On Wednesday 7th October 2020, took place the final conference of the project “Empowering Local Authorities & Civil Society to Deliver Solutions with Participatory Democracy”, organised in Brussels and streamed online for all participants.
Officially kicked-off in April 2019 and carried out thanks to the support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) programme, the project aimed at strengthening local authorities in Ukraine and Moldova, by empowering them to identify and deliver solutions using participatory methodologies, thus involving the whole community in the decision-making processes.
Despite the hybrid nature of the event, with speakers and participants both online and in presence, the conference enjoyed of a great vivacity and a high level of interaction. At first, the event was introduced by Denis Schrey, Head of Multinational Development Policy Dialogue (KAS) and Oriano Otočan, President of ALDA. This was followed by three presentations conducted by Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA Secretary General, David Mathews, President and CEO of the Kettering Foundation (USA) and Alexandru Coica, Project and Area Manager at ALDA.
During her speech, Ms Valmorbida not only described the main findings and the experiences in the four target cities, namely Dnipro and Mariupol in Ukraine, Cimislia and Comrat in Moldova. Most importantly, she presented the highlight and the major output of the project: a published book, titled “Participatory Democracy in Moldova and Ukraine – Empowering authorities and civil society to deliver solutions at the local level”. The book presents the research, the tools and the practical recommendations for local development and it is intended to be a guide and a source of inspiration for all communities interested in embarking in such a participatory journey, aimed at finding pragmatic and shared solutions to local issues.
“We would like to officially offer our heartfelt thanks to each of the members of the exiting Governing Board”
Later on, the floor was given to Borys Albertovich Filatov, mayor of Dnipro and to Sergiu Andronachi, mayor of Cimislia, who shared their grassroot experiences concerning the application of innovative methods of citizens engagement. Afterwards, the perspective switched from local to a broader perspective, thanks to the input of Mathieu Bousquet, Head of Unit DG NEAR. The conference ended with a debate on recommendations to improve the effectiveness of local participative democracy, moderated by Alexandru Coica, and led by Daniela Morari, Ambassador and Head of the Mission of the Republic of Moldova to the EU.
All in all, the successful results of the project made it clear the immense potential of such processes in terms of problem solving, social empowerment and economic development, as they generate new energies, ideas and contribute to fight against the sense of frustration and brain drain in countries.
By virtue of this, even though this was the last conference, we suspect that actions to foster participatory democracy in Ukraine and Moldova won’t stop here. Stay tuned to discover all follow-ups of this great project!