ALDA: Opening of the Local Democracy Agency Mariupol, Ukraine
On 9 December, Local Democracy Agency Mariupol (Ukraine) became a reality. Mayors, members of the Ukrainian Parliament, representatives of civil societies and NGOs assembled for this important step toward the promotion of local democracy and good governance in the easternmost city in Europe.
The event marked the conclusion of a long process that began last year, which managed under the same common goal ALDA, the municipality of Gdańsk (Poland), the city of Mariupol, the NGO Mariupol Development Fund, and the municipality of Akmene (Lithuania). The event was held in the premises of the hosting city of Mariupol.
ALDA was represented by the Secretary General, Antonella Valmorbida and Imislawa Gorska, Vice-president, who explained the importance of this milestone and the reason why acting at the local level impacts the whole world.
The Mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boichenko, followed up the initial speech by presenting the audience the results achieved by his administration in the field of administrative efficiency, security and education. In the last year, the municipality opened up 3 new universities for Internally Displaced People (IDP), financed the creation of a state-of-the-art TSNAP and monitoring center and trained 70% of the city council managers to give them the competencies necessary to tackle the issues of sustainable development.
Paweł Adamowicz, Mayor of Gdańsk, highlighted the importance of the event and of Ukraine as a beacon of European Values in the East, a historical link worth upholding and defending: “Ukraine was part of Europe, is part of Europe and will be part of Europe”, he said. This concept was further reinforced by Mr. Bogdan Oleszek, Chairman of Gdańsk city council, who stated that the opening of the LDA in Mariupol will initiate a strong and long-lasting cooperation between the two city councils, confirming the support of Gdańsk to ALDA’s activities.
The historical role of Mariupol as the easternmost city in Europe was also the topic of Mr. Serhiy Taruta’s intervention. Mr. Taruta – Member of the Ukrainian Parliament and author of the three “peace pillars” for Donbass, among many other achievements – stressed the important friendly relationship that links the cities of Mariupol and Gdańsk, depicting Mariupol as the city that defends European value here in the East.
The event was closed by the words of Tetiana Lomakina, Advisor of the Mayor of Mariupol and neo-appointed delegate for LDA Mariupol. Mrs Lomakina stressed the importance and the risks of the journey to come, but highlighted how it is possible to foster sustainable development and local democracy even in a reality so troublesome as that of Mariupol, a city located only 17 km away from the front.
The event was followed by the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding, which officially sanctioned the coming into existence of LDA Mariupol. The partners of the LDA then moved to visit to the premises of the new LDA, and a debate with active citizens closed the day, addressing questions, ideas and concerns of people regarding the future actions of the brand new LDA.
Photos from the opening can be found here.