ALDA – Strengthening Local Governance in Europe and Neighboring Countries

aldaALDA, The Association of Local Democracy Agencies, is a non-governmental organization promoting good governance and citizen participation at the local level in Europe and neighboring countries. It was established in 1999 under the initiative of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. It is a member based organization, with 150 members (including local authorities, associations and non-governmental organisations) from more than 30 countries.

ALDA works in Europe, focusing on promoting Citizenship in Europe. This includes the Balkans, where activities focus on good governance, citizen participation, European integration and decentralisation.

“Most of the Local Democracy Agencies are located in the Western Balkans, which gives a natural focus on that area. But ALDA is also becoming more and more active in the European neighbourhood. In 2006 a Local Democracy Agency (LDA) was established in Kutaisi in Georgia and in 2011 a Local Democracy Agency was opened in Gyumri in Armenia. ALDA is also leading several other projects and developing partnerships in other European neighbourhood countries, such a Belarus, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.”

ALDA’s current featured projects fall into the following categories: Europe for Citizens/Youth in Action, Non-State Actors and Local Authorities, Decentralised Cooperation in Europe, and Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA).

Local Democracy Agencies and Operational Partners have been instrumental in countries such as Croatia. In 1992 the Congress of the Council of Europe established Local Democracy Agencies in the Western Balkans, to support and strengthen democracy, respect for human rights and further sustainable development. Now there are 10 active Local Democracy Agencies based in the Western Balkans and South Caucasus as well as 3 LDAs – Operational partners, based in Croatia. Three Local Democracy Agencies, based in the Croatian cities of Osijek, Sisak, and Verteneglio/Brtonigla, supported the integration of the country in Europe, and the milestone of its accession to the European Union in July 2013. Their activities aided integration by building trust, promoting citizen participation and European values, and strengthening local authorities. Following accession to the EU, these Agencies will continue to work in Croatia, which needs to consolidate the work of the local authorities and local governance.

ALDA’s regional strategies are focused in western Europe, the Western Balkans, the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), the Maghreb (Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia) and six Eastern Partnership countries (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). ALDA also has links to its individual country strategies throughout the region.

ALDA supports Citizens Initiatives (ECI): Article 11 of the Treaty of the European Union “introduces for the first time in the history of the EU the right to European Citizens to propose to the Commission a proposal legislation. A European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is an invitation to the European Commission to propose legislation on matters where the EU has competence to legislate.”

The contact info of the Local Democracy agencies can be found here.

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