On 22 June 2022, ALDA together with Local Democracy Agencies gathered for the Conference “Supporting the Local Democracy Agencies in Ukraine” in Brussels, at Residence Palace.
At the core of the conference was an update on the situation on the ground in Ukraine, and the implementation of ALDA’s activities to support Ukrainian civilians and people in need.
The conference consisted of two panels. The first panel started with Bruno Julian Hamm – Pütt, Konrad Adenauer foundation Kyiv opening speech, stressing how important is “to support the European path, to show the economic future while supporting the Local Democracy Agencies in Ukraine”.
Similarly, Antonella Valmorbida, the Secretary-General of ALDA, presented the testimonies from Local Democracy Agencies in Ukraine, specifically in Mariupol and Dnipro. She also explained the methods undertaken by them in terms of the promotion of democracy as well as people’s engagement.
The Association will continue its work together with Local Democracy Agencies in Ukraine on activities to further promote local democracy
In addition, considering the historical and statutory bond among the Association and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Council of Europe (the Congress), the Svetislav Paunovic joined on behalf of the Congress, emphasizing in his speech that support of local governance in Ukraine and the cooperative relations between local and international governments are crucial in the reconstruction of democracy. Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, Mayor of Gdansk, President of CoR Working Group on Ukraine, was on the like mind, stressing the continuous support for the work and activities of the Agencies.
Moreover, before entering the second part of the conference, Tetiana Lomakina, Adviser-representative of the President of Ukraine on the barrier society issues and delegate of the Local Democracy Agency in Mariupol stressed: “there are three key points on which Ukraine is focusing now: the return of Ukrainian citizens back home; the preparation for the winter in order to ensure that people have a place to live; and work on the reconstruction work on damaged buildings”.
Moving on to the second session, both Local Democracy Agencies in Mariupol and Dnipro presented their work and new projects. Specifically, Anzhelika Pylypenko, the Delegate from Local Democracy Agency Dnipro, presented the “Phoenix” project. She explained that the aim of the project is to reactivate the work of the Dnipro office; consult internally displaced persons, including soldiers and families, and train civilians on how to save their lives in the time of active hostilities.
Further testimonies were shared by Olha Oliinyk, head of NGO “Ideas for People” and deputy head of the Secretariat of VOAOMS, while Inna Volkova, Councillor of Odesa Rayon Council explained the administrative system in Ukraine while sharing pilot projects on modular housing in Ukraine. Both speakers emphasised the will for future initiatives, cooperation and potential opening of the Local Democracy Agencies in Odesa and Vinnytsia.
Last but not least, LDA Mostar Delegate, Dzenana Dedic shared her experience and work of the Agency right after the Balkan war that she, together with other thousands of civilians, had to face. “Stay human!” she said, while remembering those terrible days.
Overall, ALDA has already proved its continuous commitment to helping and supporting Ukraine and Ukrainian citizens. The Association will continue its work together with Ukrainian Local Democracy Agencies on activities to promote local democracy further.