The COSLA annual Conference was partially devoted to the main theme of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) 2016, “Living together in culturally diverse societies”. “In the framework of the ELDW, local authorities from almost 30 Member States of the Council of Europe and beyond organise public events to meet and engage with their citizens on issues of current interest,” explained Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer addressing the participants on 6 October 2016. “Through the ELDW, the Congress shares its conviction that local self-governance is a landmark of modern democratic societies and that citizen participation contributes to a more accountable, transparent and legitimate local government.
Citizen participation, power sharing and providing space for interaction are essential for successful local policies” he stated. “In 2016, we chose to highlight the importance of intercultural dialogue and peaceful living together. Our objective was to reflect on the growing tendencies of radicalisation and violent extremism, and the threats these pose to our societies,” he added highlighting initiatives and works undertaken by the Congress in line with the ‘Council of Europe Action Plan 2015-17 to combat extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism".