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The Annual Coordination Meeting of the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW), held on 27 February 2024 in Strasbourg, France, brought together representatives of municipalities and associations of local authorities from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Türkiye and Ukraine that took an active part in this Congress initiative in the past year.

Opening the meeting, Congress Secretary General Mathieu Mori thanked the participants for their steadfast commitment to local democracy despite the numerous challenges they faced, underlining in particular the participation of two Ukrainian municipalities (Kyiv and Lviv). He pointed out that “local authorities are consistently finding themselves at the forefront, mitigating the impact of crises while addressing their citizens’ needs and expectations, which underscores the importance of building resilient local governments able to provide meaningful, efficient, inclusive, and sustainable responses in crisis situations”.

Véronique Bertholle, Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg and Congress Deputy Spokesperson on Youth, who moderated the meeting, congratulated the 51 participants from 18 countries for organising a total of 276 activities throughout the year“The dedication you demonstrate in organising ELDW events with citizens’ engagement is immensely significant. Your efforts and commitment to bolster democratic participation and share best practices, even amidst challenging circumstances, significantly contribute to the objective of increasing the resilience and inclusiveness of your communities”, she stressed.

The theme for the 2023-2024 European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) edition is “Local communities: putting democratic resilience at the forefront". Participants presented their best practices and a range of related activities, including interactive educational events, participatory budgeting, consultation platforms and surveys, as well as meetings between mayors and young citizens from their communities, among others.

Participants were informed about the Council of Europe initiative “ELoGE” (European Label of Governance Excellence), and held a debate on youth involvement in local decision-making processes, introduced by Alice Bergholtz, Senior Project Officer in the Youth Department of the Council of Europe. She pointed out that “the Congress is a prominent actor when it comes to listening to young people and involving the youth perspective in the discussions”She also presented the Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life and the Guidelines on Youth Participation, stressing that the active participation of young people in actions at local and regional levels is essential to building democratic inclusiveness.

At the end of the meeting, the certificate of “Partner of the European Local Democracy Week 2023” was awarded to 14 municipalities and associations in recognition of their commitment to the ELDW and of their work for the promotion of local democracy in 2023.