Highlights from the 11th Danube Participation Day and 13th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region

lip 25, 2024

EU values and Enlargement Territorial & local development

On June 19, 2024, the 11th Danube Participation Day became a significant event for ALDA, marked by the active participation of Inna Volkova, member of the ALDA Governing Board; Dzenana Dedic, the Founder and Director of the Local Democracy Agency Mostar; and Anastasia Buslaieva from the Ukraine Task Force. The event, titled “Creating Change for Successful EU Enlargement – How Can We Work Together for a Sustainable, Resilient, and Stable Transition in Ukraine and Beyond?” served as a crucial platform to underscore the importance of expanding the network of Local Democracy Agencies (LDAs) in Ukraine.

This gathering, which took place in Wien (Austria), emphasised the critical role that LDAs play in fostering local governance and community development. By advocating for their expansion, guided by the comprehensive strategy laid out in the ALDA Flagship in Ukraine, ALDA aims to empower more communities, fortify democratic processes, and promote a smarter, greener, and more inclusive recovery. This initiative highlights ALDA’s dedication to ensuring local voices are heard and democratic governance is deeply embedded in Ukrainian society.

A key focus of ALDA’s participation was advocating for urgent projects that support the rehabilitation of children of military personnel and internally displaced children (IDPs). Ms. Volkova and Ms. Buslaieva presented the “Smart Family House” project in Odesa (Ukraine), which encompasses the “Little Winds” early childhood development centre, a centre for children and adolescents, and a shelter for women with children from IDP families. These programmes are immediate necessities, honoring the sacrifices of military families and providing essential psychological support to traumatised children. This initiative demonstrates ALDA’s commitment to promoting a stable and supportive community environment.

A notable moment of the day was when Stefan Lutgenau of Foster Europe (ALDA member) ceremonially presented a bell to LDA Mostar, designating Bosnia and Herzegovina as the host country for the 2025 event. 

13th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region

On the following day, June 20, 2024, during the 13th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region, the ALDA Team engaged in productive discussions with key stakeholders, including Ms. Alexandra Schantl from the KDZ Center for Public Administration Research. These discussions centered on capacity building for NGOs, a core aspect of ALDA’s mission. By enhancing the skills and knowledge of local NGOs, ALDA ensures these organisations are better equipped to address community needs and foster democratic governance.

Additionally, the ALDA Representatives had a fruitful meeting with Mr. Peter Polajnar, Deputy Head of the Ukraine Service Economic and Sectoral Policies Unit, to discuss how Ukraine can secure more EU project funding. They also connected with Olena Kulykova, Coordinator for Ukrainian Community Relations from Mütter-und Familienzentren in Bayern e.V., to explore collaborative opportunities to support Ukrainian mothers.

These efforts highlight ALDA’s role in building resilient civil societies and promoting effective local democracy across the Danube region.