ALDA Secretary General, Antonella Valmorbida, was in Brussels with colleagues to meet the Municipality of Etterbeek, in order to relaunch the strategic partnership that was established in 2017 and aiming at strengthening the links between the association and the municipality, notably in the field of citizens participation.
This meeting occurred in a very timely moment as ALDA just received the news that we won an Erasmus+ project in partnership with Etterbeek, called MEDIUM (Municipalities Experimenting Digital Innovation, Upskilling and the Metaverse).
The goal is to support the public sector digital transition educating on the uses of virtual reality and the metaverse to improve accessibility to public services.
ALDA is supporting the digital transition at local level, through EU guidelines.
At the meeting David Dubois, the head of cabinet of the mayor, Marie-Charlotte Heldenbergh, in charge of citizens participation, and Jean-François Maljean, head of projects were present.
Together with Ms. Valmorbida, they discussed possible cooperation around ALDA 2023 priorities, including the collaboration with LDAs in Ukraine, which are locally registered associations, gathering local authorities and CSOs, to promote sustainable development projects and good governance.
At the local level, they have been instrumental in addressing the challenges of the war and in the cooperation between civil society and municipalities, providing strengthened resilience.
At the same time, recalling the successful APProach project, Ms. Heldenbergh pointed out at the commitment of Etterbeek in terms of citizens participation. Implemented hand in hand with ALDA and the consortium partners, APProach increased participation of foreigners in local life, ensuring that all citizens have a say in the local decision making process. Hence, considering that 49% of Etterbeek residents were non-Belgian this initiatives was a key actions for the inclusion of EU Mobile Citizens,
The team was also very happy to discover the new building of the municipality, for which Etterbeek received architectural success awards; it’s a natural building, and part of it is dedicated to social housing.
Finally, to conclude on a positive note the meeting agenda, other points discussed were ALDA General Assembly, which will take place in June 2023 in Brussels, and possible future activities to raise awareness about EP elections.