities, including conferences, trainings, and national and regional sub-granting schemes, with a budget of 3.7 million euros.

The primary goal of this project is to contribute to the democratic development of the Western Balkan region, through extensive support for the civil society sector and activities while taking in consideration the socio-political and economic dynamics of the region. The project is taking advantage of the growing presence of CSOs in Western Balkans and the active civic engagement, who despite challenges, plays a crucial role in promoting democratic reform, human rights and social advancement.

The project will tackle the most crucial topics and issues, such as the obstacles that youngsters face when engaging in civic activities, the low level of citizen participation, the underrepresentation of women in leadership roles and decision-making positions, the untapped potential of rural and cultural tourism.

BOOST is strategically designed with clear objectives aimed at catalysing positive change by enhancing the capacity and role of CSOs dedicated to the democratisation and sustainable
development of the Western Balkans

It aims to establish a robust network of stakeholders committed to the region’s democratic growth and to foster a collective narrative among civil society and decision-makers that reinforces European values of peace, democracy, and inclusive youth participation at the regional level.

Benefiting from a diverse and seasoned consortium, the project will leverage the extensive field experience of local partners from the Western Balkans, complemented by the EU experience contributed by the French members of the consortium.

The project will be inaugurated on 30 April, 2024, in Tirana, Albania, with a launching event bringing together 50 representatives from Western Balkans Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) alongside the project partners. Agence Française de Développement (AFD) implements France’s policy on international development and solidarity. Through its financing of NGOs and the public sector, as well as its research and publications, AFD supports and accelerates transitions towards a fairer, more resilient world. It also provides training in sustainable development (at AFD Campus) and other awareness-raising activities in France.

BOOST is coordinated by ALDA in partnership with LEADER France, Pulse SOS, Pulse Balkans, Local Democracy Agency Mostar, Local Democracy Agency Kosovo, Local Democracy Agency Nikšić, Local Democracy Agency Zavidovici, Local Democracy Agency Prijedor, Local Democracy Agency Subotica, Local Democracy Agency Central and Southern Serbia and the Urban Research Institute Albania. 


Project aims to strengthen democratic, economic and social development of the WB region. This will be achieved through long-term program support for empowering civil society capacities in different thematic pillars: youth & entrepreneurship, rural development & environment, preservation of cultural heritage & community development. The cross-cutting priority is to promote active citizenship through participatory approaches and tools, and to encourage a gender perspective in all the programme’s activities. The programme aims to strengthen the capacities of civil society organisations through: a) capacity building, b) financial supporting activities to CSOs in the three key thematic pillars; c) promoting networking within civil society and with other key actors such as local authorities.

The project focuses on young people  and especially young women and is aimed at strengthening their capacity for active participation in all the pillars described above. Project also aims to encourage greater engagement and effective cooperation among citizens and direct dialogue with decision-makers, at the local and national level. These actions help to strengthen transparent and responsive local governance structures, generating a positive impact on a regional scale. ALDA’s network also reaches EU and in particular French partners and members, which have been involved with ALDA in the WB region, in several programmes for good local governance for more than two decades.


Overall objective: Promote the democratic, economic, and social development of the Western Balkans region within the context of EU enlargement, by strengthening civil society in the areas of youth and entrepreneurship, environmental protection, rural development, preservation of cultural heritage and community development.

Specific objectives:

  • To strengthen the role and the capacities of civil society organisations in the Western Balkans
  • To set up a network of relevant  stakeholders (civil society, local authorities, universities and others) committed to the stable and democratic, economic, cultural and social development of the region.
  • To promote and strengthen a shared narrative among civil society and decision-makers that reinforces European values of peace, democracy, and inclusion of young people (men and women, boys and girls) at regional level.


#BOOST #BOOSTtheBalkans


The International Mayors’ Summit – Building Resilient Communities through Innovation and Cooperation took place in the Republic of Moldova on April 11, thanks to the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF). This year’s summit was all about fostering collaboration and innovation among municipalities worldwide. The event aimed to create a platform facilitating the experience exchange of cross-borders municipalities and foster local government partnerships.

In this context, the President of the Republic of Moldova, mayors from Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Poland, representatives of development partners highlighted topical issues such as innovations and digital transformation at local level, sustainable development, the European vector, including funds, partnerships and programmes and the reconstruction of Ukraine.

Central to the summit’s discussions was the imperative of strengthening partnerships between Moldovan and Ukrainian municipalities, especially in light of the ongoing reconstruction efforts in Ukraine. In a region ruin by conflict and uncertainty, fostering solidarity and cooperation among neighboring cities has emerged as a crucial strategy for building resilience and ensuring the well-being of citizens on both sides of the border.

Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, General Secretary of ALDA, delivered an important message on strengthening local democracy in the Republic of Moldova and the Eastern Partnership, ALDA’s mission dedicated to promoting good governance and citizen participation at local level. Within the “Rebuild Ukraine” panel, she pointed out ALDA’s flagship initiative for supporting Ukraine’s reconstruction based on citizens engagement and local government empowering, through strengthening Local Democracy Agencies:ALDA is an advocate for Ukraine from all corners of the European Union through its network of LDAs, active members and European partners”.

As the ongoing war against Ukraine continues to damage the fundamental structures of society and governance, ALDA stands with the country’s local authorities and local civil society organisations

ALDA’s unwavering commitment to promoting good governance and citizen participation resonated deeply with attendees, inspiring even bigger dedication to fostering inclusive and accountable governance practices.

ALDA’s ongoing efforts to support Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs) in Ukraine serve as an example of how grassroots initiatives can contribute to stabilisation and cohesion in communities grappling with conflict and adversity. After a year of difficult management due to the ongoing war, in 2023 actions were relaunched aiming on the one hand at further strengthening the existing of the LDA of the Dnipropetrovsk Region and LDA Mariupol and on the other at opening new LDAs in other regions of Ukraine.

In its effort for Ukraine’s recovery, ALDA actively contributes to the work of regional networks that support local governance and empowerment of local society by raising awareness among members and partners on all possible ways to support Ukrainian society during the war, leading projects with local and international partners and members to support Ukraine, and developing and disseminating statements for strong advocacy.

The International Mayors’ Summit represents hope and possibility, where leaders from across the region came together to reaffirm their commitment to building resilient communities through innovation and cooperation. As they return to their respective municipalities armed with fresh insights and newfound partnerships, the legacy of the summit will endure as a testament to the power of collaboration in overcoming the most formidable of challenges.

In the heart of Mons, Belgium, amidst the 10th European Summit of Regions and Cities on March 19, 2024, the ADL Zavidovići Association, a member of ALDA, received the prestigious Mayor Paweł Adamowicz Award. This recognition lauds exceptional contributions to local and regional governance, commemorating the legacy of the former Mayor of Gdańsk (Poland), Paweł Adamowicz. His steadfast dedication to amplifying marginalised voices, fostering solidarity, and advocating for diversity in local governance resonates profoundly.

Speeches delivered during the ceremony echoed the spirit of courage and resilience embodied by the laureates.

Vice-president of the European Commission, Mrs. Věra Jourová, emphasised Mayor Adamowicz’s legacy of combating hate speech and intolerance, urging the building of bridges instead of walls: “Mayor Pawel Adamowicz left behind an important legacy; his dedication and courage showed us the importance of standing up to hate speech and intolerance. He spoke about the necessity to build bridges instead of wars, to give voice to the voiceless and to protect the most vulnerable communities.

Mrs. Magdalena Adamowicz, Member of the European Parliament, echoed Paweł Adamowicz’s words, urging individuals to ask themselves, “If not me, then who?” She underscored the importance of collective action and solidarity in addressing societal challenges: “If not me, then who? If not Gdańsk, which other city should help refugees? If not the city of freedom and solidarity, what other city should bear witness to brotherhood towards the most disadvantaged? – this is what Paweł said to me…. So, at the crossroads, when you have to make a life decision, when you are in doubt, when you are overwhelmed by fear, stop for a moment, take a deep breath and each time ask yourself this simple question: if not me, then who?”

President of the European Committee of the Regions, Mr. Vasco Alves Cordeiro, highlighted the role of elected representatives in safeguarding democracy and fundamental values. He emphasized the transformative power of courage and determination in promoting freedom, solidarity, and equality.

During his speech, President of the CIVEX, Mr. Patrick Molinoz said that “awarding our prize this year to the Association of Local Democracy in Zavidovici in the heart of the Western Balkans is, obviously, full of meaning since it inevitably takes us back to the first war which, at the end of the last century, for the first time since the Second World War, has put Europe in mourning. This conflict, which lasted almost 4 years, notably caused a massive exodus of refugees and led to numerous displaced populations: an exiled and traumatized generation, which motivated our 2023 laureate to act locally in a surge of solidarity.”

For the complete speeches, click here.

Mrs. Maddalena Alberti, Director of ADL Zavidovići and recipient of the award, emphasised the need for resilience and perseverance in times of adversity.

She urged a steadfast commitment to structural change, invoking the enduring virtue of courage in overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges: “We should not forget the past. As the saying goes: “History repeats itself; first as farce then as tragedy”. When tragedies occur, it is too late. Hence, we should resist the politics of walls, persecutions, control, and expulsions.  In these times we need to be not only brave but resilient and perseverant. Things do not happen quickly but the change is the result of a constant and long-term commitment. Structural changes require structural work, and they are slow in motion but durable in time. As history teaches us, courage is a virtue characterized by an ‘endurance in the impossible’... Let the impossible become possible.” 

For the complete speech of Mrs. Maddalena Alberti, click here.

Founded in 1996 during the Bosnian War, the ADL Zavidovići Association today represents a resilience and dedication to human rights. Stemming from the tragic events of 1993, where three pacifists from Brescia, Italy, lost their lives while delivering humanitarian aid, the association has grown into a dynamic force, extending support to communities in need.

To honour and commemorate this event, as well as celebrate this wonderful award, ADL Zavidovići had a wonderful celebration in Brescia on April 14, 2024, at the Capretti Auditorium, sharing this moment with the community and celebrating together. Participants were offered an aperitif accompanied by the Ottoni a Scoppio, a band that has always stood by the side of the marginalised and vulnerable.

The recognition and award underscores the association’s relentless efforts in promoting democracy, integration, and collaboration, both locally and internationally. Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA, expressed deep pride in the association’s achievements, highlighting its commitment to strengthening local communities.

On 13 April, on the occasion of the inauguration of the “Bench of Europe” in Vicenza on 13 April, Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary-General of ALDA, presented the Better Europe Together campaign.

On Thursday, 11 April 2024, in Brussels (Belgium), at the European Parliament took place the presentation of the Alta Via della Grande Guerra (AVGG) project, an initiative of cohesion and promotion of the Vicenza mountains that retraces some emblematic places of the First World War that today represent a real “open-air museum” of the Great War.

Invited by the Honourable Mrs. Paola Ghidoni, among the speakers of the meeting Mr. Andrea Nardin, President of the Province of Vicenza, Mr. Roberto Ciambetti, President of the Council of the Veneto Region and Mr. Marco Boaria, Director of Programmes and Corporate Strategy of ALDA and CEO of ALDA+. 

On Thursday, 11 April 2024, in Brussels (Belgium), at the European Parliament took place the presentation of the Alta Via della Grande Guerra (AVGG) project, an initiative of cohesion and promotion of the Vicenza mountains that retraces some emblematic places of the First World War that today represent a real “open-air museum” of the Great War.

Invited by the Honourable Mrs. Paola Ghidoni, among the speakers of the meeting Mr. Andrea Nardin, President of the Province of Vicenza, Mr. Roberto Ciambetti, President of the Council of the Veneto Region and Mr. Marco Boaria, Director of Programmes and Corporate Strategy of ALDA and CEO of ALDA+. 

With the video contribution of the President of the BIM Bacchiglione Consortium, Mr. Valter Orsi, and the letter of Senator Mrs. Mara Bizzotto, the event explored the several opportunities provided by the charming itinerary of the AVGG, emphasising its significant importance from a historical-environmental point of view and the promotion of eco-sustainable tourism.   

A path, the Alta Via della Grande Guerra which spans about 200 kilometres among nature, CAI trails and Vicenza peaks, connecting the four symbolic military memorial sites in the Province of Vicenza – Pasubio, Cimone, Asiago and Grappa – places of deep reflection and memory of the events of the First World War.

The Alta Via della Grande Guerra represents a significant example of collective participation and collaboration to create a stronger, more inclusive and unified Europe

In his speech, Mr. Marco Boaria emphasised the extraordinary relevance of the AVGG project, which goes beyond mere tourism and hiking, encompassing fundamental elements such as community participation, numerous local and international development prospects and the promotion of European values of memory, peace and unity

Furthermore, Mr. Nardin also highlighted the shifting nature of the route, from a place of war to a space of peace and community, recalling the daily commitment needed to ensure freedom and democracy.

In charge of promoting the project, ALDA+ actively supports this historical and naturalistic recovery path in the Vicenza Pre-Alps, promoting the role of local entities and the indissoluble bond with the local community.  

As a consequence, the Alta Via della Grande Guerra represents a significant example of collective participation and collaboration to create a stronger, more inclusive and unified Europe.


L’Alta Via Della Grande Guerra arriva al Parlamento Europeo: tra natura, storia e promozione dei valori europei

Giovedì 11 aprile 2024, a Bruxelles (Belgio), presso il Parlamento Europeo, si è tenuta la presentazione del progetto Alta Via della Grande Guerra (AVGG), un’iniziativa di coesione e promozione della montagna vicentina che ripercorre alcuni luoghi emblematici del primo conflitto mondiale che oggi rappresentano un vero e proprio museo all’aperto della Grande Guerra.

Su invito dell’Onorevole Paola Ghidoni, tra i protagonisti dell’incontro Andrea Nardin, Presidente della Provincia di Vicenza, Roberto Ciambetti, Presidente del Consiglio della Regione Veneto e Marco Boaria, Direttore dei Programmi e della Strategia Aziendale di ALDA e CEO di ALDA+. 

Assieme al contributo video del Presidente del Consorzio BIM Bacchiglione, Valter Orsi, e alla lettera della Senatrice Mara Bizzotto, l’evento ha permesso di esplorare le numerose opportunità offerte dall’affascinante itinerario dell’AVGG, enfatizzandone la grande importanza dal punto di vista storico-ambientale e della promozione del turismo eco-sostenibile.   

Un percorso, quello dell’Alta Via della Grande Guerra, che si estende per circa 200 chilometri tra natura, sentieri CAI e vette vicentine, collegando i quattro sacrari militari simbolici della Provincia di Vicenza – Pasubio, Cimone, Asiago e Grappa – luoghi di profonda riflessione e ricordo degli eventi della Prima Guerra Mondiale.

L’Alta Via della Grande Guerra rappresenta un esempio significativo di partecipazione e collaborazione collettiva, per costruire un’Europa più forte, inclusiva ed unita

Nel suo intervento, Marco Boaria ha sottolineato l’importanza straordinaria del progetto AVGG che va oltre il semplice ambito turistico ed escursionistico, raccogliendo in sé elementi fondamentali come la partecipazione comunitaria, le numerose prospettive di sviluppo locale ed internazionale e la promozione dei valori europei di memoria, pace ed unità

Inoltre, il Presidente Nardin ha tenuto ad evidenziare anche il carattere mutevole del percorso, da luogo di guerra a spazio di pace e condivisione, richiamando l’impegno giornaliero necessario nel garantire la libertà e la democrazia.

Incaricata di promuovere il progetto, ALDA+ sostiene attivamente questo percorso di recupero storico e naturalistico delle Prealpi vicentine, promuovendo il ruolo delle entità locali ed il legame indissolubile con la comunità locale.  

Di conseguenza, l’Alta Via della Grande Guerra rappresenta un esempio significativo di partecipazione e collaborazione collettiva, per costruire un’Europa più forte, inclusiva ed unita.

Are you a young politician under the age of 35, serving in regional or local positions within the EU and the EU candidate countries? Are you looking for opportunities to network, gather information on EU legislation and EU funding opportunities?

Do you want to be involved in the work of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR​), and meet and debate with CoR members and other local, regional and European politicians?

Take part in the Young Elected Politicians (YEP) network and raise your voice at the EU level!

The YEP programme, launched by the European Committee of the Region (CoR) in 2019, aims to exchange best practices among local and regional politicians, strengthen the involvement of young elected representatives and promote their education through training and other relevant activities.

The programme has already empowered more than 800 young elected politicians, providing them a platform to engage with, and contribute to, European Union policy making and governance.

The initiative will last until spring 2025, with activities scheduled throughout the year. Being part of the YEP programme allows participants to assist a wide variety of events online, hybrid and in person at the CoR premises in Brussels (Belgium) or initiative outside the city.   

Deadline to Apply: 19 April, 2024

We eagerly await your application and your contribution to shape the future of the EU and ensure adequate political representation of young people.

How to apply?

For further information, read the full call on the dedicated website page and fill out the application form in English. 

You have time until 19 April, 2024!

ALDA gave a presentation on the European elections to the Partners of the Speak Up project, looking for synergies two months ahead of the elections. We also presented ALDA’s own campaign for the European elections, Better Europe Together, in which the partners were invited to participate.

During the Open Days of Villa Fabris in Thiene and within the “Shape your Europe” Lab, ALDA had an informative session about the Better Europe Together campaign and a stand dedicated to the TALE – TAke the Lead in the European Elections project.

This was the opportunity to inform local participants and citizens about the relevance of the upcoming elections of the next European Parliament as well as about the voting process in Italy.

During March 10-15, two dedicated project managers from ALDA had the enriching opportunity to attend a comprehensive 5-day training session on migration inclusion in the beautiful city of Copenhagen (Denmark).

The main goal of this training was to arm participants with practical skills and valuable insights needed to effectively address the challenges associated with migration inclusion. At the heart of the agenda was the introduction and testing of the INCLUDATE curriculum, collaboratively developed by seven organisations, including ALDA, in the previous year. INCLUDATE stands out as a structured framework designed to empower migrant associations. It enables them to actively engage in inclusion and diversity strategies tailored to their unique contexts at every stage of the process. 

The aim is to foster inclusive communities across Europe through shared learning experiences.

During their stay, our project managers also seized the opportunity to explore the Migration Museum of Denmark. This exceptional institution chronicles the rich tapestry of immigration, spanning from the Dutch settlers in 16th-century Copenhagen to the Ukrainian refugees of 2022. By spotlighting individual stories, the museum places contemporary migration issues within a broader historical context, offering invaluable perspectives on the subject matter.

Throughout the training, participants immersed themselves in the methodologies of INCLUDATE through a series of engaging sessions. These sessions covered a spectrum of topics, including needs assessment, community mapping, empathy mapping, strategy development, action planning, and implementation strategies. The training was thoughtfully structured around two primary activities: learning of methods and tools, and experiential group work. This hands-on approach allowed participants to adapt these methods to their respective organisational cases and contexts effectively.

As they return from Copenhagen, our project managers are not only equipped with new skills but also inspired to continue their meaningful work within the INCLUDATE project. They are confident in their ability to contribute positively to inclusion and diversity strategies, eager to make an impact in their communities.

On the 8th of April 2024, ALDA hosted a delegation of Ukrainian City and Village Mayors, Civil Society Experts and Businesses at its premises in Brussels, as a part of the study visit organised by ANTS, a member of ALDA. 

During the gettogether, ALDA’s Coordinator of the Secretariat, Mr. Adrien Licha, presented ALDA’s origin as a catalyst for participatory democracy in the Balkans through Local Democracy Agencies. Then – following a depiction of ALDA’s vision and its emphasis on multi stakeholder cooperation – its partnership with Ukraine was introduced. Starting with ALDA’s efforts in knowledge sharing on participatory democracy before 2014, through the formal opening of the first LDA in Ukraine in the aftermath of the invasion of Crimea, until today’s multiple engagements in the country, through the Flagship Initiative on Ukraine. 

Partnerships with programs like U-LEAD with Europe have enabled ALDA to advance its mission in Ukraine, focusing on community development and resilience. 

ALDA’s Flagship Initiative emphasises the importance of LDAs in fostering peace and social cohesion.

Today, ALDA perpetuates its stand for the future of Ukraine putting civic engagement, participatory democracy and civil society at the heart of its initiatives in the country

Despite the ongoing Russian aggression, ALDA remains committed to supporting Ukraine’s recovery through multilateral cooperation, in line with the Lugano Declaration. By engaging local authorities and civil society, ALDA strives to contribute to Ukraine’s peaceful and democratic future. As of now ALDA coordinates three LDAs in Ukraine, while the opening of additional ones is either planned or being discussed. Over the past two years, ALDA’s initiatives in Ukraine have been vital in promoting peace, resilience, and reconstruction. Through collaboration and innovation, ALDA stands with Ukraine in its journey towards a brighter future. 

In this purpose, LDAs in Ukraine carry out several projects, including psychological rehabilitation for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Dnipro – along with shelters providing food on a daily basis, Project “I Mariupol” offering support centres to provide basic needs to IDPs and capacity-building training on EU programs and Project development,

This is all possible thanks to a cooperative process of engagement with ALDA’s network, building a bridge with the local community and finalised with the Memorandum of Understanding putting the LDA in place. Going further, ALDA’s support and monitoring of the LDA’s activities is constant, to ensure the carrying out of activities in an efficient and sustainable manner.

The discussion testifies to the mutual admiration and interest both parts showed and it laid down and touched upon many compelling issues. Empowerment of youth and bottom-up democratic processes kicked off the talks, which later moved to the topics of sustainability, green environmental recovery and reconstruction, management of the immeasurable quantity of waste generated by the Russian invasion and the delicate issue of demining agricultural territories and tackling the damages already inflicted.
The discussion has been enriching and all of the topics touched raised new challenges for the implementation of a bottom-up and participative decision-making process, requiring further coordination and better synergy: two aspects that ALDA will definitely prioritise for the time being, working alongside its Ukrainian colleagues.