Odesa, Ukraine – November 17, 2023
In a momentous occasion, ALDA proudly declared the official opening of Local Democracy Agency (LDA) Odesa in Ukraine, marking not only a historic milestone for Odesa but also coinciding with the celebration of 30 years of Local Democracy Agencies in the Balkans. This landmark event symbolises a significant stride in advancing ALDA’s vision of resilient, inclusive, and sustainable communities.
LDA Odesa stands tall as a symbol of hope for local communities, embodying the collaborative efforts of local governments in Ukraine and European Union member states
The initiative is poised to fortify the reconstruction and development of communities in the city, and in the entire country, through cooperative projects jointly crafted by Ukrainian and EU partners.
The opening ceremony of the Local Democracy Agency Odesa, held on November 17, 2023, at the House of Receptions of the Odesa Regional Council, witnessed the presence of distinguished figures such as Mr. Vitaly Barvinenko, Chairman of the Odesa Rayon Council, Mr. Marc Cools, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Mr. Patrick Molinoz, Vice-president of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Chair of the CIVEX Commission of the Committee of the Regions (online), Mr. Oriano Otočan, ALDA President, Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA Secretary General, Ms. Inna Volkova, Member of the Odesa Rayon Council and ALDA Advisory Board and many more!
Beyond being an inaugural event, the launch of LDA Odesa is a promise for a brighter future for the city and Ukraine as a whole. This initiative not only addresses immediate needs but envisions a more secure and prosperous future for the people of Ukraine, especially during these challenging times.
In the midst of the ongoing war in Ukraine, LDAs, with their commitment to cooperation, community cohesion, and sustainable development, continue to provide essential support, serving as instruments of peace and solidarity. This milestone has been made possible through key partnerships, including the Odesa Rayon Council (UA), Foster Europe Foundation (AT), represented by Mr. Stefan Lutgenau, Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia (🇮🇹), represented by ALDA Vice President, Alessandro Perelli, and Istria Region (HR), represented by ALDA President, Mr. Oriano Otočan and Ms. Jessica Acquavita, vice president of the Region.
Crucially, this initiative marks the inaugural step toward establishing seven new Local Democracy Agencies in Ukraine, aligning with the ambitious ALDA Flagship Initiative. The establishment of these LDAs holds the potential to redefine local democracy in Ukraine, contributing to fostering resilient, inclusive, and sustainable communities throughout the nation.
The opening session featured Mr. Barvinenko‘s welcome words, highlighting the significance of LDA Odesa in promoting local democracy. Mr. Otočan expressed happiness and commitment to the partnership, emphasising the serious path LDA Odesa is taking in promoting local democracy.
Online participants, including Mr. Marc Cools, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, testified to ALDA’s commitment to local development and democracy, especially in challenging times. He extended his congratulations to ALDA for commendable initiative, expressing confidence in the expertise in fostering the development of local democracy agencies. With ALDA’s invaluable assistance, societal progress is sure to follow: “…This opening also testifies to the commitment of ALDA, but also of all its partners and of all the countries in the European family, in advancing democracy, local governance and civic participation in Ukraine, despite the harsh conditions of war.”
Mr. Patrick Molinoz, President of the CIVEX Committee, Vice-president of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Chair of the CIVEX Commission of the Committee of the Regions thanked ALDA for the networking operations with Ukrainian municipalities. It is an important link between local and regional authorities in Europe and especially in Ukraine: “We are looking forward to more partnerships, it is a need. It is also an important thing to develop the communication inside Ukraine in itself.”
Ms. Inna Volkova, Member of the Odesa Rayon Council, connected the event to the European Commission’s document related to the Enlargement package, emphasising the role of regional authorities in promoting necessary aspects for negotiations.
Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, ALDA Secretary General, presented the ALDA initiative and its significance in supporting democratic aspirations. The event included the Signature of the Memorandum of Understanding of LDA Odesa and concluded with the presentations from NGOs in the Odesa Region, reflecting a sense of hope, commitment, and anticipation for the positive impact of LDA Odesa on the region’s development and democracy.
Mr. Bartek Ostrowski, Coordinator of the Task Force for Ukraine of ALDA and Ms. Katica Janeva, ALDA Skopje Office Director and Balkans Coordinator, together with Ms. Khrystyna Kvartsyana, ALDA Representative in Ukraine also participated in this important event.
This ceremony marked the beginning of a new chapter for Odesa Region and its journey toward resilient, inclusive, and sustainable communities. The various presentations and discussions reflected the collaborative spirit and shared commitment of all stakeholders involved.
Stay tuned for further updates on this extraordinary journey towards a future of greater cooperation, stronger local democracy, and enduring partnerships.