Promoting Active European Citizenship – Environment component

On 29th September, ALDA, represented by Mr. Mattia Brazzale, Assistant to the Secretary General’s office attended the conference: “Closing the loop in the Circular Economy: contributions and expectations from Europe’s local and regional authorities”, organised in Brussels by the Committee of the Regions.

The conference looked at what meant for LRAs to act as key players in the circular economy, and the Committee of the Regions sought to contribute to European Commission’s new circular economy roadmap, proposing some contribution in the field of waste management. Europe’s commitment for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth requires a more comprehensive and holistic approach in the field of environment protection field. Waste management was identified as one of the most important issues to closing the loop and ultimately reaching the goal of a circular and self-sustainable economy.

Amongst the speakers of the conference, there were Mrs Sirpa Hertell, Vice-chair of the CoR Commission for Environment (ENVE), Mr. Michel Lebrun, former President of the Committee of the Region and former Minister of Wallonia Region (Belgium), Mr. Cuno van Geet, Senior Policy Advisor of Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, as well as other representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the CEMR, and other international networks working on the topic.

As far as waste management is concerned, local authorities have a key role to play because of the link they represent between citizens and producers. It does not concern only the collection of municipal waste, but also the production and consumption of goods. In these fields, cooperation and exchange of experience and best practices among LAs represent a central keystone and can assume a major role to tackling the challenges that different communities are nowadays facing.

The EU-funded project WE-NET: Working for ENvironmentally Educated Towns heads precisely in this direction. The initiative is supported by the Europe for Citizens programme and will bring together and establish a network of municipalities from across Europe in order to work together on a common goal, facilitating knowledge exchange and building up a basis of further communication and cooperation on waste management and recycling. The first international event will be taking place in Thiene (Vicenza), Italy from 12th to 15th November 2015.

On 29th September, ALDA, represented by Mr. Mattia Brazzale, Assistant to the Secretary General’s office attended the conference: “Closing the loop in the Circular Economy: contributions and expectations from Europe’s local and regional authorities”, organised in Brussels by the Committee of the Regions.

The conference looked at what meant for LRAs to act as key players in the circular economy, and the Committee of the Regions sought to contribute to European Commission’s new circular economy roadmap, proposing some contribution in the field of waste management. Europe’s commitment for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth requires a more comprehensive and holistic approach in the field of environment protection field. Waste management was identified as one of the most important issues to closing the loop and ultimately reaching the goal of a circular and self-sustainable economy.

Amongst the speakers of the conference, there were Mrs Sirpa Hertell, Vice-chair of the CoR Commission for Environment (ENVE), Mr. Michel Lebrun, former President of the Committee of the Region and former Minister of Wallonia Region (Belgium), Mr. Cuno van Geet, Senior Policy Advisor of Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, as well as other representatives of the European Commission, the European Parliament, the CEMR, and other international networks working on the topic.

As far as waste management is concerned, local authorities have a key role to play because of the link they represent between citizens and producers. It does not concern only the collection of municipal waste, but also the production and consumption of goods. In these fields, cooperation and exchange of experience and best practices among LAs represent a central keystone and can assume a major role to tackling the challenges that different communities are nowadays facing.

The EU-funded project WE-NET: Working for ENvironmentally Educated Towns heads precisely in this direction. The initiative is supported by the Europe for Citizens programme and will bring together and establish a network of municipalities from across Europe in order to work together on a common goal, facilitating knowledge exchange and building up a basis of further communication and cooperation on waste management and recycling. The first international event will be taking place in Thiene (Vicenza), Italy from 12th to 15th November 2015.


Sustainable Development Summit: call for a strong international commitment for development

From 25-27 September all the eyes were on the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, taking place in New York (USA), where Heads of State and Government meet in order to formally adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Европейское 17 global goals that were adopted during this “historic moment” target many areas, including poverty, health, climate change, institution building, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“The true test of commitment to Agenda 2030 will be implementation. We need action from everyone, everywhere. Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are our guide. They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success” affirmed the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

The Summit, which was chaired by the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, was kicked off by the speech of Pope Francis, which was followed by a number of interventions by Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, Malala and Heads of State and Government.

Полезные ссылки:

From 25-27 September all the eyes were on the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit, taking place in New York (USA), where Heads of State and Government meet in order to formally adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Европейское 17 global goals that were adopted during this “historic moment” target many areas, including poverty, health, climate change, institution building, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“The true test of commitment to Agenda 2030 will be implementation. We need action from everyone, everywhere. Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are our guide. They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success” affirmed the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

The Summit, which was chaired by the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, was kicked off by the speech of Pope Francis, which was followed by a number of interventions by Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, Malala and Heads of State and Government.

Полезные ссылки:


Participative democracy: Time to deepen democracy for a global responsibility and citizenship

Complexity, speed and interactivity are the features of our time. Europe is at the centre of difficult processes these days with the crisis of migrants, internal economic struggle and turmoil and wars at its border. Despite the difficulties that we all encounter in finding sound and sustainable solutions to big societal challenges, it is not with less democracy but rather with more deep and intense democratic systems that we will find our way through.

Democracy represents the possibility for all different parts of our community to be represented in the decision and it is planning a peaceful way to change leadership and direction. No other systems will offer us the same possibility. Only by strengthening the potentialities of democracy, we would give a positive sense to a modern interactive and constantly changing setting.

Complexity, speed and interactivity are the features of our time. Europe is at the centre of difficult processes these days with the crisis of migrants, internal economic struggle and turmoil and wars at its border. Despite the difficulties that we all encounter in finding sound and sustainable solutions to big societal challenges, it is not with less democracy but rather with more deep and intense democratic systems that we will find our way through.

Democracy represents the possibility for all different parts of our community to be represented in the decision and it is planning a peaceful way to change leadership and direction. No other systems will offer us the same possibility. Only by strengthening the potentialities of democracy, we would give a positive sense to a modern interactive and constantly changing setting.


Volunteering action for the migrants in the Balkan route in Subotica, Serbia

On 22nd September, a group of 10 young LDAs volunteers from the Balkan region, all participants of the Regional Youth Forum in Subotica, organized, in collaboration with the Municipality of Subotica, a volunteering action in Subotica, Serbia. They visited the abandoned old brick factory, the temporary settlement for migrants located in Subotica, with the aim of delivering packages of humanitarian aid.

The young volunteers wanted to give their contribution in this difficult situation, trying to help the people in need. Through conversation with the migrant groups the volunteers shared their compassion with the refugees, deeply affected by their stories and experiences. This action in turn motivated the youngsters to participate even more in volunteering actions, in order to provide help to people who need it the most.

The volunteering action was organized in coordination with the Red Cross, the UNHCR delegation and local police, as part of their daily visits and aid delivery.

On 22nd September, a group of 10 young LDAs volunteers from the Balkan region, all participants of the Regional Youth Forum in Subotica, organized, in collaboration with the Municipality of Subotica, a volunteering action in Subotica, Serbia. They visited the abandoned old brick factory, the temporary settlement for migrants located in Subotica, with the aim of delivering packages of humanitarian aid.

The young volunteers wanted to give their contribution in this difficult situation, trying to help the people in need. Through conversation with the migrant groups the volunteers shared their compassion with the refugees, deeply affected by their stories and experiences. This action in turn motivated the youngsters to participate even more in volunteering actions, in order to provide help to people who need it the most.

The volunteering action was organized in coordination with the Red Cross, the UNHCR delegation and local police, as part of their daily visits and aid delivery.


Towards Finland: the experience of Laura Ligazzolo, former intern of ALDA, among Finnish students

In the framework of the project Global.me, and in cooperation with the University of Oulu, some Finnish high schools offer to a couple of foreign students the possibility to hold seminars on citizenship education to the students of the city. Laura Ligazzolo, former intern in the Resourse and Project Development Unit of ALDA, was selected for the project and is now ready to leave for Finland.

“Finland boasts one of the best school systems in the world and it is globally recognized for its democratic model. Considering also that Finnish people have a strong sense of responsibility towards active citizenship, I think I will have the occasion not only to teach, but also to learn a lot from the context in which I will live and people I will meet”- said Laura.

The aim of the seminars is to raise young people’s awareness on issues that are relevant at the international level: the specific issues at the core of the project will be migration in Europe and the spreading of populisms also in Northern Europe, both as challenges for EU and European integration, the importance of political participation, active citizenship and intercultural dialogue.

“The internship in ALDA allowed me to further examine these topics from a practical point of view, but also from the side of projects and good practices, and taught me the importance of a bottom-up approach in order to answer effectively and efficiently to requirements and to turn challenges into opportunities. This is what I will try to convey with my seminars”.

Good luck from all of us, Laura!

In the framework of the project Global.me, and in cooperation with the University of Oulu, some Finnish high schools offer to a couple of foreign students the possibility to hold seminars on citizenship education to the students of the city. Laura Ligazzolo, former intern in the Resourse and Project Development Unit of ALDA, was selected for the project and is now ready to leave for Finland.

“Finland boasts one of the best school systems in the world and it is globally recognized for its democratic model. Considering also that Finnish people have a strong sense of responsibility towards active citizenship, I think I will have the occasion not only to teach, but also to learn a lot from the context in which I will live and people I will meet”- said Laura.

The aim of the seminars is to raise young people’s awareness on issues that are relevant at the international level: the specific issues at the core of the project will be migration in Europe and the spreading of populisms also in Northern Europe, both as challenges for EU and European integration, the importance of political participation, active citizenship and intercultural dialogue.

“The internship in ALDA allowed me to further examine these topics from a practical point of view, but also from the side of projects and good practices, and taught me the importance of a bottom-up approach in order to answer effectively and efficiently to requirements and to turn challenges into opportunities. This is what I will try to convey with my seminars”.

Good luck from all of us, Laura!


SumLab 2015: ALDA participates presenting the Citizen Journalists initiative

From 23rd to 25th September 2015, ALDA took part to the second edition of SumLab in Cesena, Italy, presenting the Citizen Journalists initiative as a strategy conceived to involve citizen participation in development issues through communication and journalism.

After the successful results achieved last year with the first edition in Matera, Italy, the SumLab also took place this year, focusing on the theme of “Cross-border Communication”. The 3-days seminar was characterized by presentations, lessons, workshops and contributions by communication officers and experts, sharing innovative techniques and methodologies used in the communication field, referring to the topic of the year.

Elena Debonis, Communication Officer of ALDA, took part to the seminar presenting the Citizen Journalists initiative as strategy developed in the framework of the LADDER project. Citizen Journalists is an initiative that aims at developing a network of people interested in Development Education and Raising Awareness, giving their contribution through communication and journalism. Participants cannot be experts in journalism and have to come from the 18 EU and 17 non-EU countries of LADDER’s consortium. After the selection of the Citizen Journalists, participants will attend a training on communication tools, drafting techniques, video reporting, as well as development issues. Once the network is ready, they will start drafting news and creating reports and interviews in their countries, at the local level, having an impact at global level. In fact, their outputs will be published and spread among ALDA and LADDER’s channels.

SumLab is a learning and knowledge network of EU communicators dealing with policies, both at the project and programme level. It focuses on practical learning, inviting high level experts and exchanging innovative experiences, with a people-based, bottom-up and non-institutional approach.

This initiative represents an important occasion to build a heterogeneous network of people sharing same interests that want to get involved in issues of global relevance. Furthermore, this opportunity is in line with ALDA’s mission of fostering citizen participation and including all citizens in the community life, but it also meets the DEAR policies of the EYD 2015 – the European Year for Development – flagship initiative of the EU for 2015, that aims at raising the awareness of citizens on development issues, informing them how the taxpayers’ money is spent by the EU with regards to development.

Полезные ссылки:
Citizen Journalists presentation (Prezi presentation)
LADDER website 

From 23rd to 25th September 2015, ALDA took part to the second edition of SumLab in Cesena, Italy, presenting the Citizen Journalists initiative as a strategy conceived to involve citizen participation in development issues through communication and journalism.

After the successful results achieved last year with the first edition in Matera, Italy, the SumLab also took place this year, focusing on the theme of “Cross-border Communication”. The 3-days seminar was characterized by presentations, lessons, workshops and contributions by communication officers and experts, sharing innovative techniques and methodologies used in the communication field, referring to the topic of the year.

Elena Debonis, Communication Officer of ALDA, took part to the seminar presenting the Citizen Journalists initiative as strategy developed in the framework of the LADDER project. Citizen Journalists is an initiative that aims at developing a network of people interested in Development Education and Raising Awareness, giving their contribution through communication and journalism. Participants cannot be experts in journalism and have to come from the 18 EU and 17 non-EU countries of LADDER’s consortium. After the selection of the Citizen Journalists, participants will attend a training on communication tools, drafting techniques, video reporting, as well as development issues. Once the network is ready, they will start drafting news and creating reports and interviews in their countries, at the local level, having an impact at global level. In fact, their outputs will be published and spread among ALDA and LADDER’s channels.

SumLab is a learning and knowledge network of EU communicators dealing with policies, both at the project and programme level. It focuses on practical learning, inviting high level experts and exchanging innovative experiences, with a people-based, bottom-up and non-institutional approach.

This initiative represents an important occasion to build a heterogeneous network of people sharing same interests that want to get involved in issues of global relevance. Furthermore, this opportunity is in line with ALDA’s mission of fostering citizen participation and including all citizens in the community life, but it also meets the DEAR policies of the EYD 2015 – the European Year for Development – flagship initiative of the EU for 2015, that aims at raising the awareness of citizens on development issues, informing them how the taxpayers’ money is spent by the EU with regards to development.

Полезные ссылки:
Citizen Journalists presentation (Prezi presentation)
LADDER website 


EuroBelarus presents CHOICE in Minsk and launches the call for applications under the re-granting scheme

On 22nd September in Minsk, EuroBelarus organised the first country-based presentation of the project in Belarus. The Belarusian partners shared the information and answered questions about the application process, which is open to the local organisations interested in promoting heritage-friendly living environment and engaging in dialogue on cultural policy.

The first stage of the application will run until the end of October. It is open to all the Belarusian civil society organisations active in the fields of local development and protection and preservation of culture heritage. The selected initiatives will benefit from organisational development and project design assistance ahead of the final call for submission in the second stage.
The project ‘CHOICE – Cultural Heritage: Opportunity for Improving Civic Engagement’ is funded by the European Union.
Полезные ссылки:
EuroBelarus website in русский и Belarusian
Pictures from this event

On 22nd September in Minsk, EuroBelarus organised the first country-based presentation of the project in Belarus. The Belarusian partners shared the information and answered questions about the application process, which is open to the local organisations interested in promoting heritage-friendly living environment and engaging in dialogue on cultural policy.

The first stage of the application will run until the end of October. It is open to all the Belarusian civil society organisations active in the fields of local development and protection and preservation of culture heritage. The selected initiatives will benefit from organisational development and project design assistance ahead of the final call for submission in the second stage.
The project ‘CHOICE – Cultural Heritage: Opportunity for Improving Civic Engagement’ is funded by the European Union.
Полезные ссылки:
EuroBelarus website in русский и Belarusian
Pictures from this event


Bridges of Expertise to Fight Gender Based Violence - closing conference in Nevsehir, Turkey

ALDA participated in preparatory activities and coordination of the closing conference of the project, which took place on 18th September 2015 in Nevsehir, whilst together with the lead partner Kapadokya Kadin Dayanisma Dernegi – Women’s Solidarity Association, а также University of Nevsehir and то Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto, in Slovenia, the project publication – guide was designed and its contents agreed. It will serve both as an opportunity to present the results of local survey most recently conducted in the municipalities included, as well as an overview of some good local practice of institutional and legislative framework regulating the prevention and protection of women victims of gender based violence. Furthermore, the publication titled: Bridges of expertise to fight gender based violence – overview of local practice in Turkey and EU MS, will be prepared for presentation of the project in the special event that will be organised in the Council of Europe, on 20/22 October during the 29th Session of the CoE Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.
The closing conference gathering some fifty participants – local and regional authorities, CSOs, development agencies, respective public institutions and centres for protection of women victims of violence, women’s associations from Nevsehir, Kirsehir. local government representatives from Zonguldak and Karadeniz Eregli. In the introductory session, the guest speakers, representatives of Nevsehir municipality, University of Nevsehir and EU partners reiterated the need for more coordinated efforts in tackling the violence against women, while neither traditional or patriarchal attitudes nor “modern” attitudes can serve as any excuse for any forms of violence against women. However, according the research conducted, lack of awareness and even more lack of recognition of the issue is among the key concerns in addressing the issue. Therefore, both the Guide and the presentation of the project in the Council of Europe aims to help raise awareness on efforts made at local level in Turkey in tackling the violence against women.
Entire project is addressing the issue of fighting gender based violence and the presentation of local practices in Turkey and EU partner countries in prevention and protection of women victims of domestic violence is at the same time an opportunity in support to announce and plan activities for the 2016 European Year of combating violence against women.
Please find more information about the project in our website 
PROJECT PARTNERS
The partners from Turkey include the NGO “Cappadocia Woman Solidarity Association” (as applicant), the University of Nevşehir (Women Research Center), two Municipalities from Cappadocia region (Nevşehir, Kirşehir), two Municipalities from the Black Sea region (Karadeniz Ereğli, Zonguldak) and Ahiler Development Agency engaged in five Turkish Provinces: Nevşehir, Kirşehir, Aksaray, Kırıkkale, Niğde).
EU partners are: Provincial Administration of Gorizia, the Municipalities of Monfalcone and Sacile, Italy, the “Centre for Social Assistance” of Municipality of Koper, the University of Koper and the NGO “Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto”, Slovenia, and the Association of Local Democracy Agency (ALDA), France.

ALDA participated in preparatory activities and coordination of the closing conference of the project, which took place on 18th September 2015 in Nevsehir, whilst together with the lead partner Kapadokya Kadin Dayanisma Dernegi – Women’s Solidarity Association, а также University of Nevsehir and то Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto, in Slovenia, the project publication – guide was designed and its contents agreed. It will serve both as an opportunity to present the results of local survey most recently conducted in the municipalities included, as well as an overview of some good local practice of institutional and legislative framework regulating the prevention and protection of women victims of gender based violence. Furthermore, the publication titled: Bridges of expertise to fight gender based violence – overview of local practice in Turkey and EU MS, will be prepared for presentation of the project in the special event that will be organised in the Council of Europe, on 20/22 October during the 29th Session of the CoE Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.
The closing conference gathering some fifty participants – local and regional authorities, CSOs, development agencies, respective public institutions and centres for protection of women victims of violence, women’s associations from Nevsehir, Kirsehir. local government representatives from Zonguldak and Karadeniz Eregli. In the introductory session, the guest speakers, representatives of Nevsehir municipality, University of Nevsehir and EU partners reiterated the need for more coordinated efforts in tackling the violence against women, while neither traditional or patriarchal attitudes nor “modern” attitudes can serve as any excuse for any forms of violence against women. However, according the research conducted, lack of awareness and even more lack of recognition of the issue is among the key concerns in addressing the issue. Therefore, both the Guide and the presentation of the project in the Council of Europe aims to help raise awareness on efforts made at local level in Turkey in tackling the violence against women.
Entire project is addressing the issue of fighting gender based violence and the presentation of local practices in Turkey and EU partner countries in prevention and protection of women victims of domestic violence is at the same time an opportunity in support to announce and plan activities for the 2016 European Year of combating violence against women.
Please find more information about the project in our website 
PROJECT PARTNERS
The partners from Turkey include the NGO “Cappadocia Woman Solidarity Association” (as applicant), the University of Nevşehir (Women Research Center), two Municipalities from Cappadocia region (Nevşehir, Kirşehir), two Municipalities from the Black Sea region (Karadeniz Ereğli, Zonguldak) and Ahiler Development Agency engaged in five Turkish Provinces: Nevşehir, Kirşehir, Aksaray, Kırıkkale, Niğde).
EU partners are: Provincial Administration of Gorizia, the Municipalities of Monfalcone and Sacile, Italy, the “Centre for Social Assistance” of Municipality of Koper, the University of Koper and the NGO “Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo Mesto”, Slovenia, and the Association of Local Democracy Agency (ALDA), France.


ALDA participates in the EUROCITIES Working Group on the Eastern Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement

On Thursday 24th September, our colleague Ela Horoszko, Project Manager and Eastern Partnership Coordinator, joined the Brussels meeting of the EUROCITIES Working Group on the Eastern Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and Enlargement.

The meeting was an opportunity to meet the group members coming from the municipalities in Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Poland, Czech Republic and Germany but also to discuss the EPAN’s Group of CONCORD, of which ALDA is a chair, submission to the ENP review consultation, as well as sharing ALDA’s practical experience in the Eastern Partnership countries in that regard.

On Thursday 24th September, our colleague Ela Horoszko, Project Manager and Eastern Partnership Coordinator, joined the Brussels meeting of the EUROCITIES Working Group on the Eastern Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and Enlargement.

The meeting was an opportunity to meet the group members coming from the municipalities in Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Poland, Czech Republic and Germany but also to discuss the EPAN’s Group of CONCORD, of which ALDA is a chair, submission to the ENP review consultation, as well as sharing ALDA’s practical experience in the Eastern Partnership countries in that regard.


Promoting Active European Citizenship – ALDA at the plenary meeting of Civil Society Europe

On 23rd September, ALDA joined the plenary meeting of Civil Society Europe, the newly established platform gathering together European thematic networks representing the civil society level in Europe. The event was a key step in the institutionalisation process of the platform and in its performance to facilitating and enabling horizontal and vertical dialogue between European civil society and policy makers.
Members agreed on developing three thematic working groups where members’ expertise could be brought in:
1. Recognition of CSOs aimed at promoting and strengthening the political recognition of organised civil society;
2. Civic Space and Fundamental Rights with the objective to draw attention to limits on civic space throughout Europe, to promote and call for actions by the EU institutions and to provide support for civil society on the ground in defending civil rights and fundamental rights;
3. Demographic and Social Challenges related to European ageing society.
As one of the main stakeholders in the European Year of Citizens Alliance 2013, ALDA confirmed its strong support and commitment to the development of the platform by bringing in its 15 year expertise in the field of active citizenship and good governance at local level. ALDA being a member of the European Year for Development Alliance, it will also contribute to facilitate joint actions between the two initiatives.
Find more about Civil Society Europe in the website

On 23rd September, ALDA joined the plenary meeting of Civil Society Europe, the newly established platform gathering together European thematic networks representing the civil society level in Europe. The event was a key step in the institutionalisation process of the platform and in its performance to facilitating and enabling horizontal and vertical dialogue between European civil society and policymakers.
Members agreed on developing three thematic working groups where members’ expertise could be brought in:
1. Recognition of CSOs aimed at promoting and strengthening the political recognition of organised civil society;
2. Civic Space and Fundamental Rights with the objective to draw attention to limits on civic space throughout Europe, to promote and call for actions by the EU institutions and to provide support for civil society on the ground in defending civil rights and fundamental rights;
3. Demographic and Social Challenges related to European ageing society.
As one of the main stakeholders in the European Year of Citizens Alliance 2013, ALDA confirmed its strong support and commitment to the development of the platform by bringing in its 15 year expertise in the field of active citizenship and good governance at local level. ALDA being a member of the European Year for Development Alliance, it will also contribute to facilitate joint actions between the two initiatives.
Find more about Civil Society Europe in the website