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 alfonso.aliberti@aldaintranet.org or visit the website: www.wtd-alda.eu

“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 www.balkansheritage.eu.
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 http://crbn-mk.courriers.info/

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 http://nexpo.nalas.eu/).

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.

Nestled n the picturesque town of Thiene, Italy, Villa Fabris stands as a testament to timeless beauty: this stunning Palladian villa offers a unique framework to combine cultural enrichment with relaxing. Discover what ALDA offers to combine democracy and beauty in an environment that inspires and rejuvenates. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this extraordinary opportunity.

Join the Summer School or book your tailor-made Retreat at Villa Fabris and let be inspired by this Palladian jewel.


ALDA Summer School 2024


The Summer School is a program designed for those passionate about democracy and good governance. This immersive educational experience provides participants with hands-on workshops, expert lectures, and collaborative projects, all set against the backdrop of one of Italy’s most beautiful villas.

The Summer School aims to convene thought leaders, policymakers, academics, and practitioners from around the world to explore innovative approaches, emerging trends, and best practices in local governance. 


Tailor-Made Retreats


For those seeking a more personalised and tranquil escape, the Tailor-Made Retreats at Villa Fabris offer a bespoke experience tailored to your needs. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to focus on your creative projects or a serene environment, Villa Fabris can accommodate your desires.

The retreats are designed to provide a full immersione experience, allowing you to unwind and recharge in a breathtaking setting.


Why Participate?


Both the Summer School and the Tailor-Made Retreats share a common trait: the enchanting location of Villa Fabris. Surrounded by lush nature and steeped in history, this villa provides an unparalleled setting for both learning and relaxation. Dive in hands-on workshops and tailored activities, while unwinding in the serene gardens or exploring the historic architecture of the villa.

Participating in either of these programs at Villa Fabris is not just an educational or leisure activity; it’s an experience that immerses you in the rich cultural heritage of Italy. Whether you’re enhancing your professional skills or seeking a peaceful retreat, Villa Fabris offers the perfect blend of beauty, history, and tranquility.


For more information


For information or booking please call +39 0444 540146

or send an e-mail villafabris@alda-europe.eu or

English version / Italian below


A TRULY UNPARALLELED SETTING FOR HOSTING RETREATS ON LOCAL DEMOCRACY-RELATED ISSUES


Villa Fabris in Thiene, represents an exquisite venue for hosting retreats focused on local democracy-related issues. Nestled in the heart of Veneto, Italy, Villa Fabris offers a captivating environment that seamlessly intertwines history, culture, and contemporary discussions on democracy.

Hosting a retreat on local democracy-related issues at Villa Fabris offers participants a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in an environment that inspires critical thinking and intellectual exploration. Whether engaging in lively debates in the Villa’s elegant salons or finding solace for quiet contemplation amidst the greenery of its grounds, guests are sure to find inspiration in every corner of this wonderful estate.

In addition to its inspiring setting, Villa Fabris offers a range of facilities and services to ensure a seamless and enriching retreat experience. From comfortable accommodations in the Villa’s beautifully appointed guest rooms, or in another locations nearby, to gourmet dining experiences featuring locally sourced ingredients, every aspect of the stay is curated to enhance comfort and enjoyment.

ALDA, the European Association for Local Democracy, co-manager of the Villa, is ready to support the organization, facilitation, and implementation of the retrait offering a wide range of services, thanks to its dedicated team of professionals who are committed to facilitating meaningful discussions and fostering collaboration among retreat participants. Whether you require logistical support, expert facilitation, or access to a wide range of resources on democracy-related topics, ALDA is here to ensure that your retreat is a resounding success.


AVAILABLE SERVICES


Logistics and Organisational Service

Space Reservation and Management

  • Booking of conference and meeting rooms
  • Configuration of spaces according to the client’s needs (seating arrangement, round tables, etc.)

Catering

  • Customised catering services for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and coffee breaks
  • Different menu including local, international, vegetarian and vegan cuisine

Accommodation 

  • Reservation of accommodations at nearby hotel
  • Transportation’s manage between accommodations and Villa Fabris

Transports

  • Organisation of transfers to and from nearby airports (Venice, Verona, Milan)
  • Local shuttle services for travel during the retreat

Content Services

Facilitation of Sessions

  • Professional facilitators to moderate working sessions and workshops
  • Facilitation of participatory techniques such as Open Space Technology, World Café and Design Thinking methodologies

Involvement of Experts

  • Inviting international experts in the field of local democracy, governance, active citizenship and other relevant topics
  • Organisation of discussion panels, keynote lectures and Q&A sessions

Training Programmes

  • Customised training courses on specific local democracy topics
  • Customised training materials and handouts for participants

Leisure and Cultural Services

Cultural Activities

  • Guided tours of Thiene and its main historical and cultural attractions
  • Excursions to nearby cities of historical interest such as Vicenza, Verona and Venice

Recreational Activities

  • Organisation of outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling and nature walks
  • Yoga and meditation sessions in the gardens of Villa Fabris

Gastronomic Experiences

  • Themed dinners with tasting of local wines and typical Venetian dishes
  • Cooking workshops to learn how to prepare traditional Italian dishes

Networking and Social Events

  • Organisation of networking evenings with cocktails and live music
  • Social events and gala dinners to facilitate relationship building among participants

Additional Services

 Technological Support

  • Provision of audiovisual equipment and conference technology
  • On-site technical support to ensure proper operation of all equipment

Promotional Materials and Branding

  • Creation of customised promotional materials for the event (brochures, gadgets, etc.)
  • Branding of spaces with the client organisation’s logo and theme

Documentation and Reporting

  • Video and photo recording services of events
  • Creation of final reports with summaries of the content and results of the retreat

With this wide range of services, ALDA ensures impeccable organisation and a comprehensive and enriching experience for organisations that choose Villa Fabris as the venue for their international democracy retreats


For information or booking please call +39 0444 540146

or send an e-mail villafabris@alda-europe.eu


Italian version

Organizza il tuo ritiro personalizzato a Villa Fabris, Thiene, Italia


UNA CORNICE DAVVERO UNICA PER OSPITARE RITIRI SU TEMI LEGATI ALLA DEMOCRAZIA LOCALE


Villa Fabris, a Thiene, rappresenta una sede privilegiata per ospitare ritiri incentrati su temi legati alla democrazia locale. Immersa nel cuore del Veneto, Villa Fabris offre un ambiente affascinante che intreccia perfettamente storia, cultura e discussioni contemporanee sulla democrazia.

Organizzare un ritiro su temi legati alla democrazia locale a Villa Fabris offre ai partecipanti un’opportunità unica di immergersi in un ambiente che ispira il pensiero critico e l’esplorazione intellettuale. Sia che si tratti di partecipare a vivaci dibattiti negli eleganti saloni della Villa, sia che si tratti di trovare sollievo in una tranquilla contemplazione nel verde dei suoi terreni, gli ospiti troveranno sicuramente ispirazione in ogni angolo di questa meravigliosa tenuta.

Oltre all’ambiente stimolante, Villa Fabris offre una serie di strutture e servizi per garantire un’esperienza di ritiro perfetta e arricchente. Dalle confortevoli sistemazioni nelle camere splendidamente arredate della Villa o in altre località vicine, alle esperienze culinarie gourmet con ingredienti di provenienza locale, ogni aspetto del soggiorno è curato per migliorare il comfort e il piacere.

ALDA, l’Associazione Europea per la Democrazia Locale, co-gestore della Villa, è pronta a supportare l’organizzazione, la facilitazione e l’implementazione del ritiro offrendo un’ampia gamma di servizi, grazie al suo team dedicato di professionisti che si impegnano a facilitare discussioni significative e a promuovere la collaborazione tra i partecipanti al ritiro. Che abbiate bisogno di un supporto logistico, di una facilitazione esperta o dell’accesso a un’ampia gamma di risorse su temi legati alla democrazia, ALDA è qui per garantire che il vostro ritiro sia un grande successo.


SERVIZI A DISPOSIZIONE


Servizi Logistici e Organizzativi

Prenotazione e Gestione Spazi

  • Prenotazione delle sale conferenze e delle sale riunioni
  • Configurazione degli spazi secondo le esigenze del cliente (disposizione a platea, tavoli rotondi, ecc.)

Catering

  • Servizi di catering personalizzati per colazioni, pranzi, cene e coffee break
  • Opzioni di menu che includono cucina locale, internazionale, vegetariana e vegana

Alloggio

  • Prenotazione di alloggi presso strutture alberghiere convenzionate nelle vicinanze
  • Gestione del trasporto tra gli alloggi e Villa Fabris

Trasporti

  • Organizzazione di transfer da e per gli aeroporti vicini (Venezia, Verona, Milano)
  • Servizi di navetta locale per gli spostamenti durante il retreat

Servizi di Contenuto

Facilitazione di sessioni

  • Facilitatori professionisti per moderare le sessioni di lavoro e i workshop
  • Facilitazione di tecniche partecipative come Open Space Technology, World Café, e metodologie di Design Thinking

Coinvolgimento di Esperti

  • Invito di esperti internazionali nel campo della democrazia locale, governance, cittadinanza attiva, e altri temi rilevanti
  • Organizzazione di panel di discussione, lezioni magistrali e sessioni di Q&A

Programmi di Formazione

  • Corsi di formazione personalizzati su temi specifici della democrazia locale
  • Materiali didattici e dispense personalizzate per i partecipanti

Servizi di Tempo Libero e Culturali

Visite Culturali

  • Tour guidati di Thiene e delle sue principali attrazioni storiche e culturali
  • Escursioni a città vicine di interesse storico come Vicenza, Verona, e Venezia

Attività Ricreative

  • Organizzazione di attività outdoor come escursioni, ciclismo e passeggiate nella natura
  • Sessioni di yoga e meditazione nei giardini di Villa Fabris

Esperienze Gastronomiche

  • Cene tematiche con degustazione di vini locali e piatti tipici della cucina veneta
  • Laboratori di cucina per imparare a preparare piatti tradizionali italiani

Networking e Eventi Sociali

  • Organizzazione di serate di networking con cocktail e musica dal vivo
  • Eventi sociali e cene di gala per facilitare la costruzione di relazioni tra i partecipanti

Servizi Aggiuntivi

Supporto Tecnologico

  • Fornitura di attrezzature audiovisive e tecnologie per la conferenza
  • Supporto tecnico in loco per garantire il corretto funzionamento di tutte le apparecchiature

Materiale Promozionale e Branding

  • Creazione di materiale promozionale personalizzato per l’evento (brochure, gadget, ecc.)
  • Branding degli spazi con il logo e il tema dell’organizzazione cliente

Documentazione e Reporting

  • Servizi di registrazione video e fotografica degli eventi
  • Creazione di report finali con sintesi dei contenuti e dei risultati del retreat

Con questa vasta gamma di servizi, ALDA garantisce un’organizzazione impeccabile e un’esperienza completa e arricchente per le organizzazioni che scelgono Villa Fabris come luogo per i loro retreat internazionali sulla democrazia.


Per informazioni o prenotazioni, chiamare il +39 0444 540146

o inviare una e-mail a villafabris@alda-europe.eu


In 2023, the Local Democracy Agency (LDA) Moldova undertook a significant project aimed at modernising livestock farms and enhancing the milk collection process in the Cimișlia-Basarabeasca micro-region. Funded by UNDP Moldova, this initiative is a testament to LDA Moldova’s commitment to rural development and economic growth.

Project Overview

The “Modernisation of Livestock Farms” project, running from December 2023 to October 2024, targets a micro-region with 10 localities and 21,400 people. It focuses on the “Ovi-Caprin Cimislia-Basarabeasca” micro-cluster, aiming to automate milk collection and enhance feeding production. Through careful recipient selection via a closed call for proposals, it seeks to boost tourism services, economic growth, and revenue for its 24 members.

Achievements and Impact

One of the main achievements of the project is the significant development in livestock farming and milk processing in the Cimișlia-Basarabeasca micro-region. A budget of 145,000 USD (approximately 2,568,095 MDL) has been allocated to support these initiatives, with disbursements based on project milestones. The establishment of an implementation team and execution of non-monetary assistance agreements have facilitated the project’s objectives. These efforts are expected to generate economic growth within the micro-cluster, with performance indicators and risk analysis in place to guide and measure progress.

Success Stories

The project has already seen success stories that highlight its impact. For instance, Mr. Petru Casian, a young farmer from Abaclia village, returned to Moldova from Ireland in 2023 to start a livestock farming business. His venture, “Shepherd’s Farm,” focuses on developing productive sheep breeds and creating a milk production line. As a member of the Cimișlia-Basarabeasca Sheep and Goat Cluster, he benefits from the project’s support, which includes the construction of a modern farm equipped with automated milking technology and a photovoltaic system.

Mr. Petru Casian expressed his optimism about the collaboration within the cluster, stating:

“It is encouraging to see that farmers have joined together in a cluster to cooperate and develop. I have high expectations from this collaboration as it can bring significant benefits in terms of efficiency, resource sharing, and joint sustainable development”.

Petru Casian

LDA Moldova’s project on the modernisation of livestock farms exemplifies a successful model of rural development. Through strategic partnerships, significant funding, and a clear focus on automation and enhancement, the project is set to bring substantial economic and social benefits to the Cimișlia-Basarabeasca microregion. The stories of beneficiaries like Mr. Petru Casian further underscore the project’s positive impact, showcasing the potential for growth and development in Moldova’s agricultural sector and sustainability.

Imagine a group of 70 people from 16 Mediterranean countries converging for a week in a mid-sized city in Southern Italy, a place where few similar events have ever been organised.

Why are you here? How did you arrive?” were among the most frequently asked questions. A massive organisational effort by REF – Réseau Euromed France and Mana Chuma Teatro, alongside REF members including ALDA, was essential to host the Med Youth Meeting 2024 in Reggio Calabria, Italy, during the last week of June. Unfortunately, despite meticulous planning, not all obstacles could be overcome. Five participants were unable to attend due to visa issues, even though they had been carefully selected.

After months of preparation, on Tuesday, 11th June, youth (up to 35 years old) from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal gathered, and the meeting kicked off at the Mediterranean University of Reggio Calabria the next day. Over an intensive four-day programme, they got to know each other and the associations in Reggio Calabria and Palmi (Italy), watched an impressive theatre performance by Mana Chuma Teatro, participated in five thematic workshops – including one facilitated by ALDA on “the phenomenon of instrumentalisation of youth participation” – engaged in a public debate on the obstacles to public mobility, recorded podcasts and interviews, composed a multi-lingual poem about the Mediterranean, tasted local products from a cooperative in Bova, and danced to traditional music in the village square.

Why are we sharing this with you? This meeting underscored the immense value of such experiences, especially during times when youth from these countries face violence and injustice. Young people from these regions live in fear that political forces opposed to diversity and inclusion will gain even more power, further excluding them from decision-making and future-oriented policies. But…

“I didn’t check the news for the first time in months.”

“It’s the first time I’m seeing the sea.”

“I didn’t know any of you before and I’m feeling at home.”

“I had no idea Calabria could look so much like my home country!”

These are just some of the emotional feedback received during the meeting.

The residents of Reggio Calabria, in turn, were astonished and moved to see such a large and cheerful group of young people enlivening their city.

However, this meeting and the network behind it are determined not to stop here, merely cherishing a wonderful experience with nostalgia. As it approaches its 10th anniversary next year, the Med Youth Network is ready to take on new challenges, pushing the societies of all involved countries to guarantee a place and a voice for their youth.


As ALDA, we are actively engaged in supporting youth participation at the local level, standing with our partners to advocate for everyone’s right to participate.


On this International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, we confront the stark reality of the atrocities inflicted upon countless individuals. Globally, reports of crimes against women, girls, and LGBTQI+ individuals are mounting, highlighting an urgent protection crisis.

In the chaos of warfare, sexual violence becomes a weapon. Women, girls, and LGBTQI+ individuals not only endure the horrors of war but also face the heightened risk of gender-based violence, including rape, forced marriage, sexual exploitation, and other forms of abuse. These atrocities rob them of their dignity, health, and basic human rights, inflicting both physical and emotional scars.


This violence also erodes the fabric of communities already torn apart by conflict.


The rising reports of crimes against women and children underscore the urgent need for robust protection measures and support services. Too often, the horrors of sexual violence in conflict are shrouded in silence and shame, perpetuated by social stigma, shattered healthcare systems, and the absence of justice. Survivors face immense barriers in accessing the support and services they desperately need, while perpetrators often evade accountability. It is imperative that we prioritize survivors’ safety and ensure they receive the care and support they need to heal and rebuild their lives.

As we mark this International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, let us recommit to ending gender-based violence in conflicts worldwide. While we do not focus specifically on this topic, ALDA supports the incredible work of other organisations dedicated to it. Within our Gender, Inclusion, and Human Rights Hub, we concentrate on related issues, such as empowering women in leadership and community project development (Politik-Her project) and strengthening the representation and participation of women in the political and media sphere (We Act Project).


Together, we must stand up for the rights and dignity of women and children, ensuring they are protected from harm and empowered to rebuild their lives in safety and security.


On this day of remembrance and solidarity, let us honor the resilience of survivors and reaffirm our resolve to build a future where sexual violence in conflict is neither tolerated nor ignored.

Together, we must stand up for the rights and dignity of women, girls, and children, ensuring they are protected from harm and empowered to rebuild their lives in safety and security.

ALDA is thrilled to invite you to an enlightening event in Brussels on 20th June 2024, focusing on social post-COVID urban revitalisation. This event, part of the SPUR (Social PostCovid Urban Revitalisation) project funded by the CERV Programme of the European Commission, aims to explore the crucial topic: “What socialisation for elderly and youngsters now, at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic?” The event will take place from 14:30 to 17:00 at L’Orangerie Hap within Jean-Felix Parc in Etterbeek.

The SPUR project is a collaborative initiative involving six European Municipalities: Community Foundation of Agrigento and Trapani in Italy, Metropolitan City of Milan in Italy, Commune d’Etterbeek in Belgium, Harghita County in Romania, Grad Vodnjan-Dignano in Croatia, and Vila do Conde in Portugal.


The goal is to share best practices for social integration of youngsters and elderly, particularly those from vulnerable backgrounds such as migratory, disability, or gender backgrounds.


During the pandemic, many individuals experienced severe isolation, and the long-term effects of COVID-19 are still felt by some. The SPUR project is designed to address these issues. By collecting data through surveys and focus groups, the six partner municipalities aim to identify the actual socialisation needs of their target groups. This data-driven approach will help tailor local pilot activities to foster connection and integration. The project also seeks to identify sustainable solutions for reactivating socialisation in these communities, inspired by acts of solidarity seen during the pandemic.

The event’s programme will include a presentation of the SPUR project, showcasing successful practices during the pandemic from Etterbeek, Città Metropolitana di Milano, Vila do Conde, Harghita County, and Grad Vodnjan-Dignano. This will be followed by a Q&A session and a debate, providing an opportunity for attendees to engage and share their insights. The event will conclude with closing remarks and social drinks, offering a relaxed environment for further networking.

We encourage you and your team to register for this important event. You can sign up using the registration form available in French, Dutch, and English.

This event marks the beginning of SPUR’s journey, and there will be more opportunities for networking and collaboration in the future. The next international event is scheduled for October 2024 in Milan. However, we are particularly excited to see you on 20th June in Etterbeek, where we can come together to discuss and develop strategies for social integration post-pandemic.


For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Alice Grazio at alice.grazio@aldaintranet.org


You can also follow SPUR on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram for updates.

We look forward to seeing you there and working together to revitalise social connections within our communities. This event promises to be a significant step towards understanding and addressing the social needs of our elderly and young people in a post-COVID world. Join us in this important conversation and contribute to shaping a more connected and inclusive future!

AMIL - Alliance multi-stakeholder for Migrants Integration and Labor

Alliance multi-stakeholder for Migrants Integration and Labor

AT A GLANCE

The AMIL project aims to promote the sustainable integration of third-country nationals (TCNs) into the labour market by expanding and strengthening the ‘MEIC Migrants Economic Integration Cluster’. This multi-level and multi-stakeholder cluster is intended to enhance coordination among key territorial socio-economic actors, thereby fostering the integration of TCNs into the labour market. The benefits for our target group, migrant people, will be increased employability and socio-economic inclusion.

At EU level, the aim is to disseminate the MEIC model.The project will focus on upscaling established good practices, customizing socio-economic insertion paths at the local level, strengthening national/regional systems for taking charge of target persons, and building the capacities of key actors at the European level. The MEIC model will be disseminated through dissemination activities, including international workshops for stakeholders of several EU Member States.

OBJECTIVES

– Improve the effectiveness of local initiatives for labour market integration of TCNs through the booster and the dissemination of the MEIC methodology.

Increase employability and economic inclusion of TCNs, enhancing and strengthening their professional/soft skills and creating new ones; and testing innovative solutions to boost access to existing labour market inclusion initiatives and instruments shared with the cluster actors.Sp. Obj3 Enhance involvement of key actors in terms of TCNs’ labour market integration. The MEIC model capitalised and actualized will be the focus of workshops that will be held with stakeholders from EU Member States.

The European Platform of Integrating Communities

AT A GLANCE

EPIC-UP is an initiative funded by the AMIF programme of the European Union (EU) and coordinated by ALDA. It brings together 12 partner organisations and 13 associated partners from 8 different EU countries. The project will capitalise on the existing knowledge and know-how of the consortium working on migrant integration and inclusion to design an enhanced model of multi-actor collaboration to develop, test and implement local integration strategies.
EPIC-UP is a project with the aim of developing and testing integration strategies for the inclusion of migrants at local level.
EPIC-UP will establish Community of Practices (CoPs) in six EU countries (Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain) where good practices and strategies will be leveraged. The CoPs will test and consolidate six new integration services through a social experimentation process that involves co-creation steps carried out jointly by the diverse stakeholders engaged.

The project’s approach includes involving stakeholders throughout the design and implementation cycle, tapping into the potential of existing best practices that other peers can share and testing in small-scale environments. The integration strategies will be socially innovative in their ends, because they track an unmet societal challenge, but also in their means, as the migrants and refugees will be put at the centre of the design.The integration of migrants benefits both urban and rural areas in the EU in various ways. Urban areas, where most migrants reside, stand to gain from the diverse cultural perspectives and economic contributions migrants bring. While many national strategies still are designed without proper consultation of the local level stakeholders, cities have a wealth of experience in implementing evidence-based integration policies. By tapping into this experience through peer learning and better coordination among stakeholders, urban centres can enhance their integration efforts and promote social cohesion. Moreover, involving migrants directly in the democratic process and public life can strengthen political participation, addressing one of the weakest areas of integration policy and fostering a more inclusive society.

OBJECTIVES

Project’s expected impact
The EPIC-UP project will have the following main expected results:
– An inclusive participatory methodology to foster the social inclusion of migrants more efficiently, will be developed and tested in six EU countries.
– The taxonomy, mapping and benchmarking of good practices on local migrant integration strategies will be disseminated.
– Migrants and refugees in the six territories will be empowered to engage and participate in the process and ultimately in the different public spheres of their new society. As a result, their voices and experiences will be better heard and considered.
– A capacity-building programme on how to promote migrants’ participation in the design and implementation of integration policies will be implemented.
– A series of policy recommendations will be produced to make migration policies and initiatives better future proofed.
– Ultimately, six new integration services will have been tested locally.

RELATED NEWS

Are you a Civil Society Organisation working for and with youth? Are you interested in youth civic engagement and participation?  We are looking for you! Participate in our call for proposals with your project idea!

What is the main objective of the call of proposal?

The WYDE Civic Engagement project foresees the implementation of 5 different projects called “Clusters”. Through the re-granting scheme, the cluster number 1 named “Generate Democracy: involving youth CSOs in democracy support” is dedicated to providing youth CSOs with the chance to put into practice the lessons learnt in the other clusters and undertake responsibilities over concrete actions promoting civic engagement and democracy.

The overall objective of the project is to fund and implement national and transnational projects in support of youth civic engagement and participation in the decision-making processes across the Sub-Saharan Countries.

What are the specific objectives of the call?

  • Empower organisations working in the field of youth to play a relevant role in supporting the democratic participation of youth;
  • Support peer to peer learning among youth organisations;
  • Reinforce an international network of youth organisations and youth leaders;
  • Improve the cooperation between the youth civil society and public policy makers, at local, national, and international level;
  • Advocate for the establishment or improvement of representative youth structures (such as youth councils or youth parliaments).

The third phase of the WYDE Civic Engagement call will remain open until 15 January 2025


What actions can be implemented?

This call for proposals will finance actions that respect the five working principles of the Human Rights Based Approach methodology:

  1. Applying all human rights for all
  2. Meaningful and inclusive participation and access to decision-making
  3. Non-discrimination and equality; accountability and rule of law for all
  4. Transparency
  5. Access to information supported by disaggregated data.

Where can the project be implemented?

Selected entities should be implementing National/ transnational projects in support of youth civic engagement and participation in the decision-making processes across the Global South countries with a special focus on Sub-Saharan African Countries.

How to apply?

Read the full call for proposals of Women and Youth in Democracy initiativE (WYDE Civic Engagement) to have more information about the call and how to apply! The call has been launched on August 15, 2023, and the third phase of the call will remain open until January 15, 2025.

On 11 and 12 June 2024, ALDA – the European Association for Local Democracy actively participated in the Ukraine Recovery Conference held in Berlin (Germany). Representing the Association at this significant event were Secretary General, Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, and ALDA Representative in Ukraine, Ms. Khrystyna Kvartsiana.

The conference, a major international effort to support Ukraine’s recovery, featured key addresses from Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The event underscored global solidarity with Ukraine and highlighted the critical role of local governance in the nation’s reconstruction efforts.

ALDA’s participation was further enriched by the presence of several notable members and partners, including: Mayor Vadym Boychenko of Mariupol, Mayor Serhiy Morhunov of Vinnytsia, Representatives from the cities of Poltava and Zelenodolsk, All-Ukrainian Association of Communities, Association of Amalgamated Territorial Communities, MitOst, Cities of Gdańsk and Wrocław, U-LEAD with Europe programme.

During the conference, ALDA vigorously promoted the Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs) programme, which plans to establish 9 new LDAs in Ukraine, in addition to the existing ones in Odesa, in Mariupol and in the Dnipropetrovsk Region, as instruments of social cohesion and stakeholder engagement. This initiative, part of ALDA’s Flagship Initiative in Ukraine, is fundamental to strengthening local governance and community resilience. The LDA programme has been instrumental in fostering democratic principles and sustainable development at the local level, especially vital during the recovery period.


We are deeply committed to supporting Ukraine through this challenging period said Mrs. Valmorbida


We are deeply committed to supporting Ukraine through this challenging period,” said Mrs. Valmorbida, reaffirming ALDA’s unwavering dedication to the country and its people since the onset of Russia’s brutal invasion.

The conference also provided a platform for ALDA to collaborate with other stakeholders. We express our gratitude to the Committee of the Regions, with whom we recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further strengthen our partnership, and to the Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Reconstruction of Ukraine for providing ALDA with a space at the joint stand on the Recovery Forum.

As Ukraine continues to navigate its path to recovery, ALDA remains dedicated to its mission of fostering local democracy and supporting the rebuilding efforts in collaboration with local, national, and international partners.

🇮🇹 This article is written in Italian because it is addressed to Italian-speakers only. We apologise for the inconvenience.

ALDA – l’Associazione Europea per la Democrazia Locale è entusiasta di annunciare una nuova collaborazione con il Centro di Servizio per il Volontariato della provincia di Vicenza (CSV di Vicenza), socio di ALDA. Grazie a questa collaborazione, ALDA avrà una rubrica mensile dedicata su CSV Positive Radio, la web radio del CSV di Vicenza. Questa iniziativa rappresenta un passo significativo verso la promozione e il sostegno del volontariato e della democrazia locale in tutta la regione.


CSV Positive Radio: Un Canale di Solidarietà e Volontariato


CSV Positive Radio è un nuovo strumento creato dal CSV di Vicenza per promuovere la solidarietà vicentina. Questo canale innovativo si distingue per la sua missione di raccontare e presentare l’incredibile impegno dei volontari presenti sul territorio, evidenziando il loro lavoro a favore della comunità e dei suoi abitanti. Attraverso una vasta gamma di contenuti, tra cui informazioni, comunicazioni, interviste ed esperienze, la web radio si propone di creare una rete che unisce volontari, professionisti del settore profit e istituzioni pubbliche e private.

Uno degli obiettivi principali di CSV Positive Radio è quello di fare rete, promuovere, sostenere e raccontare le belle storie e i traguardi raggiunti dal volontariato locale. Il canale si impegna a condividere le azioni di solidarietà che fanno la differenza, mettendosi a disposizione della comunità e crescendo con essa. Questa piattaforma offre l’opportunità di dare voce a chi si impegna quotidianamente per il bene comune, creando un senso di appartenenza e collaborazione.


Un Nuovo Spazio per ALDA su CSV Positive Radio


La rubrica mensile di ALDA su CSV Positive Radio sarà un’importante vetrina per discutere temi legati alla democrazia locale, alla cittadinanza attiva e alla partecipazione civica. Gli ascoltatori avranno l’opportunità di conoscere meglio le attività e i progetti di ALDA, scoprendo come l’associazione lavora per promuovere la democrazia e il coinvolgimento civico in Europa. La rubrica presenterà interviste, approfondimenti e storie di successo, creando un ponte tra ALDA e la comunità locale di Vicenza.

In un’epoca in cui il consumo di contenuti è sempre più flessibile, CSV Positive Radio si propone come una soluzione facilmente accessibile e versatile. Essendo una web radio, è ascoltabile online attraverso vari dispositivi, permettendo agli ascoltatori di sintonizzarsi nei momenti più convenienti della loro giornata. Questo approccio innovativo garantisce che le storie di volontariato e solidarietà raggiungano un pubblico ampio e diversificato, accompagnando le giornate di molti volontari della provincia di Vicenza con un sottofondo musicale e informativo.

In conclusione, la collaborazione tra ALDA e il CSV di Vicenza rappresenta un’importante opportunità per rafforzare il volontariato e la partecipazione civica. La nuova rubrica mensile sarà un mezzo prezioso per diffondere conoscenza, ispirare azioni positive e costruire una comunità più unita e solidale.

Cliccate sul bottone sottostante e scoprite CSV Positive Radio! 👇

Oppure inquadrate il QR Code cliccando su questa locandina!

On 5 June 2024, the final event of the EU4Accountability project took place in Chișinău (Moldova), marking a significant milestone in Moldova’s efforts to strengthen civic participation and accountability on its path to EU accession. The Civic Engagement Conference, organised by the EU4Accountability project and funded by the European Union, focused on the challenges of civic engagement and the role of citizen participation in decision-making processes at both national and local levels.

The EU4Accountability project, implemented across 10 districts of the Republic of Moldova, supported the capacity development of local authorities and CSO staff. It empowered 59 CSOs to conduct small-scale projects in civic engagement, participatory budgeting, and policymaking. This project exemplifies the cooperation between civil society and local public authorities aimed at improving the social accountability of local and central public authorities by strengthening the capacities of civil society organisations (CSOs).

“Citizens should know that the EU means stability, prosperity, and transparency, and the EU is ready to continue supporting Moldova’s efforts on the European integration path. We support community empowerment in Moldova, and I urge you to remain active and involved in implementing and monitoring public policies. Increasing the transparency of central and local government is crucial because the future and the power are in your hands.”

EU Ambassador, Mr. Janis Mazeiks

“A lot has happened in the last two years. We could say that the project has managed to reflect the realities here in Moldova and the region. We have shown that through local democracy, which is a concrete way of addressing and solving problems, the EU4Accountability initiatives allow our local communities to have European visions. We hope to continue benefiting from this.”

ALDA Secretary General, Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida

The conference featured two pivotal panel discussions. The first panel focused on the implementation of access to information laws. The second panel addressed current challenges in decision-making, identified priority actions, and established cooperation strategies between authorities and CSOs. Key participants included representatives from the Government, local authorities, and civil society. Key discussion points included the difficult access of local NGOs to national decision-making processes, lack of representativity, an outdated transparency law, and the obstacles that hinder the effectiveness of new cooperation platforms.

Speakers addressed key challenges in Moldova’s decision-making processes. Participants highlighted obstacles such as scarce resources, a lack of direct communication with policymakers, and insufficient recognition of their role, which hampers their ability to influence policies that affect their communities. Another critical point discussed was the lack of representation in decision-making bodies. Panellists emphasised the mismatch between governing institutions and the diverse population, leading to decisions that neglect the needs of marginalised groups and smaller communities, thus amplifying their voices in governance discussions.

The EU4Accountability project is funded by the European Union and is implemented by a consortium comprising the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA), the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD), and the Czech organisation People in Need. The event was organised in cooperation with the think tank Centre for Policies and Reforms (CPR Moldova).

AT A GLANCE

The project aims to build public awareness of the Charter and its value, and the capacity of key stakeholders for its broader application. The consortium, consisting of five European organisations will implement a transnational project focused on (a) building media capacity to showcase Charter Impact (b) fostering expert discourse around Charter application, (c) enabling Charter use at sub-national level, and (d) supporting participatory engagement with Charter by young people. The select groups – journalists; practitioner experts, local authorities, CSOs and young people have been selected specifically based on current gaps and the potential for amplification and sustainability of action. Overall FOCUS is expected to result at least 60 capacity building events, with 1800 direct participants from at least 22 EU MS, and over 170 publications with a total reach of over 120,000. Throughout delivery, the project will draw on innovative programmatic approaches (e.g. Pop-up newsrooms, Youth Rights labs, expert blog symposia etc), and will mainstream the issues of gender and the focus on migrants and youth throughout delivery

OBJECTIVES

The FOCUS project aims to build public awareness of the Charter and its value, and the capacity of key stakeholders for its broader application, and to raise awareness on the applicability of the Charter for everyday citizens.

“More than ever, it is time to exercise our right to vote. Let’s make our voices heard. Let’s not let others decide our future. Let us encourage our members and networks to do the same. Let us remind every citizen of the incredible power they hold through the simple act of voting.“

Read the statement made by our President, Nataša Vučković, and by the whole Governing Board on the upcoming European Elections.

Join us on this new episode of ALDA Podcast “Shades of Democracy” as we discuss EU enlargement, and developments in Ukraine. 
Our distinguished guests, Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA Secretary General and Marta Barandiy, founder of Promote Ukraine, share their perspectives on the situation in Ukraine, its links with the EU, and ALDA’s role in supporting democratic values in the region.

Tune in for more knowledge on the topic! 

Useful links:
ALDA Flagship Initiative in Ukraine ➡️ https://bit.ly/4aQo94l
Promote Ukraine website  ➡️ https://bit.ly/4bXDssi

PRESS RELEASE – On 21 June 2024, civil society organisations and climate defenders will meet at the “Democracy and Inclusion in Times of Climate Crisis” event at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Rue Belliard 99/101, in Brussels.

Participants will debate on how to best answer the climate crisis from the perspective of marginalised voices. Partners of the EU24–Engage for the Planet project will present the main results of the “(Un)heard Voices” campaign.

The event is free and open to anyone, with special attention to people from marginalised backgrounds. This is the moment to have your voice heard on climate issues.

* * *

Through a series of compelling video interviews, “(Un)heard Voices” brought to light the perspectives and experiences of individuals underrepresented in political discourse. Migrants, women, young and senior people, members of the LGBTQ+ community, they advocate for equality and recognition. Each story is a testament to the rich tapestry of identities and struggles that define our continent in times of climate crisis.

“(Un)heard Voices” goes beyond mere storytelling. It’s a call to action, urging citizens to confront their own biases, expand their understanding of social issues, and actively engage with marginalised communities in the democratic process. By amplifying these voices, we want to foster empathy, solidarity, and meaningful change in the political landscape of Europe.

For Monika, a disabled woman from Poland, the biggest challenge is to be heard: “Disability, climate crisis and environmental problems are closely related to each other,” she argues. “Two of the most common reasons for disability are environmental issues and climate change. We are a vulnerable group, the first to experience the consequences of this crisis.”

That is why the right to vote becomes essential in ensuring that voices of all individuals, regardless of their background or circumstances, are heard and represented in the democratic process.

Voting is simply a duty as well as a right,” claims Karim, a man with a migrant background from France. “Voting is a right acquired over time with great sacrifices and social struggles. Continuing to vote and having a say in political decisions and choices will remain, for me, the essential difference between being a citizen and being subjected to politics.

As the European elections draw near, the urgency of addressing the climate crisis and amplifying the voices of marginalised communities has never been more pronounced. Against the backdrop of unprecedented environmental challenges, it is imperative to ensure that the concerns of all citizens, especially those from marginalised groups, are heard and addressed in the policymaking process.

The upcoming European elections present a crucial moment for fostering inclusivity and environmental justice in decision-making.


Recognizing this, the EU24–Engage for the Planet consortium launched “(Un)heard Voices” to empower marginalised people and elevate climate concerns on the European agenda.


For more information on the “Democracy and Inclusion in Times of Climate Crisis” event of 21 June in Brussels (Belgium), visit the website by clicking on the right.

For more information about EU24 Engage for the Planet and its initiatives, please visit engage4theplanet.com and engage4theplanet.com/unheard-voices-campaign.

Context

The EU24 Engage for the Planet project aims at decreasing the democratic participation gap of young citizens, citizens of diverse backgrounds, mobile union citizens in a gender-balanced way, by showing them their voices matter. While the turnout in the last EU election was the highest in 25 years, citizens of diverse backgrounds and mobile union citizens remain underrepresented among active EU voters, as well as democratic engagement. Climate change is the biggest threat to humanity today and needs transnational and multinational solutions.

AT A GLANCE

SpeakUP aims to revitalize the public sphere as an arena where individuals can come together to discuss and identify societal problems and work towards consensus building through rational debate. The aim is to nurture proactive debate culture, enhance understanding of participatory democracy, and promote active citizen engagement in socially polarizing topics by creating a network of debate clubs across Romania, Cyprus and Hungary. Importantly, the project also aspires to embed advocacy and participation at its core. Debate club members will be encouraged to spearhead community-focused advocacy campaigns and be active at the local level.

OBJECTIVES

SPEAK UP main objective is to leverage structured debate to enhance youth political participation and democratic involvement by creating a network of resilient debate clubs in Romania, Cyprus, and Hungary, specifically targeting marginalized and fringe youth groups at risk of radicalization.


From 13 to 15 May 2024, ALDA’s General Assembly and Festival hosted a significant panel discussion on “Local Democracy & Participatory Democracy” which explored the Defense of Democracy Package, civil society’s role, and local participatory initiatives within the European Union.


ALDA’s General Assembly and Festival 2024: Spotlight on Democracy in the EU


Key stakeholders from diverse sectors gathered to assess the current state and future of democracy within the European Union (EU).

Defense of Democracy Package: An Overview

Vincent Vandersmissen, representing the Belgian Presidency of the EU, detailed the Defense of Democracy Package (DoDP), designed to protect democratic processes across member states and at the European level. The proposal underscores the necessity of transparency, especially in interest representation, to counteract foreign interference in EU and national policymaking. Vandersmissen stressed the directive’s focus on safeguarding democracy, despite concerns from member states about its implementation.

The directive has ignited debate due to its resemblance to “foreign agents” laws in countries like Georgia, Hungary, and Russia, which have been used to stigmatise NGOs receiving foreign funding. Vandersmissen noted that while 15 EU member states maintain transparency registers, none specifically target foreign organisations. This has raised fears of unjustly labeling NGOs as “foreign agents,” leading to potential discrimination. These concerns are under active discussion at Coreper, with the Belgian presidency acting as an “honest broker.”

The DoDP also includes recommendations to boost democratic participation by increasing funding for civil society organizations (CSOs) and promoting inclusive electoral processes, particularly for mobile citizens.

Civil Society’s Concerns

Gabriela Civico, Director of the European Volunteer Centre and President of Civil Society Europe, shared critical insights from the civil society perspective through a video message. She criticised the directive on interest representation for its vague definitions, potentially affecting around 1,000 organisations. Civico warned that these organisations might be forced to register or lose funding from international sources, exacerbating current concerns about shrinking civic space within the EU.

Civico called for enhanced support from the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) program to strengthen civil society in an increasingly challenging environment. Her message highlighted the indispensable role of civil society in maintaining democratic health and the need for supportive policies.

Participatory Democracy: Practical Insights and Models

José Manuel Ribeiro, Mayor of Valongo, shared practical experiences in implementing participatory democracy at the local level. He acknowledged the traditional resistance of mayors towards participatory democracy, often viewed as a challenge. However, Ribeiro argued that participatory democracy can transform local governance by fostering better relationships between citizens and authorities.

In Valongo, initiatives such as youth and senior participatory budgets have been successful. Despite low participation rates, the impact on participants is profound, fostering a sense of community and belonging. The city also introduced an internal participatory budget for civil servants and urban planning projects involving children aged 10 to 15, showcasing the potential of participatory democracy to enhance local governance and civic engagement.

Mathis Dippon, Programme Manager for the European Capital of Democracy, presented this initiative, allowing any city to apply for the title. Once selected, the city hosts a year-long democracy festival, showcasing best practices in participatory democracy. This initiative aims to create a network of exemplary democratic practices for other cities to emulate.

Barcelona, the current European Capital of Democracy, serves as a model with its various democratic processes and citizen assemblies. Dippon emphasised the importance of targeted approaches to engage different audiences and ensuring that citizens’ recommendations have tangible consequences. This approach not only broadens participation but also strengthens the democratic fabric by making citizens feel their contributions matter.