European Local Democracy Week: Citizen Participation as the foundation of Local Democracy

lis 18, 2023

Good governance

ALDA firmly believes in the importance of local democracy, a principle that lies at the core of our mission. That’s why we’re excited to take part in the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW).

ELDW is a pan-european event which aims at strengthening local democracy and citizen participation, co-ordinated by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. This event allows local authorities, associations, and citizens from 46 Council of Europe member States to come together. During this week, numerous events of various nature are organised to engage citizens in discussions on matters of local interest. The ultimate goal is to promote democratic participation at the local level and stimulate citizen involvement in social and political life.

Together, we aim to encourage dialogue, share best practices, and ignite enthusiasm for local democracy among citizens

The ELDW initiative focuses every year on a different topic. 

Over the past few years, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound and lasting impact on societies worldwide. While it might have abated, it remains an ongoing challenge, a stark reminder of our collective vulnerability.

In addition to the pandemic, issues such as climate change, global warming, and regional conflicts have presented significant challenges for communities across the globe. These crises underscore the pivotal role of local and regional governments as the cornerstone of citizen participation and local democracy. When crises hit, it is local governments that citizens turn to for support and assistance. Therefore, it is paramount that we build democratic resilience in our societies to protect and empower citizens.

In 2023 and 2024, the ELDW will focus on the general theme of “Local Communities: Putting Democratic Resilience at the Forefront.” This theme is all-encompassing, covering a wide range of issues. For example, it explores the significant technological transformation driven by the Covid-19 pandemic and the digitisation that has revolutionised the ways communities function.

Furthermore, it highlights the importance of open and transparent governance, accountability, and the active involvement of marginalised groups and underrepresented communities in democratic processes. By promoting inclusive participation and early-stage decision-making at the local level, we can build resilient communities that respond effectively to crises.

ALDA has embraced the ELDW theme with enthusiasm, actively engaging our network to foster citizen participation and champion the principles of Local Democracy. Citizen participation represents the base on which democratic systems are built. Ahead of the upcoming European elections, that will take place in 2024, it is extremely important to underline the fundamental role of active citizenship. 

We believe that ALDA’s commitment to this initiative, combined with the involvement of our extensive network, can make a powerful statement. 

Discover more about our commitment to local democracy, and engage with us through our YouTube videos: 

Our commitment to local democracy remains unwavering, and we are excited to be part of this important celebration, as we collectively contribute to building resilient communities and fostering democratic participation at the local level. Join us in celebrating the European Local Democracy Week and the enduring principles that underpin strong local democracies.