“Democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life”.

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This is the preamble written by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, while declaring 15 September as the date internationally dedicated to the value of Democracy. And this is the same preamble fully explaining the mission of ALDA, that since 1999 puts all efforts in fostering citizens’ participation at all levels, by strengthening the skills of local authorities and of civil society, protecting freedom of expression, making sure that the expressed opinions are listened and considered by competent authorities, thus ensuring full participation in decision-making processes.

Thus, 15 September is symbolically important for ALDA, since in this day, all around world, we remember and celebrate the importance of democracy, our Association’s lifeblood and key challenge.

This year ALDA is willing to dedicate a particular thought to a country that is celebrating the International Day of Democracy for the first time – Tunisia. A country that makes us proud of our work and efforts, showing the concrete results of day by day commitment of spreading the importance of democratic participation, becoming symbol and example of change.

In the last five years, in fact, Tunisia gave a strong and significant contribution to the values of citizen participation and involvement in political and social change. Starting from the Jasmine Revolution in December 2011, we accompanied the change of a country that refused political repressions, asking for freedom of expression, political and economic transparency, development and better quality of life and opportunities.

Within only 5 years Tunisia was able to make a real change: the civil society organisations were empowered; people were enabled to express their asks; activists reached cities, towns and rural areas to deliver information on participative democracy and citizens’ rights; citizens were involved in the national electoral process, and soon they will cast their ballot again during local elections, crucial to strengthen local democracy and reorganise local powers according to the value of decentralisation. All these changes strongly impact the biggest problems affecting the country, such as youth unemployment, lack of education and information in some remote areas, unbalanced economy, security issues, etc.

Tunisia is showing to citizens of countries living similar conditions, as well as to each one of us in the enlarged Europe, that citizens’ participation is key to make society change.

ALDA is extremely proud of working with civil society organisations and local authorities in Tunisia, particularly towards the opening of the first LDA in the country, for which a memorandum of understanding was signed in April in Kairouan.

“During these last months we intensified our relationship with civil society organisations and local authorities in Tunisia, also thanks to the precious work of Anne-Laure Joedicke, ALDA’s responsible for the Mediterranean area”, states Mr. Alessandro Perelli, Vice President of ALDA. “We are determined to intensify all efforts in order to promote the value of democracy as instrument for equality and development, making a change in people’s life, in a country that clearly shows to care about democratic values and citizen participation to political life”.

In this day of international celebration of Democracy, we want to thank Tunisian citizens for the passion and devotion they demonstrate every day towards the stability and development of their country, we renew our support to all actions run in the name of participative democracy, and we are looking forward to collecting together new successes, to be celebrated day by day.

“Democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life”.

***
This is the preamble written by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, while declaring 15 September as the date internationally dedicated to the value of Democracy. And this is the same preamble fully explaining the mission of ALDA, that since 1999 puts all efforts in fostering citizens’ participation at all levels, by strengthening the skills of local authorities and of civil society, protecting freedom of expression, making sure that the expressed opinions are listened and considered by competent authorities, thus ensuring full participation in decision-making processes.

Thus, 15 September is symbolically important for ALDA, since in this day, all around world, we remember and celebrate the importance of democracy, our Association’s lifeblood and key challenge.

This year ALDA is willing to dedicate a particular thought to a country that is celebrating the International Day of Democracy for the first time – Tunisia. A country that makes us proud of our work and efforts, showing the concrete results of day by day commitment of spreading the importance of democratic participation, becoming symbol and example of change.

In the last five years, in fact, Tunisia gave a strong and significant contribution to the values of citizen participation and involvement in political and social change. Starting from the Jasmine Revolution in December 2011, we accompanied the change of a country that refused political repressions, asking for freedom of expression, political and economic transparency, development and better quality of life and opportunities.

Within only 5 years Tunisia was able to make a real change: the civil society organisations were empowered; people were enabled to express their asks; activists reached cities, towns and rural areas to deliver information on participative democracy and citizens’ rights; citizens were involved in the national electoral process, and soon they will cast their ballot again during local elections, crucial to strengthen local democracy and reorganise local powers according to the value of decentralisation. All these changes strongly impact the biggest problems affecting the country, such as youth unemployment, lack of education and information in some remote areas, unbalanced economy, security issues, etc.

Tunisia is showing to citizens of countries living similar conditions, as well as to each one of us in the enlarged Europe, that citizens’ participation is key to make society change.

ALDA is extremely proud of working with civil society organisations and local authorities in Tunisia, particularly towards the opening of the first LDA in the country, for which a memorandum of understanding was signed in April in Kairouan.

“During these last months we intensified our relationship with civil society organisations and local authorities in Tunisia, also thanks to the precious work of Anne-Laure Joedicke, ALDA’s responsible for the Mediterranean area”, states Mr. Alessandro Perelli, Vice President of ALDA. “We are determined to intensify all efforts in order to promote the value of democracy as instrument for equality and development, making a change in people’s life, in a country that clearly shows to care about democratic values and citizen participation to political life”.

In this day of international celebration of Democracy, we want to thank Tunisian citizens for the passion and devotion they demonstrate every day towards the stability and development of their country, we renew our support to all actions run in the name of participative democracy, and we are looking forward to collecting together new successes, to be celebrated day by day.