News > ALDA: The first Local Democracy Agency in the Mediterranean has been established

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Participative democracy and civil dialogue

ALDA: The first Local Democracy Agency in the Mediterranean has been established

On 27th April 2017 the representatives of ALDA, the European Association for Local Democracy and the Municipality of Kairouan, Tunisia, met with their civil society partners and the Tunisian and European local authorities during a major public event on the occasion of the official opening of the first Local Democracy Agency (LDA) in the Mediterranean. Only one year after the signature of the Draft Memorandum of Understanding, the efforts made in the framework of this partnership are being realized. This ceremony represented an opportunity for the European and Tunisian partners of LDA to confirm and sign the Memorandum of Understanding on the opening of the LDA and to present to the public the objectives of the LDA and the commitments of the Partners, in the presence of many local and international actors working for democracy in Tunisia.

In addition to the LDAs already present in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus (the first LDA was opened in 1993 in Serbia on the initiative of the Congress of Local Authorities and Regional Councils of the Council of Europe), the LDA Tunisia now joins the network of 13 already existing LDAs, and has as mission the promotion of good local governance, citizen participation and sustainable development in Tunisia. Its activities will be part of a dialogue between citizens, local associations and authorities present in the territory. It will thus serve as an operational platform for debate, skills development and cooperation at local, regional and international levels. The local authorities and civil society organizations that were involved in the opening of the LDA in Kairouan as partners and signed the agreement and helped to define the objectives are the followings:

• The Municipality of Kairouan, Tunisia;

• The City of Strasbourg, France (due to its partnership with the Municipality of Kairouan since April 2015);

• The Region of Sardinia, Italy;

• The Fons Mallorquí, Spain;

• Auxilia Onlus, Italy;

• Sawa Med Tunisia;

• AKDI – Kairouan Association for Integrated Development, Tunisia;

• APNEK – Association for the Protection of Nature and Environment of the Governorate of Kairouan, Tunisia.

The Municipality of Kairouan was represented by Mr. Bassem Chrigui, First Delegate and Mayor of the Municipality, and by Mr. Lassad Ghdami, former Mayor of Kairouan who signed the Memorandum on 29th April 2016, formalizing the will of the Municipality of Kairouan to become the host city of the LDA. They reaffirmed their willingness to move forward together in the democratic and decentralization process in Tunisia. ALDA was represented by Ms Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General, Francesco Zarzana and Mohammed Salhi, members of the Board of Directors, and Ms Anne-Laure Joedicke, Head of Mediterranean activities.

“This new Agency represents a new challenge for our organization and our members. We are very glad with this start which also aims to represent a platform for the whole of the Maghreb region. We will work closely together with Tunisian cities and representatives of civil society”, confirms ALDA General Secretary Antonella Valmorbida.

This opening marks an important step for decentralized cooperation in the Mediterranean and reinforces the numerous efforts undertaken by the Tunisian actors and their European partners in favor of local democracy in Tunisia. The ceremony was also an important occasion to share with participants the results of the Mediterranean working group of the LADDER project. Indeed, within the framework of this working group and through cooperation between the partners, two strategic documents on the promotion of democracy and local self-government and on co-operation between the two shores of the Mediterranean have been approved In Kairouan. The LADDER project, its objectives and its results were presented by Mr. Moncef Ben Slimane, President of the Tunisian association Lam Echaml and partner of the project.

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