“Co-creating rural futures”: ALDA contributes to the European Union Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas

The two-day conference, entitled “Co-creating rural futures”, marked a key moment to present the work undertaken by the SHERPA project partners during 2022, and discuss their contribution to the European Union Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas (LTVRA).

More on a technical note, the conference focused on the role of Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs) and multi-stakeholder governance in delivering the LTVRA and reflected upon the sustainability of SHERPA MAPs after the project’s end. Yet, how far can citizens contribute on that, and how the society can benefit from it?


Bringing the perspective of a Civil Society Organisation especially in the breakout session “Governance and membership of the Multi-Actor Platforms" and in the rural area policy sector


Дидье Дюбуассе (External Observer of ALDA and representative of the GAL Pays Vichy Auvergne) and Валерия Фантини (project manager and head of the “environment” hub in ALDA) attended the conference, thus bringing the perspective of a Civil Society Organisation especially in the breakout session “Governance and membership of the Multi-Actor Platforms”. Hence, governance plays the main role within the last MAPs cycle (empowering rural areas in multi-level governance processes), underlining the added value of ALDA in contributing to this specific aspect of the project.

Finally, the annual conference has been the occasion to present highlights from the SHERPA and MAPs Position Papers on the social dimension of rural areas, sustainable and resilient value chains, climate change and land use, and digitalisation.

 

***
The 3rd Annual Conference “CO-CREATING RURAL FUTURES” of the SHERPA project took place in Montpellier (France) on 31 January and 1 February 2023

About the project SHERPA:

Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors (SHERPA) is a four-year project (2019-2023) with 17 partners funded by the Horizon 2020 programme. It aims to gather knowledge that contributes to the formulation of recommendations for future policies relevant to EU rural areas, by creating a science-society-policy interface which provides a hub for knowledge and policy.

For more information: Веб-сайт, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram , Youtube


500

500 projects to empower citizens and contribute to the creation of a democratic society in Europe and beyond

500

From civic engagement to migration; from environment to youth and social inclusion: ALDA crossed the line of 500 projects implemented!

Words are not enough to express this important achievement, which is the demonstration of the ALDA’s fruitful first insight: believe in the power of citizens as change makers and democracy promoters. Changing people’s lives for better is the goal behind every single action; thus, easing the conditions in which people are living in, and supporting a democratic outcome of every initiative.

Yet, the world has posed several challenges since the very beginning: fundamental values are at stake and extreme behaviours are spreading all around. What can we do? How can Civil Society Organisation act and counterbalance this anti-democratic drift?


There is a necessity of investing in the democratic culture, in the participatory mechanisms and in the empowerment of future generations: ALDA’s 500 projects do that


By localising actions, by engaging with local communities and by creating a space of dialogue among institutions and citizens. There is a necessity of investing in the democratic cultureв participatory mechanisms and in the empowerment of future generations: ALDA’s 500 projects do that.

On the one hand, having a consortium of different stakeholders within each project favours an intercultural exchange and cooperation; on the other, it increases mutual knowledge and the sense of community, thus encouraging the development of a collective approach to common matters.

With its projects, ALDA is addressing the above-mentions issues through decentralised cooperation and participatory mechanisms, enabling people with new tools to react and face problems. The Rude Awakening project, for example, developed an interactive videogame taking place during the WWI. Aimed at raising awareness on European historical and cultural heritage, while stressing new educational and emotional perspective on war and peace, through this output the project not only stimulate the reflection on the present situation, but also it firmly underlines the importance of peace and the necessity of its safeguard.

More on a scientific note, but still having the well-being of people at the centre and still focusing on the necessity of local community, the LIFE Beware project addresses climate change and the consequence of it in the urban and rural areas. It calls for experts and CSOs to collaborate to reach a common strategy for climate adaptation, especially on flooding risks.

 Last but not least, leading an international membership, made of 300 realities, and being in its turn member of several global network, all ALDA’s projects have a world-wide ranging, and meet one or more Цели устойчивого развития, thus localising the latter and cooperating to the achievements of the UN AGENDA 2030

 

***
More on examples among the 500 projects:

  • Youth Empowerment and Education Thematic: H.E.Y!
  • Digital and innovation Thematic: P-CUBE
  • Gender, Inclusion and Human Rights Thematic: STAND-UP
  • Migration Thematic: EPIC

Watch the video of the projects implemented within the CERV (Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme), and see the impact of them!


CIVEX

ALDA at the 16th CIVEX Commission: where EU priority issues meet civil society

Possibly defined as the operational branch of the Комитет регионов (CoR), the Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX) oversees the coordination of the institutional policies on local democracy, future of Europe and law-making; just to name a few.

Taking place on 1° February 2023 and chaired by Mr. Bianco; the 16. CIVEX Commission fully addresses the Eastern Partnership, with special reference to the local and regional perspective; together with the Enlargement Package and the Media Freedom Act while discussing the involvement of local and regional Authorities to strengthen the European Democracy.


Being the CIVEX addressed to European civil society actors, ALDA is a key player in the discussion, representing in turn a network of 300 stakeholders


The latter represents a key milestone in the conduct of ALDA, stressing once again the crucial position of the Association: bridging people and networking with institution to achieve a common goal: building a democratic society in Europe and beyond.

 Thus, in light of a long-lasting partnership and in line with the mission of ALDA, our Secretary General Antonella Valmorbida was present at the CIVEX Commission. Indeed, being the CIVEX addressed to European civil society actors, from local and regional authorities to NGOs and civil society organisations, ALDA represents a key player in the discussion, representing in turn a network of 300 stakeholders among local authorities and associations across the Enlarged Europe.

 On this note, Ms. Александра Дулькевич,, Mayor of Gdanks (Poland) and member of ALDA, was also present as CIVEX as Chair of the CoR Working Group on Ukraine, underlying in her speech the essential role of ALDA as a change maker, driving policies into actions.

Overall, considering the multiple stimuli and challenges that Europe is now facing, this 16. CIVEX Commission represents a high moment within ALDA’s agenda, allowing the Association to further increase its expertise and addressing its activities to meet the European priorities as well as the civil society necessitates.


SMELT

SMELT Final Conference: the conclusion of a path characterised by professionalism, humanity and empathy

The journey of the SMELT project – Skilling Marginalised people to Enter the Labour markeT, started back in 2020, came to an end.

After two years of hard work, on January 16, 2023, the Final Conference of the project took place in Schio (Italy) within the framework of the fifth and last Transnational Partners Meeting.

During the Final Conference, the project partners presented to the audience, composed of Local Authorities, Civil Society Organisations, Associations and professionals working in the field of social inclusion, the achievements and results of the project.

After a brief but in-depth introduction made by Cooperativa Samarcanda Onlus, leader of the project, the three Intellectual Outputs were showcased.

The first one led to the creation of a manual, so-called ‘Easy Handbook', aimed at bringing marginalised people closer to the labour market. The Easy Handbook is composed of two different parts, one addressed to operators/staff working in NGOs, VET Institutions or other entities entitled of delivering the training to facilitate access to the labour market of vulnerable groups, and another part directly targeting vulnerable people.


Despite the formal end of the SMELT project, the tools achieved by its implementation are timeless


The second Intellectual Output resulted in the production of a ‘Training Manual’, a guide that includes basic knowledge on how to look for a job in the welding sector. It contains the labour regulatory frameworks of the countries involved in the project, it explores the different steps foreseen during the application procedure (e.g. how to write a CV, how to manage an interview etc.) and the soft skills needed to succeed in the recruitment process.

Finally, the partners presented the Intellectual Output 3, a collection of projects addressed to the ‘people on the move’ (refugees, migrants etc.).

Each partner conducted this third and last phase in a very different way, according to the tools and expertise at their disposal. During the Final Conference, the prototypes of Cooperativa Samarcanda, which conducted a Hackathon with more than 50 participants, were showcased.

The Final Conference represented a great conclusion for a successful project which exceeded the expectations of the partners, who not only shared professionalism и good practices , но и humanity и empathy, values that characterised SMELT from the beginning to the very end.

The project partners will continue, with their daily work, promoting the insertion of vulnerable people into the society, through employment and other means. Despite the formal end of the project, the tools achieved by its implementation are timeless.


Staff

This is us: commitment, awareness and teamwork. ALDA Staff Meeting 2023

Staff

Starting from the local to promote and encourage democratic development, while placing citizens and members at the center. This was the guiding light for the ALDA Staff Meeting 2023!

Hence, from 24 to 26 January 2023, ALDA colleagues met in Vicenza, for three-days full immersion discussing together the milestone of the Association, getting to know each other better, and strengthening the sense of community.

From North Macedonia to Tunisia, from Belgium to Moldova via France and Italy: our heterogeneous and intercultural team of 50 people seized the occasion to see each other again, and as stressed by Abdelaziz BouslehHead of the Tunis Office “despite the distance, it is the best opportunity to feel the scope of the activities and the crucial effort behind”. Exactly this: behind the scenes, ALDA is more than an Association: it is people, it is ideas and commitment. It is a one single team that shares together values and energy to make a change, to act locally while thinking globally.

Thus, as also recalled by На первой панели, our Генеральный секретарь, it is about “working in concert with members, with partners to promote a sustainable agenda, which aims to give impetus to initiatives with a broad European, Eastern Neighborhood, Balkan and Mediterranean scope”.


Staff Meeting 2023: working in concert with members, with partners to promote a sustainable agenda


Aiming at engaging in such a wide area represents, to some extent, the expertise of ALDA on decentralised cooperation, while stimulating citizens’ engagement for a sustainable and locally developed democracy. Similarly, being active in different areas allow the Association to continuously implement its mission, starting from the various necessities that each community is facing. Furthermore, thanks to its partnership extended in more than 40 countries, ALDA has been able to empower realities to express themselves and concretize essential projects, encouraging a collaboration with local authorities, as also explained by Maddalena Alberti, from the Association of LDA Zavidovici.

Stimulated by several exchanges with partners and stakeholders, working in unison to put into practice both the guidelines of the European Union and the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, different Thematic Hubs have been designed to maximize the impact on specific areas: be they – environment, youth, inclusion and gender issues together with migration. The latter was also the core aspect of the speech delivered by Андреа Рильево, representative of the ALDA Governing Board. Thus, the Association not only has already implemented a series of initiatives targeting the phenomenon, but it is also working on a specific agenda, fully dedicated to migration.

To conclude on a positive note, a very first outcome of this new approach based in hubs, is already available: the Gender, Equality and Anti-Discrimination Policy has been released and presented during the staff meeting. ALDA will be in first line to make sure that the policy will be followed, and it will work together with members and stakeholders to further progress on this topic.

We thank every colleague who joined the meeting, together we can reach the impossible! Happy “Staff Meeting 2023” everyone!


PERCEPTIONS

Восприятие Европы: голоса и ожидания мигрантов

19 и 20 января в Болонье, Италия, состоялся заключительный симпозиум проекта «ВОСПРИЯТИЯ – Понимание влияния нарративов и восприятий Европы на миграцию и предоставление практик, инструментов и руководств для практиков». Партнеры встретились, чтобы обсудить результаты, достигнутые за последние три с половиной года полевых исследований и разработок.

Цель проекта состояла в том, чтобы изучить, как видят Европу и Европейский Союз люди, которые мигрировали или собираются туда мигрировать. В ходе проведенного исследования было изучено, какие представления и образы Европы существуют у мигрантов, беженцев и лиц, ищущих убежища, как они формируются, соответствуют ли реальности и какую роль играют в принятии миграционных решений. В рамках проекта также изучалось, как поток информации может быть искажен, и были созданы наборы творческих и новаторских мер для противодействия искаженной информации с учетом социальных, общественных и структурных аспектов.


Целью проекта было исследовать различные представления о Европе, а также проблемы, возникающие, когда ожидания и реальность не совпадают


Заключительное мероприятие проекта было открыто для широкой публики и собрало вместе политиков, ученых, сотрудников правоохранительных органов, мигрантов, лиц, ищущих убежища, НПО, международные организации и организации гражданского общества, чтобы обсудить результаты проекта и будущие возможности для исследований и практики.

В первый день конференции у участников была возможность поделиться своими взглядами и испытать материалы и ресурсы, разработанные в ходе проекта. После поучительного круглого стола о знаниях и результатах восприятия у широкой публики была возможность посетить выставку ковров R.E.D, которая включала живое рисование и чтение стихов и завершила день.

С другой стороны, второй и последний день конференции были посвящены будущему Perceptions, подчеркивая, как результаты проекта открывают путь для новых практик и исследовательских возможностей для изучения в будущем.

Мероприятие завершилось приветствием членов команды Болонского университета, принимающей мероприятие, и показом фильма «Дистопия». Участники также имели возможность принять участие в «Болонском мигрантском туре», который состоялся во второй половине дня, после окончания конференции.

 

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SteDe

Erasmus+ Project “STeDe” flagged as good practice at European level

. Master course in Climate Change and Diversity: Sustainable Territorial Development (CCD- STeDe), an Erasmus+ Project, has been complimented for its successful implementation, creating a stable partnership network with real involvement of associated and industrial partners, which was also of a benefit for the students. 

ALDA has been a partner within the Master course CCD- STeDe since 2014, closely collaborating with University of Padova. 

CCD-STeDe is a world leading programme in the field of sustainable territorial development in the context of climate justice. This Master course is aimed at training researchers and professionals to support organisations acting in the territory and to draft sustainable development and climate adaptation policies for economic, social, environmental, international and intercultural management.


STeDe project scored 93/100 in the EACEA evaluation and is riconfirmed as good practice at EU level.


Thanks to its excellent work in the field of sustainable development, the University of Padova managed to influence and be a leader and to address most of the challenges of the European Higher Education Area, as stated by the EACEA.

The Joint master programme has been attractive, not only to the students, but also beneficial for all partners, as it increased their visibility and internationalisation.

What has been appreciated are also the innovative approaches, flexibility and adaptability shown during the pandemic period, in order to efficiently re-adapt the study programme to the sensitive period we lived in, thus showing the consortium a strong commitment toward the students.

This positive evaluation by the EACEA reflects the work and commitment of all partners to this project. 

On these positive notes, the new Erasmus Mundus Joint Master CCD-STeDe has opened the 1st call for applications: this is the only call with the possibility of being selected for an Erasmus Mundus scholarship!

 

The Master has four academic paths to choose from: 

  • Climate change, sustainability and development at Università degli Studi di Padova and Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar – Ecuador
  • Regional and Local Studies at University of Padova and Universidade da Madeira
  • Territorial Management at University of Padova and Université Joseph Ki-Zerbo
  • Environmental Management at University of Padova and University of Johannesburg

 

. deadline for the first round of applications is 10th March 2023.

Read about the programme and apply here


30

1993 – 2023: 30 лет местной демократии на Балканах

2023 год определенно начинается в атмосфере неопределенности из-за экономической и геополитической ситуации в Европе и в мире. С другой стороны, 2023 год также знаменует собой важную годовщину для ALDA, LDA и всей сет.

Pовно 30 лет назад все началось с создания первых LDA на Балканах.

Несмотря на то, что ALDA родилась в конце 90-х, наша работа и обязательства начались еще в 1993 году, когда по инициативе Совета Европы были созданы первые LDA с миссией поддержки гражданского общества и мирного сосуществования в бывшей Югославии после конфликта.

Самая первая местное агенство/LDA/ была основана в 1993 году в Суботице, Сербия, под названием Посольство местной демократии* (LDE) Суботица, вскоре за ней в том же году последовала LDE Осиек в Хорватии.

30 лет спустя ситуация коренным образом изменилась. Год за годом Агентства местной демократии доказали свою эффективность и в настоящее время представляют собой сеть из 16 LDA, разбросанных по Европейскому соседству, с 3 оперативными партнерами (ОП) в Хорватии.


Pовно 30 лет назад все началось с создания первых LDA на Балканах.


Таким образом, вместе с их миссией расширился и географический охват LDA. Сегодня LDA можно найти не только на Балканах, но и в других странах, но именно там мы сохранили в нашей повседневной деятельности память и суть долгого пути, через который мы прошли.

Таким образом, 2023 год будет отмечен серией мероприятий, направленных на празднование повседневной деятельности LDA и их делегатов, достижений ALDA и LDA на протяжении многих лет.

Публичные мероприятия будут организованы на всех Балканах, где все началось, — таким образом, наметив путь, напоминающий вехи развития нашей деятельности на Балканах и за их пределами.

Будет выпущено издание, которое в виде сборника анекдотов, фотографий и свидетельств напомнит историю наших первых 30 лет.

Будет снят документальный видеофильм, чтобы оживить самые важные моменты через образы мест и людей, которые оставили след в нашей истории.

Кульминацией годовщины станет Генеральная ассамблея ALDA, которая, вероятно, состоится в июне 2023 года (дополнительная информация появится в ближайшие месяцы!) с коллегами, членами и делегатами, чтобы вместе отпраздновать и поразмышлять о будущем развитии сети LDA.

Затем мы подойдем к концу года с важным событием в Страсбурге в октябре 2023 года, когда ALDA и LDA, как мы надеемся, будут присутствовать в здании Конгресса.

Это всего лишь веха богатого событиями 2023 года, когда в последующие недели и месяцы будет раскрыто множество других инициатив, направленных на празднование первых 30 лет нашей местной демократии на Балканах, с которой все началось и по сей день... и кто знает, сколько еще эволюций впереди!

Да начнётся Юбилей!

_______

*Только в 1998 году LDA стали называться так, как мы их знаем сегодня, превратившись из посольств местной демократии в агентства местной демократии.

Ссылка на отчет LDA о деятельности за все годы

 

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Barcelona

Barcelona awarded as the very first European Capital of Democracy

Innovative projects and initiatives made Barcelona becoming the very first European Capital of Democracy (ECoD), standing on the highest step of the podium before Brussels and Braga.

“Decidim”, the digital citizen participation platform, developed already in 2016; and “Superblock” which aims at transforming daily city life, decreasing the usage of cars caught the attention of the jury, allowing the city to be nominated, in 18 January 2023,  the first winner of this initiative.


"Participation is part of their DNA" - Ms. Valmorbida at the award ceremony in Barcelona


“We loved the projects and were excited to discuss about them all: They aim to include the general population, minority groups, and disadvantaged citizens. It sometimes seems that participation is even part of their DNA. Co-creation, co-production, and inclusion of other sectors are embedded and welcomed by all stakeholders we spoke to” stated Ms. Valmorbida – ALDA Secretary General and ECoD Chair of the Jury.

Barcelona will now deliver a full year programme, from September 2023 to September 2014, to further strengthen democracy in Europe; while other cities can apply to become the next Capital of Democracy

***
Read Ms. Valmorbida full speech here


partner

Члены как ключевые партнеры в реализации цифрового перехода на местном уровне

Генеральный секретарь ALDA Антонелла Вальморбида вместе с коллегами находилась в Брюсселе, чтобы встретиться с муниципалитетом Эттербека, чтобы возобновить стратегическое партнерство, установленное в 2017 году и направленное на укрепление связей между ассоциацией и муниципалитетом, особенно в сфере участия граждан.

Эта встреча произошла в очень своевременный момент, так как ALDA только что получила известие о том, что мы выиграли проект Erasmus+ в партнерстве с Etterbeek под названием MEDIUM (Муниципалитеты, экспериментирующие с цифровыми инновациями, повышением квалификации и метавселенной).

Цель состоит в том, чтобы поддержать цифровой переход государственного сектора, обучая использованию виртуальной реальности и метавселенной для повышения доступности государственных услуг.


ALDA поддерживает цифровой переход на местном уровне в соответствии с рекомендациями ЕС 


На встрече присутствовали Давид Дюбуа, глава кабинета мэра, Мари-Шарлотта Хельденберг, отвечающая за участие граждан, и Жан-Франсуа Мальжан, руководитель проектов.

Вместе с г-жой Вальморбида они обсудили возможное сотрудничество по приоритетам ALDA 2023, включая сотрудничество с местными агенствами в Украине, которые являются местными ассоциациями, объединяющими местные органы власти и ОГО, для продвижения проектов устойчивого развития и эффективного управления.

На местном уровне они сыграли важную роль в решении проблем войны и в сотрудничестве между гражданским обществом и муниципалитетами, обеспечивая усиление устойчивости.

В то же время, напоминая об успешном проекте APProach, г-жа Хельденберг отметила приверженность Эттербека с точки зрения участия граждан. Внедренная рука об руку с ALDA и партнерами по консорциуму, программа APProach расширила участие иностранцев в местной жизни, обеспечив, чтобы все граждане имели право голоса в процессе принятия решений на местном уровне. Следовательно, учитывая, что 49% жителей Эттербека не были бельгийцами, эта инициатива была ключевым действием для включения мобильных граждан ЕС.

Команда также была очень рада открыть для себя новое здание муниципалитета, за которое Эттербек получил награду за успехи в архитектуре; это естественное здание, и часть его отведена под социальное жилье.

 

Наконец, чтобы завершить на положительной ноте повестку дня встречи, другие обсуждавшиеся вопросы включали Генеральную ассамблею ALDA, которая состоится в июне 2023 года в Брюсселе, и возможные будущие мероприятия по повышению осведомленности о выборах в Европарламент. 

 

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