Honouring Ukraine: A Special Focus at ALDA Festival and General Assembly 2024

May 28, 2024

Good governance

During the ALDA Festival and General Assembly 2024 on May 13, a profoundly moving event unfolded: the Ceremony of Recognition for ALDA’s Members’ Support to Ukrainian Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs).

ALDA’s engagement in Ukraine is now over a decade, during which it has been instrumental in delivering training on good local governance and participation to local authorities, alongside providing support to civil society organisations. The establishment of the first Local Democracy Agency in Dnipropetrovsk Region in 2015, together with the ALDA member Lower Silesia Region (Poland) and the Region of Alsace (France), marked a significant milestone. Subsequently, the creation of the LDA in Mariupol, supported by Gdansk Municipality (Poland) in 2017, further fortified ALDA’s commitment to fostering democratic practices in the region. In November 2023 also LDA Odesa was opened, and it is the third LDA established in the country. The creation of this Local Democracy Agencies in Ukraine, as an instrument of peace and social cohesion, is the first step for the creation of other LDAs in the country, as established by ALDA’s Flagship Initiative in Ukraine.

Since the onset of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia, ALDA’s dedication to supporting its Ukrainian members and partners has intensified dramatically. This heightened commitment, however, would not have been possible without the invaluable support of ALDA’s members and partners, who have stood in solidarity with Ukraine during these challenging times.

The Ceremony of Recognition represented a moving moment to express gratitude to those who have supported Ukraine, whether through longstanding efforts or humanitarian aid

Led by Mrs. Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA, the event featured heartfelt testimonials from ALDA members, including Ms. Margarita Fullana Arrom, Mayor of Algaida Municipality (Spain) and Secretary of Fons Mallorqui de Solidaritat i Cooperació, and Mr. Vadim Boichenko, Mayor of Mariupol (Ukraine) and representative of the Association of Ukrainian Cities.

It is worth highlighting the exceptional role played by Vadim Boichenko, who, as the only recognised and legal mayor of Mariupol, operates in exile within his own country, tirelessly advocating for the citizens of Mariupol who have been displaced by the illegal Russian occupation. Despite facing immense challenges, Vadim Boichenko’s unwavering commitment to his community shines through, making his speech during the ceremony all the more poignant.

“I am grateful to everyone who supports Ukraine. We need to feel it… Your resilience, our common resilience, gives us confidence that this war will end with our victory. I would like to recall the experience we have shared with ALDA. We have already had the ambition to learn about transparency, and thanks to partners like ALDA who came to us and provided us with the tools to learn, we managed to achieve it. We need this component for the world to recognize us as a European partner.”

Vadim Boichenko, Mayor in Exile of Mariupol, Ukraine

The ceremony concluded with the presentation of Recognition Certificates to ALDA’s members for their devoted support. Among these were notable organisations such as Fons Mallorquí, Associació Fons Pitius de Cooperació (Spain), Fons Menorquí de Cooperació (Spain), Gdansk Municipality, ADL Zavidovici (Italy), Progettarte (Italy), Studio Progetto Social Cooperative (Italy), Lower Silesia Region, Hauts de France Region (France), Region Istria (Croatia), Region Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy), Foster Europe (Austria), Grand Est Region (France), Barcelona Provincial Council (Spain), and all other supporters.

In commemorating the collective efforts and unwavering solidarity extended to Ukrainian LDAs, the ceremony underscored the power of collaboration and the resilience of communities in times of adversity. As ALDA continues its mission of promoting local democracy and fostering partnerships worldwide, the event served as a reminder of the transformative impact that can be achieved through collective action and mutual support.