Local Democracy will Save Democracy – ALDA Festival and General Assembly 2023

Apr 04, 2023

Good governance

Representing one of the most important events of the whole year, next June 2023 the ALDA General Assembly will take place in Etterbeek, Brussels (BE).

More than a General Assembly, the 3-day event will be a real Festival, where colleagues, members and partners of ALDA will come together for fruitful exchanges on key EU priorities, sharing knowledge and best practices on themes such as migration, inclusion, gender equality, environmental protection, sustainable development and human rights – just to name a few – and get to know each other, thus strengthening the belonging to the network and take a more active role in the Association.

The event will include participants from the EU countries but also from the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Ukraine and from the Maghreb and other African countries. The General Assembly is expected to be open by the Commissioner, Vice President of the Commission, Mrs. Dubravka Šuica, while also the President of the Congress, Mr. Leen Verbeek is invited (tbc). Other key participants from the European Commission and the European Parliament will be present as well.

The ALDA Festival will occur on June 7-8-9, 2023 at the premises of Etterbeek City Hall (member of ALDA), in Brussels and will see more than ever the members at the core.

Around the message that “Local Democracy will save Democracy”, the whole event will be intended to address issues of general and global interest, but which have a strong impact in our daily lives and on a local level. All Festival’s events will be focusing on the role of local democracy, participatory mechanisms and citizens engagement in making communities more resilient and stronger to overcome multiple crises.

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Indeed, conferences, round tables and workshops will be organized with the participation of high-level panelists, in order to stimulate discussion and establish a concrete and constructive dialogue with the Institutions. Among them, representatives of the European Commission and the Council of Europe will be present during the General Assembly of ALDA. Gilles Pelayo, Head of Unit, European Commission, CERV Programme, will be with us and our members for a round-table on youth empowerment and education and Chiara Adamo, DG Intpa – Gender, human rights and democratic governance, Deputy Director, will take part and provide key highlights in the discussion on Local Democracy in the Middle East and Africa region.

As proof that local democracy will save democracy, 2023 marks an important milestone for ALDA and the LDAs network, being the 30th anniversary since the creation of the first LDA in the Western Balkans. Thus, year after year the LDAs have worked to reconstruct a more inclusive and cohesive society, in the aftermath of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Today, 30 years later, LDAs proved to be effective tools to promote citizens engagement and decentralised cooperation at the local level, to the point that the network itself has expanded from a couple of Agencies in the early 1990s to 16 today. The ALDA Festival will thus see a dedicated moment to celebrate this important milestone and to open the discussion to future further development of the Network, analysis challenges and opportunities.

Another important session will focus on the situation of the Local Democracy Agencies in Ukraine, as a further occasion to remember that ALDA’s engagement to support Ukrainian civil society goes on and takes ever greater dimensions, with new LDAs to be opened soon in the country. A relevant delegation is expected from Ukraine but also from partners’ cities.

All ALDA members, partners and interested stakeholders are warmly invited to participate and contribute to the Festival.
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