European Local Democracy Week Coordination Meeting

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The coordination meeting of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) took place online on 9 October 2020, with the participation of Andreas Kiefer, Acting Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Bryony Rudkin (United Kingdom, SOC/G/PD), Congress thematic spokesperson on the ELDW, national coordinators and representatives of Moroccan and Tunisian associations of local and regional authorities. The meeting provided an opportunity to highlight the objectives of this pan-European initiative of the Congress, organised every year since 2007, in order to increase dialogue between local authorities and citizens. "The events organised in the framework of the ELDW help to strengthen citizen participation in decision-making at local and regional levels. These events directly reflect the core values and principles contained in the European Charter of Local Self-Government and the Additional Protocol on the right of citizens to participate in the affairs of local authorities," said Andreas Kiefer.

"Local democracy: building trust" is indeed the theme of ELDW this year. The current pandemic has highlighted the key role of local governance and the need to protect and promote citizens' confidence in local authorities through innovative and creative solutions, including the use of online resources," said Bryony Rudkin. The Congress provides ELDW participants with a toolbox to help them organise activities and events as well as examples of activities presented in the annual reports of previous editions.

"The organisation of ELDW events by local authorities and their associations is an opportunity to remind us of the fundamental principles contained in the Charter, namely subsidiarity and local self-government. The European Charter of Local Self-Government is one of the Council of Europe conventions that is ratified by all member States. We hope that its Additional Protocol will also be recognised by all member States through its ratification," affirmed Andreas Kiefer.

Moreover during the meeting, the hub "Covid-19: local and regional responses" developed by the Congress was presented. It aims to collect and share local experiences and initiatives taken in response to the pandemic.

The meeting allowed a sharing of experiences between the participants, and for several municipalities and associations to present their activities already organised this year.

The European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) is a pan-European initiative co-ordinated by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe since 2007. Throughout the year, municipalities and their national associations are invited to organise initiatives all over Europe aimed at promoting citizen participation, fostering dialogue between the community and public authorities, strengthening trust in elected representatives and institutions and providing a European dimension to local initiatives. A flagship event takes place during the week of 15 October, the date of the signature of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in 1985.