ALDA’s work in Armenia
In October 2011, the Local Democracy Agency Armenia was opened in Gyumri. This was the culmination of a long process of building support and finding partners for the Local Democracy Agency. The opening of LDA Armenia is a result of ALDA’s priority to strengthen its role in South Caucasus. The LDA Armenia is working to strengthen local democracy and citizen participation as well as strengthen the relationship between other countries in Europe and Armenia. The official partners of LDA Armenia are the city of Gyumri, the NGO Asparez and Shirak from Gyumri and the Urban Foundation Armenia. As for international support, the Region Rhone Alpes (France) is the leader and the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region (Italy) participate as well.
Further expanding the LDA network to Armenia created the necessary infrastructure on the ground to work on the development of local self-government and most importantly show a good example of cooperation between local authorities, civil society and citizens. The LDA attracts attention from other European municipalities to the region and will ensure an ongoing focus on the issue of cooperation between local authorities and citizens. It is essential for the credibility and sustainability of the LDAs that they operate autonomously and ALDA will endeavour to create a structure and foundation for the LDA that allow it to operate autonomously.
In addition to the work on the LDA, ALDA has also been implementing specific projects with Armenian partners. In 2010 ALDA organised two study tours for Armenian officials. One study tour to Paris took place in July 2010 for a parliamentary delegation from Armenia that studied the French legislative system. In August 2010 a study tour to Latvia was organised for a group of governmental and non governmental representatives from Armenia who were introduced to the Latvian political system and the role of civil society in policy making. The LDAs has been involved in activities of awareness and capacity building for citizens and local governance.