“Living together in culturally diverse societies: respect, dialogue, interaction”
“Living together in culturally diverse societies: respect, dialogue, interaction” was chosen as the main theme of the 2016 edition of the ELDW. The goal of this theme was to highlight the importance of intercultural dialogue and peaceful living together. As Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, explained the “objective was to reflect on the growing tendencies of radicalisation and violent extremism, and the threats these pose to our societies”. The 2016 theme was in line with that of the 2015 edition with a stronger emphasis on education for democratic citizenship and human rights.
In 2016, the ELDW took place between 10 and 16 October.
Local authorities: 86 partners from 23 countries participated in the ELDW 2016, and more than 290 activities and events were organised. Among the 86 registered partners, 56 local authorities, and 27 associations contributed to a successful Week of Local Democracy.
Many activities were organised such as a seminar on anti-discrimination and solidarity (Patras, Greece), an exhibition on “Living together in culturally diverse societies” (Bydgoszcz, Poland), a citizen discussion evening, (Bischwiller, France), a session of public dialogue between young people and local elected representatives (Södermöre, Sweden) and a leisure activity “Cycling for Democracy” (Izmit, Turkey). Jean-Claude Frécon, former President of the Congress, underlined the importance to participate in these events because they create opportunities to “share, promote and celebrate the values of local democracy”. Other activities of the ELDW 2016 can be found here.
"12-Star" partners in 2016: 26 ELDW partners decided to give special prominence to their participation by choosing the voluntary “12-Star” status. This significant number reflects the great interest of communities in local democracy. These partners were: Amadora (Portugal), Association of the City and the Municipalities of the Brussels Capital Region (Belgium), Beşiktaş (Turkey), Bischwiller (France), Büyükçekmece (Turkey), Bydgoszcz (Poland), Chania (Greece), the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (United Kingdom), Fastiv (Ukraine), Huddinge (Sweden), Iaşi (Romania), Izmit (Turkey), Kadiköy (Turkey), Karsiyaka (Turkey), Katowice (Poland), Kahramankzan (Turkey), Kharkiv, (Ukraine), Lüleburgaz (Turkey), Medgidia (Romania), Mioveni (Romania), Platanias (Greece), Reggio Calabria (Italy), Stockton on Tees (United Kingdom), Strasbourg (France), Valongo (Portugal), Vasylkiv (Ukraine).
Population: The ELDW 2016 reached a total audience of 18 659 268 citizens.
“Living together in multicultural societies: respect, dialogue, interaction”
On 2 February 2015, the Bureau of the Congress decided to dedicate the 2015 European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) to the issue of intercultural dialogue, adopting a new slogan: “Living together in multicultural societies: respect, dialogue, interaction”. Given the current political and social context, coupled with the ubiquitous terrorist threats and the rise of populist movements grounded in xenophobia, hatred and social exclusion, this theme comes at a critical time in citizens’ lives.
The ELDW officially took place between 12 and 18 October 2015.
Local authorities: 95 partners from 29 countries took part in the 2015 ELDW. Over 249 events and activities were organised in this framework, thus contributing to the ELDW’s overall success. In his speech at the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Europe Prize (2015), Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Congress, hailed the ELDW initiative. A letter was then sent by him to all previous award winners, encouraging them to take part in the ELDW and stressing the natural link between the two initiatives. This action brought two previous Europe Prize winners, Czestochowa (PL) and Kharkiv (UA) and three cities awarded the Plaque of Honour, Izmit (TR), Mioveni (RO) and Ternopil (UA), into the ELDW family, hopefully enabling further synergies with the Assembly’s initiative.
As for the activities, these were numerous and creative: in Chemnitz (DE), the citizens were able to enjoy a public reading of the book “Meine 7000 Nachbarn” (My 7000 neighbours); in Chania (GR), the municipality organised a drawing competition on the theme “Myself and the others”, which ended with an exhibition of all the drawings at the town hall; in Ilon (GR), students visited a reception centre for refugees; in Le Mas (France), the citizens were able to attend a citizen film-debate following the screening of Yann Arthus-Bertrand's movie “Human”; in Neuchâtel (CH), an intercultural café on languages was organised, in Karsiyaka (Turquie), 200 took part in a cycling race ‘‘Bike For Unity and Solidarity’’. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, please find further information on the organised activities here: Events of the 2015 ELDW.
“12-Star" partners in 2015: 24 cities were chosen to receive the “12-Star” status, thus providing special prominence to their participation in this pan-European initiative. They were: Amadora (PT), Association of the City and the Municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region (BE), Antalya (TR) Buyukcekmece (TR), Bydgoszcz (PL), Chania (GR), Falun (SE), Huddinge (SE), Iasi (RO) Ivano-Frankivsk (UA), Izmit (TR), Kadikoy (TR), Karsiyaka (TR), Katowice (PL), Kharkiv, (UA), Luleburgaz (TR), Medgidia (RO), Melitopol (UA), Mioveni (PL), Reggio Calabria (IT), Stockton on Tees Borough Council (UK), Strasbourg (FR), Sundbyberg (SE) and Tbilisi (GE).
Population: The 2015 ELDW covered a population of 12 753 839 citizens.
“Participatory democracy: sharing, proposing, deciding”
On 24 March 2014, the Bureau of the Congress decided to dedicate the eighth Edition of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) to participatory democracy and adopted a new slogan : ''Participatory democracy: sharing, proposing, deciding'', with a special focus on Youth. In 2014, the ELDW officially took place between 13 and 18 October.
This theme is at the heart of the ELDW mission: create a relevant tool to stimulate and promote citizen participation at local level.
Local authorities: 175 partners from 24 countries took part in the ELDW 2014. More than 450 events and activities were organised in this framework, thereby contributing to the success of the ELDW. Herwig van Staa, President of the Congress, stated he was impressed by the creativity of the ELDW participants and by the wide range of activities organised - such as neighbourhood meetings, public debates, actions for involving disadvantaged groups, school competitions, exhibitions, film festivals, sport and dance events …
“12-Star Cities 2014”: 15 cities chose the “12 star” status, thus giving special prominence to their participation in this pan-European initiative. They were: Örebro (Sweden), Amadora (Portugal), l’Association De La Ville Et Des Communes De La Région De Bruxelles-Capitale (Belgium), Büyükçekmece (Turkey), Bydgoszcz (Poland), Chania (Greece), Dionysos (Greece), Junta De Andalucia (Spain), Karşiyaka (Turkey), Katowice (Poland), Ortahisar (Turkey), Reggio Calabria – Metropolitan Area (Italy), Stockton On Tees Borough Council (United-Kingdom), Sultanbeyli (Turkey), Sundbyberg (Sweden).
Population: The ELDW 2014 reached a total audience of 15 870 805 citizens.
“Active citizenship : voting, sharing, participating”
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe has identified active citizenship as the main theme of the seventh edition of the European Local Democracy Week.In 2013, ELDW officially took place between 14 and 20 October.
The choice of the theme “Active citizenship: voting, sharing, participating” was intended to encourage European cities and municipalities to promote awareness of the responsibilities that are incumbent on each individual in a democratic society, in particular within the local community, whether as an elected representative, local administrator, public servant or ordinary citizen.
Local authorities: 110 partners from 28 countries participated in the ELDW 2013, and more than 260 activities and events were organised. Among the 110 registered partners, 45 cities, municipalities or regional entities, and 45 associations contributed to a successful Week of Local Democracy. Out of the 28 partner countries, 17 participated in all the seven editions, while Iceland and “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” took part for the first time in ELDW.
"12-Star Cities 2013": 19 cities decided to give special prominence to their participation by registering as “12 Star Cities” which shows a constant interest on this status compared to the previous years. They were: Büyükçekmece (Turkey), Chania (Greece), Dionysos (Greece), Festos (Greece), Falun (Sweden), Huddinge (Sweden), Iasi (Romania), Katowice (Poland), Kecioren (Turkey), Metz (France), Mola di Bari (Italy), Namur (Belgium), Ordu (Turkey), Reggio Calabria Province (Italy), Junta de Andalucía (Spain), Stockton-on-Tees (United Kingdom), Strasbourg (France), Sundbyberg (Sweden), Tbilisi (Georgia).
Population: The ELDW 2013 reached a total audience of 15 870 805 citizens.
“Human rights make for more inclusive communities”
“Human rights make for more inclusive communities” was chosen as the leading theme of the 2012 edition of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) during the coordination meeting, which was held in Paris on 19 January 2012.
Human rights are an integral part of democracy and many of those rights and freedoms are implemented at local level, as it is also the case with social and civil rights. They include protection and respect for elderly and disadvantaged people, children, minority groups as well as the access to public services and freedom of assembly.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities has decided to engage local authorities to play their role in ensuring that this concept becomes the foundation of a modern and cohesive community.
Local authorities: 142 partners from 29 countries participated in the ELDW. A total of 338 activities and events were organized by towns, cities, regions, national and international associations, youth councils, NGOs, and various partners.
"12-Star Cities 2012": In total, 18 municipalities were qualified as “12-Star Cities”. They were: Metz and Strasbourg (France), Brussels (Belgium), Chania and Festos (Greece), Reggio Calabria Province and Mola di Bari (Italy), Utrecht (Netherlands), Katowice (Poland), Amadora (Portugal), Candelaria and Malaga (Spain), Sunbyberg, Örebro and Huddinge (Sweden), Büyükçekmece and Lüleburgaz (Turkey).
Countries: 27 Council of Europe member states participated in this initiative. Some of the countries registered for the first time (Morocco, Tunisia, Lithuania, Ireland, Hungary, and Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Population: The ELDW 2012 reached a total audience of 24 198 494 citizens.
"Human rights - What about your backyard?"
“Human rights at local level” was the leading theme of the Edition 2011 of the European Local Democracy Week. It was received with great interest by European municipalities. The feedback received by the Congress shows that the reputation and popularity of the initiative is increasing year on year in terms of the number of municipalities taking part, the variety of activities taking place and the commitments undertaken by institutional partners.
Local Authorities: 302 municipalities took part in ELDW 2011, almost three times more than the number that took part in 2010 (115). Since Congress only collects information given by municipalities which registered to participate on the ELDW’s official website or through their national associations, the actual number of municipalities that took part is probably even higher.
"12 Star Cities 2011": In total, 19 municipalities which qualified as “12 Star City”. They represent 12 European countries, spanning from Sweden to Greece and from Portugal to Turkey. They include Brussels (for the fifth consecutive year) and Namur from Belgium; Sisak from Croatia; Strasbourg (for the fifth consecutive year) and Angers from France; Festos and Chania from Greece; Mola di Bari (for the second year) from Italy; Utrecht from the Netherlands; Katowice (for the third consecutive year) from Poland; Amadora (for the second year) from Portugal; Belgrade (for the second year) from Serbia; Sundbyberg from Sweden; Mugla (for the second year), Lüleburgaz, Tarsus, Gebze and Gaziantep from Turkey; and Stockton-on-Tees from United Kingdom.
Countries: Municipalities from 26 Council of Europe member states took part in the ELDW 2011.
Population: The ELDW 2011 reached a total audience of 32,246,000, much higher than the 23,700,000 from the previous year.
Photo gallery of the events 2011 FLICKR
“The impact of sustainable communities in fighting climate change”
“The impact of sustainable communities in fighting climate change” was chosen as the main issue of the ELDW 2010 edition. The Congress’ idea was to highlight that local communities can play a major role in tackling crucial challenges related to climate change at local level, while world powers are still trying to broker a deal.
Local Authorities: 115 municipalities took part in ELDW 2010. Medium sized towns and cities took part in the ELDW: among them 50 municipalities with a population of more than 100.000 inhabitants.
“12 Star Cities 2010“: In total, 17 municipalities which qualified as “12 Star City”. They represent 12 European countries, spanning from Belgium to Greece and from Portugal to Turkey. They include Aix-en-Provence, Paris and Strasbourg from France, Amadora from Portugal, Antalya and Mugla from Turkey, Belgrade from Serbia, Brussels and Liège from Belgium, Candelaria from Spain, Ierapetra from United Kingdom, Katowice from Poland, Lausanne from Switzerland, Mola di Bari and Unione Terre di Po from Italy, Odessa from Ukraine and Tbilisi from Georgia.
Countries: Municipalities from 24 Council of Europe member states took part in the ELDW 2010.
Population: The overall population represented by the participant municipalities of the ELDW 2010 reached 23.700.000 million people.