Good governance and citizen participation at the local level: these are, first and foremost, the key words behind the work of the European Association for Local Democracy, Alda* for short, established in December 1999 at the initiative of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities with a registered office in Strasbourg at the Council of Europe itself.
Today, the Association is proudly celebrating its 20th year of activity, with ever-evolving goals and ambitions for the upcoming future. In the past two decades, it has relentlessly broadened its curriculum in Europe and its Neighbourhood, with over 60 currently ongoing projects in EU member States, the Western Balkans, the Mediterranean, the Eastern Partnership and Central Asia for a total of over 40 countries, 15 Local Democracy Agencies, 3 Operational Partners, over 350 members and 5 more offices – one of which in Brussels.
Alda* is, in fact, particularly active in Belgium, with its Brussels office serving as a focal point for the promotion of participatory democracy and active citizenship at the European level, as well as for the development of new synergies in cooperation with local members.
The Belgian network is currently composed of 12 associates, including the 4 municipalities of Ypres, Zoersel, Etterbeek and Grez-Doiceau and 8 civil society organisations. Among the latter are a few important cross-memberships, too, as collaboration agreements have been established with those associations with which Alda* shares a common mission: it is the case of the Diesis Network, of the European Projects Association AISBL, and of the Association of Cities and Regions for Sustainable Resource Management ACR+.
Click here to view a complete list of Alda* members in Belgium.
The Association welcomes expressions of interest by all potential new members, and constantly encourages partnerships to collaborate on projects of European relevance. The Belgian scene is no exception, and indeed Alda* is always implementing projects with Belgian municipalities and civil society organisations beyond its membership pool, too. To mention one of many, the consortium of the Food Wave project – Empowering Youth for Climate Actions sees the partnership of the municipalities of Molenbeek and Bruges towards the aim to increase EU citizens’ knowledge, awareness and engagement on sustainable patterns of food consumption and production for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
As of this month of August 2020, besides, Belgium can now count on an Alda* ambassador of its own! Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Grez-Doiceau, where he leads citizen participation, civic affairs, population, digitalisation, international relations and partnerships, Mr Pascal Goergen is a perfect fit for this role and its aim to improve visibility and establish relationships with new counterparts and to support the action of the existing Alda* members in Belgium.
Alda* is very much looking forward to continuing and expanding its work in local Belgian communities towards stronger local democracy and community involvement.
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