ALDA’s WORK IN SOUTH CAUCASUS
In 2003 ALDA’s Governing board, supported by the Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, decided to open the programme of LDAs to regions outside the Balkans. This led to the opening of a Local Democracy Agency in Kutaisi, Georgia, in 2006, and in 2011 a Local Democracy Agency was opened in Gyumri, Armenia. During the past years ALDA has expanded its work towards the opening of an LDA in Azerbaijan to ensure the presence of LDAs in all the three countries in South Caucasus.
In line with the work of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the Corleap (Committee of the Regions) as well as the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum , the extension of the LDA network to all countries in South Caucasus is an important strategic objective, because it will create the necessary infrastructure to work on the development of local self-government and most importantly show concrete examples of cooperation between local authorities, civil society and citizens. As mentioned above, ALDA has also been the promoter, with the Congress, of a regional approach linking local and regional authorities and their representative associations.
ALDA has established relationships with the Association of Municipalities in both Georgia and Armenia and is currently also trying to promote stronger contacts with the three Associations of Municipalities in Azerbaijan. For the long-term development of local-self government, the associations are important partners and the future successful development of local self-government will also depend on how efficient and competent the associations are in promoting these goals. In addition to working with the associations ALDA has also build good relations with a number of local NGOs and International organisations working to promote local self-government and citizen participation in South Caucasus.