A step forward towards the European Citizens’ Initiative revision

On 28th October, the European Parliament approved the EP Report on the ECI, sending a clear message to the Commission for the revision of ECI Regulation 2011/211. ALDA welcomes this meaningful proposal, as it contains many helpful changes which, if implemented, could make the ECI much easier to use.

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This includes harmonising and reducing personal data requirements, simplifying the technical rules governing the online signature collection system, dropping the age of support to 16 and letting campaigns choose their own start date. ALDA continuously promotes citizens participation in the democratic process, and recognises the ECI as a potentially powerful instrument in this direction. In fact, we involved ourselves actively, within the project COHEIRS, on supporting the Right2Water campaign.

Unfortunately, further steps are still required to make the ECI a meaningful tool of participatory democracy. In particular, to ensure that the European Commission recognizes ECI , allowing a proper follow-up, including a parliamentary debate in plenary, followed by a vote on the ECI. While we are grateful for the strong call to simplify the ECI, ALDA is still convinced that a more courageous approach would have made the ECI a more effective and democratic instrument. Before long, the Council will issue its own report on the ECI. The Commission will then decide whether or not to propose a reform of the ECI Regulation. We are looking forward for good news on the topic!

On 28th October, the European Parliament approved the EP Report on the ECI, sending a clear message to the Commission for the revision of ECI Regulation 2011/211. ALDA welcomes this meaningful proposal, as it contains many helpful changes which, if implemented, could make the ECI much easier to use.

***

This includes harmonising and reducing personal data requirements, simplifying the technical rules governing the online signature collection system, dropping the age of support to 16 and letting campaigns choose their own start date. ALDA continuously promotes citizens participation in the democratic process, and recognises the ECI as a potentially powerful instrument in this direction. In fact, we involved ourselves actively, within the project COHEIRS, on supporting the Right2Water campaign.

Unfortunately, further steps are still required to make the ECI a meaningful tool of participatory democracy. In particular, to ensure that the European Commission recognizes ECI , allowing a proper follow-up, including a parliamentary debate in plenary, followed by a vote on the ECI. While we are grateful for the strong call to simplify the ECI, ALDA is still convinced that a more courageous approach would have made the ECI a more effective and democratic instrument. Before long, the Council will issue its own report on the ECI. The Commission will then decide whether or not to propose a reform of the ECI Regulation. We are looking forward for good news on the topic!


Event Milan: YOU CAN MAKE A CHANGE – Sustainable development 2.0

On 28-29 October 2015, ALDA participated to the event YOU CAN MAKE A CHANGE – Sustainable development 2.0, organised by the Civil Society Alliance EYD2015 in the framework of CONCORD, which took place in Milan.
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This event was the second in the CONCORD EYD2015 project and involved NGOs, institutions and EU citizens, in order to discuss about the new global challenges that all countries have to face: how do we build societies that thrive and that look after the interests of current generations, as well as the interests of future generations, and of the planet? How do we build societies that are fair, prosperous and respectful of the planet we live on?

The event wanted to use the EYD2015 as the opportunity to outreach and work closely with the sectors that are also working for development, such as social sector, trade unions, environmental, gender, health, youth, etc, and it was a good occasion to foster the conversation with other networks in order to share best practices and challenges, identifying what can be done together to enhance the impact of Civil Society actions in Europe and globally and to explain the ‘Universality’ principle of the SGDs.

Furthermore, the key role of Civil Society at all levels in the achievement of the SDGs was highlighted, Local Authorities were invited to become more present in development actions, and of course the participation of citizens was fostered and visibility to initiatives led by citizens and CSOs in the EU and in partner countries promoting solutions to global issues had elevance.

The event was the occasion to clarify and explain key words such as, decentralised cooperation, development localisation and news SDGs, Eastern Partnership, MED policy of EU and local governance.

Marco Boaria, Head of Resources and Development Unit of ALDA, participated as member of the Steering Committee of the EYD2015 Civil Society Alliance, while Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA, moderated the workshop on the role of LAs in development on 29th October.

The event took place in Milan EXPO on 28th and in Milan City Hall on 29th.

روابط مفيدة
Program of the event

Presentation

On 28-29 October 2015, ALDA participated to the event YOU CAN MAKE A CHANGE – Sustainable development 2.0, organised by the Civil Society Alliance EYD2015 in the framework of CONCORD, which took place in Milan.
***

This event was the second in the CONCORD EYD2015 project and involved NGOs, institutions and EU citizens, in order to discuss about the new global challenges that all countries have to face: how do we build societies that thrive and that look after the interests of current generations, as well as the interests of future generations, and of the planet? How do we build societies that are fair, prosperous and respectful of the planet we live on?

The event wanted to use the EYD2015 as the opportunity to outreach and work closely with the sectors that are also working for development, such as social sector, trade unions, environmental, gender, health, youth, etc, and it was a good occasion to foster the conversation with other networks in order to share best practices and challenges, identifying what can be done together to enhance the impact of Civil Society actions in Europe and globally and to explain the ‘Universality’ principle of the SGDs.

Furthermore, the key role of Civil Society at all levels in the achievement of the SDGs was highlighted, Local Authorities were invited to become more present in development actions, and of course the participation of citizens was fostered and visibility to initiatives led by citizens and CSOs in the EU and in partner countries promoting solutions to global issues had elevance.

The event was the occasion to clarify and explain key words such as, decentralised cooperation, development localisation and news SDGs, Eastern Partnership, MED policy of EU and local governance.

Marco Boaria, Head of Resources and Development Unit of ALDA, participated as member of the Steering Committee of the EYD2015 Civil Society Alliance, while Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA, moderated the workshop on the role of LAs in development on 29th October.

The event took place in Milan EXPO on 28th and in Milan City Hall on 29th.

روابط مفيدة
Program of the event

Presentation

 


Stabilisation and Association Agreement signed between the European Union and Kosovo – ALDA in Kosovo for this historic moment

Kosovo* signed with the European Union the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. This represents a historic fact for the stabilisation and normalisation of the situation of the country and for paving the way for a period of reforms and steps towards a possible European integration.

During this important day, the Secretary General of ALDA, Mrs Antonella Valmorbida, visited the Local Democracy Agency in Kosovo* and different other stakeholders. The LDA in Kosovo* is now based in Pec/Peja and run by Delegate Elbert Krasniqi. The lead partner is the Association Trentino for the Balkans (Associazione Trentino per i Balcani from Trento, in Italy). Their activities are multi-faceted and support the development of local governance and community all over the Pec/Peja area. The Italian Association was represented by its Chair, Maurizio Camin.

The visit of Mrs Valmorbida was also fundamental to reconnect with the local political stakeholders such as the Mayor of Peja/Pec, Mr Gazmend Muhaxeri and with Mr Safet Kamberl, Deputy Mayor of Mitrovica. For all these important and known contacts of ALDA, there is a perspective of membership to ALDA and a more intense connection in the work of local governance and support to local communities. Mrs Valmorbida also met the Mayor of Gjilane, Mr Lutfi Haziri, who was the initial founder of the LDA Gijlane in 2004.

“It is a great moment for Kosovo* and I am confident that it will be a milestone for the supporting stabilisation in the country and in the region. The role of local governments working with communities is fundamental and will be even more in the future”, said Antonella Valmorbida.

Kosovo* signed with the European Union the Stabilisation and Association Agreement. This represents a historic fact for the stabilisation and normalisation of the situation of the country and for paving the way for a period of reforms and steps towards a possible European integration.

During this important day, the Secretary General of ALDA, Mrs Antonella Valmorbida, visited the Local Democracy Agency in Kosovo* and different other stakeholders. The LDA in Kosovo* is now based in Pec/Peja and run by Delegate Elbert Krasniqi. The lead partner is the Association Trentino for the Balkans (Associazione Trentino per i Balcani from Trento, in Italy). Their activities are multi-faceted and support the development of local governance and community all over the Pec/Peja area. The Italian Association was represented by its Chair, Maurizio Camin.

The visit of Mrs Valmorbida was also fundamental to reconnect with the local political stakeholders such as the Mayor of Peja/Pec, Mr Gazmend Muhaxeri and with Mr Safet Kamberl, Deputy Mayor of Mitrovica. For all these important and known contacts of ALDA, there is a perspective of membership to ALDA and a more intense connection in the work of local governance and support to local communities. Mrs Valmorbida also met the Mayor of Gjilane, Mr Lutfi Haziri, who was the initial founder of the LDA Gijlane in 2004.

“It is a great moment for Kosovo* and I am confident that it will be a milestone for the supporting stabilisation in the country and in the region. The role of local governments working with communities is fundamental and will be even more in the future”, said Antonella Valmorbida.


Meeting between the LDA of Dnipropetrovsk Region and the Region Alsace in Dnipropetrovsk

On Saturday 24th October, Anzhelika Pylypenko, Delegate of the LDA of the Dnipropetrovsk Region, and Kyrylo Batalov, Deputy Delegate of the LDA, had a meeting with Jean-Marie Belliard and his colleague in Dnipropetrovsk, at Menorah Hotel. Jean-Marie Belliard is a representative of one of the LDA’s partners: the region Alsace.

They had a fruitful discussion about the current economic and political conditions in Dnipropetrovsk and whole Ukraine, as well as about the nowadays projects, in which the LDA takes part. Anzhelika and Kyrylo presented their former wins and a plenty part of relations between the LDA and the Regional Office of Reforms.

The region Alsace is now involved in the elections monitoring process as international observer. They have rather big plan of trips within Dnipropetrovsk region. The LDA’s delegates suggested them to visit Yuvileine community to see the real example of decentralization process and to better discover the work of the LDA. Mr. Belliard will also join the LDA partner meeting in Wroclaw, on next 18th November.

The LDA’s delegate are particularly glad of this meeting and look forward to a further cooperation with their valuable partners.

On Saturday 24th October, Anzhelika Pylypenko, Delegate of the LDA of the Dnipropetrovsk Region, and Kyrylo Batalov, Deputy Delegate of the LDA, had a meeting with Jean-Marie Belliard and his colleague in Dnipropetrovsk, at Menorah Hotel. Jean-Marie Belliard is a representative of one of the LDA’s partners: the region Alsace.

They had a fruitful discussion about the current economic and political conditions in Dnipropetrovsk and whole Ukraine, as well as about the nowadays projects, in which the LDA takes part. Anzhelika and Kyrylo presented their former wins and a plenty part of relations between the LDA and the Regional Office of Reforms.

The region Alsace is now involved in the elections monitoring process as international observer. They have rather big plan of trips within Dnipropetrovsk region. The LDA’s delegates suggested them to visit Yuvileine community to see the real example of decentralization process and to better discover the work of the LDA. Mr. Belliard will also join the LDA partner meeting in Wroclaw, on next 18th November.

The LDA’s delegate are particularly glad of this meeting and look forward to a further cooperation with their valuable partners.


Official (re)launch of LDA Albania in Vlora

The Local Democracy Agency Albania is back in action to promote good local governance and citizen participation in the southern part of the country. Following a recent process of revitalisation based upon a new successful partnership strategy, several meetings have taken place in 2014 and 2015 to identify and link together all local and regional governments as well as civil society associations from Albania and the EU supportive of the relaunch process.

The new LDA, will be established in Vlora, has officially been launched on 24th October on the occasion of the international seminar on “Improving citizen participation and good governance at local and regional level in Albania”, following the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding. The event was an opportunity to present the LDA project to key stakeholders from the local to the international level. The objectives and the expected outcomes of the LDA have been showcased by all the partners supporting the project: ALDA, Apulia Region, the Metropolitan City of Bari, Region Vlora, the Municipality of Vlora, the Municipality of Fier, the Municipality of Patos, Center for Reserch, Cooperation and Development, UNISCO and Learning Cities.

“Supporting local democracy in Albania: best practices and challenges” was the title of the first panel of the event, moderated by السيد Oriano Otočan, President of ALDA.

“The Local Democracy Agency in Vlora city is a cornerstone to strengthen the local democracy and to accelerate our path towards the European Union” stated Mr. Dritan Leli, Mayor of Vlora, while Mr. Sadrit Danaj, President of Region Vlora, said “The LDA will be our point of connection with Europe”. Both the Municipality and the Region of Vlora cooperated with interest and commitment to the relaunch of the LDA.

LDA Albania joins the well-established network of 14 LDAs under ALDA’s umbrella. The LDA programme represents a key and innovative tool to good local governance in the Neighbourhood. It supports capacity building of civil society and local authorities and implements activities at the local level. The LDAs are by principle not based in capital cities. The Local Democracy Agencies act as promoters of democracy and local self-government and also promote human rights and sustainable development. The Agencies are an operational platform of debate, capacity building and shared cooperation between civil society and local authorities.

The Local Democracy Agency Albania is back in action to promote good local governance and citizen participation in the southern part of the country. Following a recent process of revitalisation based upon a new successful partnership strategy, several meetings have taken place in 2014 and 2015 to identify and link together all local and regional governments as well as civil society associations from Albania and the EU supportive of the relaunch process.

The new LDA, will be established in Vlora, has officially been launched on 24th October on the occasion of the international seminar on “Improving citizen participation and good governance at local and regional level in Albania”, following the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding. The event was an opportunity to present the LDA project to key stakeholders from the local to the international level. The objectives and the expected outcomes of the LDA have been showcased by all the partners supporting the project: ALDA, Apulia Region, the Metropolitan City of Bari, Region Vlora, the Municipality of Vlora, the Municipality of Fier, the Municipality of Patos, Center for Reserch, Cooperation and Development, UNISCO and Learning Cities.

“Supporting local democracy in Albania: best practices and challenges” was the title of the first panel of the event, moderated by السيد Oriano Otočan, President of ALDA.

“The Local Democracy Agency in Vlora city is a cornerstone to strengthen the local democracy and to accelerate our path towards the European Union” stated Mr. Dritan Leli, Mayor of Vlora, while Mr. Sadrit Danaj, President of Region Vlora, said “The LDA will be our point of connection with Europe”. Both the Municipality and the Region of Vlora cooperated with interest and commitment to the relaunch of the LDA.

LDA Albania joins the well-established network of 14 LDAs under ALDA’s umbrella. The LDA programme represents a key and innovative tool to good local governance in the Neighbourhood. It supports capacity building of civil society and local authorities and implements activities at the local level. The LDAs are by principle not based in capital cities. The Local Democracy Agencies act as promoters of democracy and local self-government and also promote human rights and sustainable development. The Agencies are an operational platform of debate, capacity building and shared cooperation between civil society and local authorities.


ALDA at the DEAR Fair organized by the European Commission in Brussels

On 22nd and 23rd October 2015, the EU DEAR (Development Education and Awareness Raising Programme) Fair was organized by the European Commission in Brussels.

The DEAR Fair brought together an exhibition of around 80 projects from all EU countries, supported by the EU DEAR programme, a programme implemented by civil society actors and local authorities in EU and acceding countries.The projects supported by the DEAR programme work towards an increased awareness of citizens and critical engagement on development issues in the current global context.

The LADDER project was showcased at the exhibition forum while its approach and the role of Local Authorities were presented during a parallel workshop on the 22nd of October by the project manager of LADDER, Nikos Gamouras.

On 22nd and 23rd October 2015, the EU DEAR (Development Education and Awareness Raising Programme) Fair was organized by the European Commission in Brussels.

The DEAR Fair brought together an exhibition of around 80 projects from all EU countries, supported by the EU DEAR programme, a programme implemented by civil society actors and local authorities in EU and acceding countries.The projects supported by the DEAR programme work towards an increased awareness of citizens and critical engagement on development issues in the current global context.

The LADDER project was showcased at the exhibition forum while its approach and the role of Local Authorities were presented during a parallel workshop on the 22nd of October by the project manager of LADDER, Nikos Gamouras.


A step forward towards the establishment of LDA Moldova! Informative event at the Council of Europe

On occasion of the Congress Session taking place in Strasbourg on 20-22 October 2015, ALDA – the European Association for Local Democracy, in cooperation with Congress of Local Authorities of Moldova (CALM), organised an informative event presenting the Local Democracy Agency (LDA) Moldova, on 22nd October at the Council of Europe.

Aim of the event was to present the LDA partnership mechanism and its objectives to the participants and potential partners of the upcoming LDA, who are interested in supporting the development of local communities, local democracy and citizen participation in Moldova. International partners, including regions, municipalities and NGOs from the EU Members States, were involved in providing financial support to the LDA, participating to its activities, preparing and implementing projects, as well as encouraging networking and participation among communities.

The LDA Moldova will form part of a wider network of LDAs already existent in the European Neighbourhood, working towards the same objectives to foster educational, economic and professional exchanges. Its aims are to actively contribute to capacity-building on the ground, on an individual, as well as on an institutional and organisational level, progressively feeding into the European Commission’s mandate to support democratic institution building as a vital European Neighbourhood Policy objective.

The presentation was attended by Mr. Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA, Mr. Andris Jaunsleinis, Member of Ventspils Municipal Council of Latvia and of the European Committee of the Regions, Ms Nawel Rafik Elmirini, Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg, Ms Tatiana Badan, President of CALM and السيد الكسندرو أوسادسي, Project Manager of CALM.

On occasion of the Congress Session taking place in Strasbourg on 20-22 October 2015, ALDA – the European Association for Local Democracy, in cooperation with Congress of Local Authorities of Moldova (CALM), organised an informative event presenting the Local Democracy Agency (LDA) Moldova, on 22nd October at the Council of Europe.

Aim of the event was to present the LDA partnership mechanism and its objectives to the participants and potential partners of the upcoming LDA, who are interested in supporting the development of local communities, local democracy and citizen participation in Moldova. International partners, including regions, municipalities and NGOs from the EU Members States, were involved in providing financial support to the LDA, participating to its activities, preparing and implementing projects, as well as encouraging networking and participation among communities.

The LDA Moldova will form part of a wider network of LDAs already existent in the European Neighbourhood, working towards the same objectives to foster educational, economic and professional exchanges. Its aims are to actively contribute to capacity-building on the ground, on an individual, as well as on an institutional and organisational level, progressively feeding into the European Commission’s mandate to support democratic institution building as a vital European Neighbourhood Policy objective.

The presentation was attended by Mr. Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA, Mr. Andris Jaunsleinis, Member of Ventspils Municipal Council of Latvia and of the European Committee of the Regions, Ms Nawel Rafik Elmirini, Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg, Ms Tatiana Badan, President of CALM and السيد الكسندرو أوسادسي, Project Manager of CALM.


Busy October for LADDER: Launch of the project video & of two participative initiatives!

In the framework of Shining Stars of Europe, a contest organised under the umbrella of EYD 2015 – the European Year for Development, ALDA finalised a video presenting its project LADDER – Local Authorities as drivers for Development Education and Raising Awareness.

The videos submitted to the competition, coming from all over the world, aim to present existing examples or innovative ideas about development cooperation and to foster our joint sense of responsibility and solidarity.

Please find here the video of LADDER.

Watch & support LADDER video by sharing it also among your networks!

How to vote?

• Visit the Shining Stars website
• Click on Current Edition and then on Vote
• Choose the LADDER video among the 35 videos submitted (if you cannot see it immediately, click on view more to show all videos)
• Click on the video to watch it, and then on the green “√” to vote it.

Description of Shining Stars Europe – 4th Edition

In addition, other two participative initiatives have been launched during the last month. The Citizen Journalist initiative aims to create a network of around 50 non-professional civic journalists, coming from the countries of LADDER consortium, who are interested to have their say on development issues through articles, interviews, videos, cartoons, blog articles, etc.), while the object of the Slogan Competition initiative is to raise students and pupils’ awareness on development in all the partners’ countries, by involving them in the production of slogans.

Interested in getting involved in LADDER initiatives? Stay tuned on our website!

In the framework of Shining Stars of Europe, a contest organised under the umbrella of EYD 2015 – the European Year for Development, ALDA finalised a video presenting its project LADDER – Local Authorities as drivers for Development Education and Raising Awareness.

The videos submitted to the competition, coming from all over the world, aim to present existing examples or innovative ideas about development cooperation and to foster our joint sense of responsibility and solidarity.

Please find here the video of LADDER.

Watch & support LADDER video by sharing it also among your networks!

How to vote?

• Visit the Shining Stars website
• Click on Current Edition and then on Vote
• Choose the LADDER video among the 35 videos submitted (if you cannot see it immediately, click on view more to show all videos)
• Click on the video to watch it, and then on the green “√” to vote it.

Description of Shining Stars Europe – 4th Edition

In addition, other two participative initiatives have been launched during the last month. The Citizen Journalist initiative aims to create a network of around 50 non-professional civic journalists, coming from the countries of LADDER consortium, who are interested to have their say on development issues through articles, interviews, videos, cartoons, blog articles, etc.), while the object of the Slogan Competition initiative is to raise students and pupils’ awareness on development in all the partners’ countries, by involving them in the production of slogans.

Interested in getting involved in LADDER initiatives? Stay tuned on our website!


"Bridges of Expertise to Fight Gender Based Violence": presentation of the Guide and best practices at the Council of Europe

On Wednesday 21st October 2015, ALDA and the Turkish Cappadocian Women’s Solidarity Association presented the Guide and collection of good practice produced in the framework of the two-year project Bridges of Expertise to Fight Gender Based Violence, at the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg. The event was organised during the 29th Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, fully corresponding to its main agenda: Local responses to human rights challenges – migration, discrimination, social inclusion.

The project, led by Cappadocian Women’s Solidarity Association, addressed the issue of fighting gender based violence and aimed to support capacity building of local and national Turkish NGOs on combating violence against women and gender violence, to foster the exchange of best practice with EU based counterparts and to improve the situation in local communities by promoting partnerships with local authorities that offer services to women.

The event was, at the same time, an occasion to launch an advocacy campaign for combating violence against women and for marking 2016 as the European Year to end violence against women.

Among the guest speakers of the event there were: ; أنتونلا فالموربيدا, Secretary General of ALDA; Gaye Doganoglu, Vice-President of the Congress; Hayriye Demirbilek, President of the Women’s Solidarity Association from Nevsehir; Yusuf Kaya, Municipality of Nevşehir; Muhammed Öztürk, Ahiler Development Agency of Nevsehir;  Necati Akkaş, Municipality of Zonğuldak; Baki Kara, Municipality of Ereğli; and Leyla Kahraman, Professor of the University of Nevsehir, in Turkey.

On Wednesday 21st October 2015, ALDA and the Turkish Cappadocian Women’s Solidarity Association presented the Guide and collection of good practice produced in the framework of the two-year project Bridges of Expertise to Fight Gender Based Violence, at the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg. The event was organised during the 29th Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, fully corresponding to its main agenda: Local responses to human rights challenges – migration, discrimination, social inclusion.

The project, led by Cappadocian Women’s Solidarity Association, addressed the issue of fighting gender based violence and aimed to support capacity building of local and national Turkish NGOs on combating violence against women and gender violence, to foster the exchange of best practice with EU based counterparts and to improve the situation in local communities by promoting partnerships with local authorities that offer services to women.

The event was, at the same time, an occasion to launch an advocacy campaign for combating violence against women and for marking 2016 as the European Year to end violence against women.

Among the guest speakers of the event there were: ; أنتونلا فالموربيدا, Secretary General of ALDA; Gaye Doganoglu, Vice-President of the Congress; Hayriye Demirbilek, President of the Women’s Solidarity Association from Nevsehir; Yusuf Kaya, Municipality of Nevşehir; Muhammed Öztürk, Ahiler Development Agency of Nevsehir;  Necati Akkaş, Municipality of Zonğuldak; Baki Kara, Municipality of Ereğli; and Leyla Kahraman, Professor of the University of Nevsehir, in Turkey.