Version 2nd of October 2012
Association of the Local Democracy Agencies Strategic priorities for 2013/2016 DRAFT
INTRODUCTION The world we live in ALDA strategic points
Association of the Local Democracy Agencies - Strategic priorities for 2012 - 2015
ACTION ORIENTED Themes Methodologies Geographic coverage
2.1. Evolution of the mandate of the Association of Local Democracy Agencies 2.2. Strategic views on activities 2.2.1. Development of projects’ ideas 2.2.2. Work with the LDAs 2.2.3. Work with Members 2.2.4. Evaluation of impact and results 2.2.5. Stay “closer” to Civil Society Groups and local authorities 2.2.6
Development of technical assistance providers and capacity building
experts 2.2.7 Horizontal features 3.
FOCUS ON THE LOCAL DEMOCRACY AGENCIES
3.1. Norms regulating the LDAs 3.2. Enlargement of the network
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3.3. Strengthening the LDAsâ€™ network 3.4. Sustainability of the LDAs 3.5. Making the network more cohesive 3.6. Methodological approach to be further strengthened 4.
MEMBERS ORIENTED ORGANISATION
4.1. Enlargement of the membersâ€™ basis 4.2. Services oriented 4.3. Subdivision of responsibilities among the Governing Board members and refreshing the animation of working groups 4.4 Open to mass support 5.
COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH
5.1 Increased visibility among the relevant stakeholders 5.2. Global outreach 5.3. Internal communication and involvement of the Governing Board members 5.4. Publications 6.
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6.1. Subdivision of the activities in ALDA EU and ALDA Cooperation 6.1.1 More about ALDA EU 6.1.2. ALDA Cooperation 6.2. Setting up the role of the Secretary General and the Secretariat 6.3. Strengthening staff 6.4 The office in Skopje, the centre of development in IPA region 6.5 Activities of the Scientific Committee 6.6 Organisation chart 7.
FINANCES AND SUSTAINABILITY
1. INTRODUCTION The world we live in
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Since its creation, in 1999, the network of the Local Democracy Agencies and ALDA went through a very dynamic process, which consolidated and enlarged the LDAs and transformed the Association from a coordination body to the real engine for the entire network. ALDA identified new ways of actions, in particular with its members but also evolving from the activities between the LDAs and its members. Many things have changed and some of them radically. The political context in Europe is today very much different from what it was at the beginning of our work. Europe is experiencing a troubled period, which is raising again the need to reconnect – without further delay – from citizens and from local level, to revigorate the European project and to make it an actor for peace and prosperity within its boundaries and in the neighbourhood. The same concepts of citizens and civil society have been modified during these last fifteen years, giving them more strength as well as an essential role in the policy making (at the local, national and European level), as it was underlined in the last Lisbon Treaty. On the other hand, local authorities have been assigned more competencies and decentralisation is strengthened in most of the European Member States, indicating a modern way of governance. Local authorities and civil society are now considered a fundamental instrument for a successful approach to the global challenges. On the other hand, the post conflict period in Western Balkans – which is the essential background of the LDAs – is now fully embedded in another process, which is their accession to Europe (and its conditions). Next year, Croatia (after Slovenia), will become the 28th member State of the Union. At the same time, the instability around Europe is more and more visible, coming from the South and from East. The need of democracy and sustainable and shared wealth and development are a demand expressed by citizens and civil society and local governance is an answer to these requests. Here comes the mandate of ALDA and the LDAs and their actual implementation of the methodology of multilateral decentralised cooperation.
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With this new Multiannual Strategic Paper (and the recent Statute review), which coincided with the election of a new Governing Board of ALDA, this is our duty to propose solutions and new forms of actions to problems that are facing local authorities and civil society in Europe, in the acceeding countries to the EU and the Neighbouring countries. Which are the challenges ahead of us ? Where are our expectations and dreams driving us ? We would like to propose an answer to these questions. The European project – in which we strongly believe - is in danger, not only because of the financial crisis, national budget deficits and economic recession, but because – mainly – it is now considered a mechanism in the hands of the bureaucracy and far away “Brussels” technocrats. There is an urgent need to share the European project as a great vision to be achieved by all citizens and to have to be again in the hands of every citizen, at the local level. This must be also at the core of our external action in the Neighbourhood countries. The enlargement and the policies of rapprochement must be based on the principles which saw the creation of Europe : peace, responsibility and human rights. Europe must be seen as an instrument of resolution of the conflict, also economic and social. This must be found in the capacity that we have developed to promote peace and sustainable prosperity thanks to the work at the local level between empowered civil society and functioning local elected authorities. Thanks to our work, we need to promote human rights, freedom for civic rights and for entrepreneurship, which will make development sustainable, with the role of public sector to regulate instability and inequality. We need to give a strong value to diversity, which is at the basis of local culture and individual responsibility and give a particular importance to multiculturalism.
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ALDA strategic points Our multiannual strategy will be fully included in the strategy ALDA 2020 and its new Statute in order to maintain its coherence. ALDA and the LDAs must be recognized and act as an instrument for peace and good local governance. ALDA must be an active instrument, which bases its actions on the European values of human rights and democracy in order to motivate our members and a wider audience. ALDA must be a catalyst of good will, ideas and visionary attitudes and actions to promote local governance and citizen participation, within the European project. ALDA must be a strong voice and a political activist to promote the European project belonging to its citizens and being closer to them. In accordance with the above expressed positions ALDA strategic objectives for the period 2013-2016 are: to be among the major supports for regional and local governance and citizens support in Europe and its neighbouring areas; to strengthen the existing LDAs and enlarge the towards East and South; to enlarge and strengthen the membership basis; to strengthen the sustainability of LDAs and ALDA; to strengthen internal organisation.
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2. ACTION ORIENTED Themes Within the framework offered by the Council of Europe and the European Union policies and instruments, in promoting good local governance and citizen participation at the local level ALDA focuses on various themes , such as : support to decentralisation and development of capacities and awareness of local and regional authorities; civic initiatives, citizens participation and volunteering and empowerment of civil society; cooperation between local authorities and civil society and multilevel governance; decentralised cooperation and development and cooperation with the support of local authorities and civil society; protection of human and minority rights; sustainable economic development; promotion of European integration or rapprochement in the acceding and neighbouring countries.
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Methodologies ALDA conducts its activities through different forms of action: coordinating and supporting the 13 Local Democracy Agencies in their activities; conducting its own projects in the field of good governance and citizen participation at the local level; supporting other local stakeholders’ initiatives
- like Local and regional
Authorities - by providing expertise gained through ALDA’s knowledge and experience in the regions where ALDA and the Local Democracy Agencies are working. Geographic coverage ALDA works in Europe and in the acceding countries and in particular in Western Balkans and in
the European neighbourhood (East and
South). Activities in the European Union focus in particular on the promotion of Active European Citizenship. Activities in the Western Balkans and European Neighbourhood1 focus on good governance, citizen participation, European integration and decentralisation. For specific cases, which could correspond to our themes and methodological approach, a wider spectrum of geographic coverage is sometimes accepted.
The term Neighbouring and acceding countries in this document refers to the terminology of the European Commission. Some of these countries are, by the way, already members of the Council of Europe.
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Most of the Local Democracy Agencies are located in the Western Balkans, which strengthens our natural focus on that area. But ALDA is also becoming more and more active in the European neighbourhood. In 2006 a Local Democracy Agency was established in Kutaisi in Georgia and in 2011 a Local Democracy Agency was opened in Gyumri in Armenia. ALDA is also leading several other projects and developing partnerships in other European neighbourhood countries, such as Belarus, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. In blue : with LDAs In green : potential countries for future LDAs
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2.1. Evolution of the mandate of the Association of the Local Democracy Agencies The network of the Local Democracy Agencies (first Embassies) was set up by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe with Resolutions since 19932. The programme at that time focused on reconciliation and minority rights, interethnic dialogue and confidence building measures, in the countries of Former Yugoslavia affected by the war. It benefited from a strong political and financial support from the Congress and the Council of Europe. In 1999, a coordination instrument (that could also lead the programme towards new objectives and results) was established : the Association of the Local Democracy Agencies. Since then, ALDA developed its role of coordination of the Local Democracy Agencies in the Western Balkans but it also developed its mandate in line with the development of the situation in the region. In particular, since the Thessaloniki Summit of the European Union (in 2003), the process for accession to the EU of the former Yugoslav countries was officially launched. The Position Papers of ALDA in 2006 and 2009 laid down the basis to address these new challenges. In particular, in these last years, ALDA became a strongly members oriented organisation and implemented numbers of project with its members (and partners of the LDAs) to support active citizenship and local governance in Europe, as a spill over and synergy of what we already implemented in the Balkans. Since 2006, hand in hand with the Congress of the Council of Europe, ALDA opened its network to Southern Caucasus, with an LDA in Georgia and then activities in the field of local governance and citizensâ€™ participation in Armenia. While ALDA was consolidating its activities within the EU, it became a very active stakeholder of the programme Europe for Citizens and with numbers of initiatives (also self financed) it promoted European Active Citizenship. In parallel, a stronger presence of our activities was consolidated in other countries like in Belarus (and all Eastern Partnership) and the Mediterranean area (still before the so called Arab Spring).
The Congress was, at that time, the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities.
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Our mandate is now an evolution of what we learned since our launch in 1993 in the Balkans, in terms of citizens active in their own community with a capacity of Local Authorities to respond to their needs. Based on a tight partnership not only with the Council of Europe but also with the European Commission and the EEAS and the Committee of the Regions, in a renewed context and a stronger need in Europe to give the voice to citizens for policy making, ALDA has its own role in Europe, in the Balkans and acceding countries and Neighbouring countries in order to promote a fruitful and constructive role between strong local authorities and strong civil society. 2.2. Strategic views on activities ALDA has been successfully confirmed as a project organisation throughout these years. Essentially, we are WORKING with projects with our members and are sustainability is mainly based on this assumption. In the elaboration of the Strategy ALDA 2020, this has been identified as one of the strongest instruments of cooperation with ALDA, which is putting on paper, and then implementing, hundreds of actions. This is has to be strengthened again and improved. In this way, we will further accomplish our mission. 2.2.1. Development of projects’ ideas The development of projects and ideas (not far from 100 per year) is a strong asset for ALDA. This could be facilitated and strengthened : with an internal subdivision of this task between ALDA EU and ALDA Cooperation (see later) especially based on donors’ orientation; some innovative projects with the coordinated approach to some new stakeholders (like Foundations of private funding); with the participation to EGEI (as described in the Statute) for the area MED, Adriatics and Black Sea;
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ďƒź for the development of technical assistance (which represents a growing field of activities for ALDA and the LDAs). The technical assistance could be further enhanced with the development a roster of experts in local governance and citizens and civil society participation. More than this, it could also include trainings/capacity building and consultancies to members and partners (like study visits).
In this sense, the identification of a possible aside
commercial entity, will be further studied. 2.2.2. Work with the LDAs The Local Democracy Agencies are, in ALDA Cooperation, our target and our instruments. When we set them up, they are a project themselves and once they are operational they become part and instruments of our activities. Therefore, we should focus more and more in working together with the LDAs and involve them â€“ as individual experts â€“ in our programmes, in particular after the strategy established in Udine, to further progress in the Med area. A participative discussion with the LDAs will be initiated in order to assess all the potentialities and means. 2.2.3 Work with Members The participation of the Members to our initiatives is key priority. They should be regularly involved in all the activities of ALDA and the LDAs through projects and participation (see further down the Membership oriented activities).
The work with
the members will further facilitated by knowing better their fields of interest with a specific data basis (Filemaker data basis exist already but will be completed). 2.2.3. Evaluation of impact and results
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Despite the difficulties, a clear policy of evaluation of the activities of the LDAs has been put in practice in these last years. It should be further enhanced. The evaluation of the programmes and the activities of ALDA should be improved. In particular, the evaluation system of the action suffers from an initial weakness: it is more donors’ oriented than beneficiary oriented. This must be changed and we should put the beneficiaries of our activities (local authorities, NGOs and citizens) at the centre of attention. The evaluation should be made for the LDAs and ALDA, as such and for our single initiatives. A quality check policy of our activities should be put in place. 2.2.4. Stay “closer” to Civil Society Groups and local authorities ALDA being an umbrella organisation for the LDAs has put a lot effort to establish institutional relationships and engage in different forum of debates. That brought successfully to a higher attention and visibility for ALDA at the international level. Our members, partners and the LDAs are those who should have a more local visibility by implementing policy making and activities at the lower level. However, ALDA, as an organisation, should not loose the contact with the “ground” and with local authorities and civil society and citizens’ groups. They must be at the core of our attention and work. In particular, the staff of ALDA and the LDAs should stay in close contact with the partners, members and groups for which are are working in order to be too much “institutionalised”. A possibility would be to give the opportunity to ALDA and LDAs staff to be involved for a limited period of time into activities with groups and local authorities, so not to loose contact with the day to day difficulties of the NGOs and local authorities.
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ALDA increased it institutionalization in these years. That was strongly needed in order to establish our role at the European level. For practical reasons (costs and timing), some of our core activities are centralized (in Brussels and Strasbourg). It is of our interest to maintain our life “decentralised” and to make our organisation grow as much as possible not only in the easy European institutions but also in the small and remote areas, where European citizens really live.
2.2.6 Development of technical assistance providers and capacity building experts Considering the extensive and long-lasting ALDA’s experience and knowledge in terms of EU projects’ preparation and implementation as well as in general in fundraising it would be a great opportunity to express a new possible direction toward a more members’ oriented service of ALDA. A possible service would be the development of education activities for capacity building for public entities (regional and local government and institutions) as well as for civil society organisations, in particular in the framework of EU projects. A concrete step toward this kind of activity would be the establishment of an EU educational centre in cooperation with public partners, educational and research institutions, that would cover the entire territory considered in the ALDA Cooperation action. 2.2.7 Horizontal features ALDA, our members, the LDAs, our staff are all living the global challenges of these years. In complement to what we do to reach the target of our mission, we consider that our organisation must participate, with concrete actions, to address global challenges, with its own structure and actions.
We should be an example of
commitment in these different fields and we should promote them in our way of living and working. Youth employment and effects of the crisis
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The present time is particularly difficult as for employment and all the sectors (public, private and non profit) are heavily affected by the on going economic crisis . Our activities must have a particular attention to these problems. We would certainly need to address them together with our members and partners, with our programmes.
Climate change and sustainable environment ALDA and LDAs and all our activities should take our impact on environment and the adequate use of energy and renewable sources of energy more into consideration. A specific policy paper should be adopted to reduce the emission of CO2 in all our offices and LDAs with clear commitments (and steps to be undertaken) for each of them. The activities planned by ALDA should also try to evaluate the production of CO2 for each of the actions so that some actions would be undertaken rather than others in order to choose the less heavy impact on environment considering the target to be reached. The mobility of staff members and programmes based on movement should also consider different options and give a specific preference to the action that have less impact on environment (use of exchanges via skype and IT solutions as much as possible). Focusing on cross generation A balanced representation of young and elderly people should be involved in ALDAâ€™s activity and it should be considered a specific policy on it. The role of young people is fundamental but the role of elderly people will increase in the future.
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Gender balance In the activities of ALDA, a specific policy on Gender balance should be strongly pursued, both in terms of responsibilities and commitment to projects.
Attention to disabilities In the activities of ALDA, a specific policy on including disabilities should be strongly pursued, both in terms of responsibilities and commitment to projects. This should also be taken into consideration in our offices. Voluntarism The value of voluntarism must be taken into consideration in our activities in order to maintain a non profit orientation and dedicated involvement of citizens and members. Our Governing Board Members are working voluntarily, already. We have recently elaborated the programme Volunteers for Democracy, which gives our members the opportunity to send volunteers in our programme. The programme Volunteers for Democracy is already included in our programmes. It is also strongly suggested to develop a programme for volunteers in each office of ALDA and LDAs. Joint activities could be identified, on this field with the LDAs.
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3. FOCUS ON THE LOCAL DEMOCRACY AGENCIES Within the programme of ALDA Cooperation, a full attention will be given to strengthen the Local Democracy Agencies by supporting the good functioning of the existing ones and to promote new ones in the Neighbouring countries of the EU. The objective here must be to present the LDAs as one of the key instruments to promote local governance and citizens’ participation in these areas. 3.1. Norms regulating the LDAs The Local Democracy Agencies were described, in their essence and objectives by the Resolution of the Congress. Each LDA is composed by a group of partners (local authorities and Civil Society), a local host city and a Delegate (Director of the Agency). With the establishment of ALDA, a specific role has been given to the Governing Board of the Association that would evaluate, on a yearly basis the sustainability of the Agency and the coherence of its programme with the action plan of ALDA. A positive evaluation of these different elements allows to attribution of the Label LDA. The Delegates of the Agencies, appointed by partners, are then ratified by the ALDA Governing Board. However, despite these elements of homogeneity, a lot of disparities exist among the Agencies and often, same problems request different answers (depending on which countries they are implemented and in which legislation). It is however here recommended that the the Governing Board of ALDA approves and confirms ( attached ) a regulation for : the process of decision to open and close an LDA; minimum number of partners and methodology of support; minimum standards for setting up the LDA;
ďƒź minimum standards for regulating the life of the LDA (partner leader, composition of the partners, role of the Delegate and modality for hiring and dismissing); ďƒź the role of the Congress of the Local and Regional Authorities and the Council of Europe in the context of the LDA. 3.2. Enlargement of the network With the revised Statute of ALDA (approved in June 2012), it is decided that the LDA could be established in the areas of acceding countries to the EU and in the Neighbourhood countries (Eastern Partnership area and MED area), when it is necessary , bearing in mind the capacity of management of the network and the possibility to raise a number of partners. The experience of the LDAs could be useful, on ad hoc basis, in other areas â€“ for sharing expertise. The existing 13 LDAs could be therefore completed with others in other areas. The specific enlargement to the MED area has been identified as a priority by the members of ALDA in the consultations taking place in 2012. The enlargement of the network should be also implemented without jeopardizing the existing network by draining resources for the existing ones, but solutions must be found so that the increasing number of LDAs correspond to a boost for the whole programme rather than to weaken and overstretch it.
A specific issue here to address is the situation of the LDAs from Croatia , which will soon become a EU country. A non written rule excluded the possibility to have LDAs in the EU. However, the last decision of the Governing Board identified a transition for the Croatian LDAs, rather than an exclusion from the network. Indeed, the Croatian LDAs (or another name to be identified), will be strong support for the future accession of the other Western Balkan countries. 3.3. Strengthening the LDAs’ network The existing LDAs network is a strong and recognised network. However, it suffers at the moment from different weaknesses that need to be addressed in the future in order to maximise the impact of our work. 3.4. Sustainability of the LDAs The new LDAs of the network are often particularly followed (as for fundraising and financial support) by ALDA. However, they should become, after a couple of years, self supported by partners and programmes. The financial crisis of this last year put in danger the sustainability (even if the requests are not very expensive) of some of our Agencies. Some solutions must be here identified : to strengthen the capacity of ALDA to find new partners for the LDAs and consolidate the network (by adding new staff, by building capacities of the LDAs to find new partners); to connect the membership to ALDA with a specific part dedicated to an LDA (that will be voluntarily indicated by the member of ALDA).
Each LDA will therefore benefit from their own partners’ support and by a smaller amount coming from the membership fees of ALDA (that will be therefore increased for this specific amount) 3. ALDA would continue to involve the LDAs in each fundraising process and programme. 3.5. Making the network more cohesive In these recent years, we verified the creation of a gap between the LDAs and ALDA that is not beneficial for both side. The programme, in order to express itself at its best, must be homogeneous and work harmoniously. Keeping the characteristics of loose network (so to maintain the legal independence of the LDAs and the Delegates), the programme needs to identify here : as suggested above, to link the membership to ALDA to a specific LDA; to create a more tight relationship between the Delegate and ALDA and a sense of bilateral relationship (with constant exchanges of views, reactivity and responsiveness); to work on participation and sense of belonging to the network (both for LDAs and partners); to have coordination meeting/capacity building with the Delegate on annual basis as well as with the partners (in particular the partner leader). To support a shared and common visibility policy for ALDA and LDAs 3
If the membership fees to ALDA are today 4800 Euro for over 1 million regions, it is proposed to increase it of 20 % (960 Euro). This additional sum will be directed to the LDAs selected. The actual amount of membership fees is today 100.000 Euro. It is foreseen to have 20.000 Euro to be dedicated to the LDAs that could be used mainly as cofunding for their own fundraising. The specific added value would also be to associate members to LDAs and facilitate the concept of partnership. These 20.000 Euro will increase the existing partnership fees for each partners already existing.
3.6. Methodological approach to be further strengthened The network of the LDAs is working with the methodology of Multilateral decentralised cooperation and their contribution has been recognised by the local and international partners and by the institutional stakeholders (EU and Council of Europe). It is proposed to further study and elaborate on this methodological approach and bring a scientific contribution to the debate on local governance and citizensâ€™ participation.
4. MEMBERS ORIENTED ORGANISATION ALDA is strongly oriented to be a membership based organisation. The members today are composed of Regional and local authorities and civil society groups (and individuals who are accepted for their specific engagement in our same mission). We are therefore representing, in our essence, what we are promoting: cooperation between regional, local government and citizens. Today, we have up to 150 members. Most of them are active in our projects and in the Local Democracy Agencies. This active participation is certainly a very important added value of ALDA. We need to strengthen this feature in the future both in quantity and quality. This strategic papers includes most of the responses indicated by the members that were consulted to elaborate the ALDA 2020 strategy (attached).
In order to give more significance to the members and their involvement in ALDA, the new Statute allows the participation of twelve Governing Board elected . The representation of the Council of Europe is reduced but still important with the President of the Congress (member of the Governing Board and Bureau) and as well as Representative of the Secretary General, member of the Governing Board. The financial contribution given to ALDA from the membership fees represents around 10% of the total budget but it still secures an important freedom of activities to pursue ALDAâ€™s mandate (since most of the other funds are earmarked). A stronger contribution as for membership fees is welcome so that to support the sustainability. Today the membership fees are up to 100.000 Euro annually.
4.1. Enlargement of the membersâ€™ basis The programme is to raise the members from 150 to 200 for the end of the mandate . The increase in the number of members could help financially ALDA (up to 200.000 Euro) but also further consolidate our importance and representativity. The enlargement of the numbers of members must also correspond to a certain balance, engaging civil society and Local Authorities. At the moment, we have representatives from many countries in Europe but it is important to cover every country in the EU member States and other countries where we are operational with programmes or with LDAs.
Map of the countries where we have members (and numbers per country)
In order to reach these results, ALDA could secure a strong staff support (both in contacts and administration). Certainly, the engagement of the Governing Board members is fundamental to reach this target.
When we have a relevant group of members per country, it may be appropriate to identify a referent member â€“ a country coordinator â€“ that could animate the a country group/meetings and further liaise with ALDA and its Governing Board. A specific development of these members, country coordinators, could be further elaborated in order to have straight feedback of our activities on the ground and to give decentralised responsibilities for the enlargement of the network. 4.2. Services oriented Certainly, the services provided by ALDA to members have been recognized as an added value. They are mainly services offered for project drafting and elaboration of common ideas and initiative, the participation to forum and debates, the development of partnership and best practices exchanges as well as professional support to liaise and lobby at the European level for our common aims.
The services can be further strengthened in
particular with a specific policy for knowing better the needs of members (with a specific ID card of each member) and services offered with a restricted area for members .
4.3. Subdivision of responsibilities among the Governing Board members and refreshing the animation of working groups
In order to distribute more tasks and responsibilities among the different Governing Board members, specific areas of competences could be attributed to different members. They could also be useful to refresh the activity of the thematic Working Groups, which will contribute with ideas and debate to the ultimate goals of ALDA. Each working group will appoint its responsible that will draft an action plan and develop ideas for the group. The Working groups would be able to elaborate projects or statement for ALDA. Operational ones: Current Affairs and Administration , Members' issues , Local Democracy Agencies support Thematic
4.4. Open to Mass support The membership to ALDA corresponds to a certain level of fees (decided by the General Assembly) and to a certain service given to members for this. Another option might be the mass membership as such -
open for a smaller amount to a wider
range of supporters (with payment via credit card) . The support could in this way be approached and receive also regular info about our activities. In this case, we will open the possibility to younger and single citizens to support our activities and disseminate info about work.
5. COMMUNICATION AND OUTREACH Communication and outreach must be clearly a strategic goal for ALDA and the LDAs. It represents so far a weakness of the organisation even if in these last years it improved substantially, in particular with the development of a more accessible and well developed website and regular news sent to different stakeholders. The statements presented by the network are also increasing the political visibility and relevance of the network. Despite the existing difficulties (different languages used, very large coverage both at geographic level and kind of actors involved – civil society, citizens and local authorities – we need to set new objectives in this field.
Increased visibility among the relevant stakeholders A global visibility is rather difficult to be reached (considering the difficulties described above). It is however possible to focus on our main stakeholders (already indicated in the paper). A better visibility and information should be tried to be reached as for them. a global newsletter in 4 languages (IT/EN/FR/RU) is sent every month; together with some of the information already elaborated, a specific monthly News could be sent to the MEPs (with some indications particularly relevant for them); the same as above for the members of the Congress; the same as above but for the members of the Committee of the Regions; regular Political Statement elaborated by the LDAs, ALDA and the Governing Board should be sent to the stakeholders; the website should be given a specific attention;
social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., should be used as well as all other free and available innovative information network opportunities. The members and the Governing Board members in particular should participate in the dissemination of information and visibility for ALDA (like the logo and link of ALDA in their website, indication on their heading paper, etc).
Global outreach The global outreach (to global media in particular) for ALDA is particularly difficult. However, it can not be dropped out. It is suggested to focus on : presenting our work to specificalied media (cooperation, European issues, geographic coverage); asking the Governing Board a specific support in this in their own community (receiving hints from them as for media to contact); establishing more contacts with European media; following the ALDA and LDAs’ events (with the support of the local stakeholders) carefully with a media coverage; focusing on video and visual outreach.
Internal communication and involvement of the Governing Board members In order to secure a good governance of the process, a specific internal communication should be secured for Bureau and Governing Board members. This would be in addition to the three Governing Board meetings. a weekly update for Bureau Members and possible skype exchanges; a monthly update for the GB; a restricted area for the Governing Board members; a specific communication for the thematic working group could be improved. Among the staff members, a communication via skype is already in place every week. A similar practice could be established with the LDAs.
Publications Constantly involved in implementation and networking, the staff of ALDA and the LDAs struggle to present thematic or general publications on what they do. There are regular publication and reports on activities but it must be established as an objective for all of us.
It is strategic for ALDA being
recognised as a model of cooperation and involvement of citizens and local authorities. The publication of specific documents could increase substantially the visibility and the relevance of the organisation. It is foreseen to have :
a yearly thematic publication; an annual report; an index on local democracy (issues by the Local Democracy Agencies) annually describing the progress in the region where they work; for 2012 a publication on assessing our role in citizens’ involvement so far. The publications could be followed by the Scientific Committee. A specfic contact could also be established with some European Think Tanks.
6. ORGANISATIONAL CHANGES Considering the watershed that this Strategic Paper represents for the network, we are proposing some concrete elements to strengthen our action and identify some concrete steps to follow within the next three years. 6.1. Internal subdivision of the activities in ALDA EU and ALDA Cooperation The general objectives set by our Statute, revised in 2012, are: supporting, facilitating and coordinating the activities of the Local Democracy Agencies, including relations with their partners, ensuring the consistency as part of an overall programme;
creating new LDAs where it is deemed useful and feasible; activities and projects that facilitate cooperation between local authorities and civil society both in Europe and in the European Neighbourhood; activities and projects that promote citizen participation at the local level with emphasis on the European Union and its potential candidate and candidate countries. However, in order to promote a more efficient action (management of the projects, projects drafting, fundraising and follow up of the partnership and relationship with stakeholders, policy making and lobbying), it is proposed to create two streams of actions in ALDA’s activities : ALDA Cooperation (for all the funds supporting actions outside the EU, acceding countries and Neighbouring countries – and all the LDAs programmes – and further away); ALDA EU (for all the actions implemented within the EU member States). These two areas would use the same methodologies/instruments but would necessarily also have different projects, partners and donors. The unified action and organisational identify would not be lost, since members of ALDA would work in both areas and certainly many projects would include actors from both geographic areas. The subdivision is also needed because the approach given to projects and partners is essentially different. From a funding point of view, the opportunities are following completely different possibilities.
In particular, ALDA cooperation would have as a strong mission to develop the LDAs that will enlarge its network. ALDA EU would follow more local authorities and civil society in the EU and focus on Europe for Citizens and participation of citizens. ALDA Cooperation would rather work with EEAS and DEVCO as well as with an attention to global players (like the UN/art gold and other big organisation). It will also possibly work with EEGI and territorial cooperation (on going an EEGI for Med, with the EEGI Teating, Lecce, and an EEGI Black Sea).
6.1.1 More about ALDA EU The internal section ALDA EU would focus more on programme strengthening citizens’ participation at the local level as well as dissemination about European integration from below. In particular, it will work on : developing effective methodologies of consultation and involvement of citizens at the local level (citizens’ panels, e-democracy, dialogue with citizens), strengthening the capacities of multilevel governance; involving citizens into the European project ; supporting a strong network of local authorities and NGOs involved in building a Europe from Below (using also the European Code on Good Practices of the Council of Europe); disseminating information among European citizens on the opportunities of participation.
Our main partners will be mostly our members and the European Networks with which we are involved in. In this spirit, the preparation of the European Year of Citizens (2013) will be fully included within ALDA EU. The institutional networks with which we will be working will be the Programme and Structured Dialogue of Europe for Citizens as for Civil Society networks as are concerned. At the European level, we will use our membership with the European Movement International and the partnership with the Federalist European Movement. A further and strengthen strategy could also be established with the European Parliament and the MEPs. A strong cooperation should be continued and confirmed also with the actions of the Council of Europe and the Congress. A stronger accent will be given to national programmes in member States countries, in particular where we have many members and heads of offices. 6.1.2. ALDA Cooperation The internal section ALDA cooperation would follow the non EU actions of ALDA. In particular it would work on : strengthening and development of the Local Democracy Agencies and their methodologies of multilateral decentralised cooperation; strengthening the capacities of local authorities and civil society groups to be engaged in cooperation for development; supporting programme for local governance and citizens participation in acceding countries, Eastern Partnership countries and MED area; disseminating information on Europe for these countries;
ďƒź when necessary/possible, to use our methodology of cooperation between local authorities and civil society also outside the ENPI area, for specific actions. Our main partners will be mostly our members and the European Networks with which we are involved in. The Council of Europe and the Congress would be a strong political partner. In particular, we shall work closely with the European Commission and the EEAS and with the Committee of the Regions working in those areas. For the Civil Society, we will focus on our engagement in Concord, the Civil Society Forum for Eastern Partnership, the International Conference of Non Governmental Organistions of the CoE, Anna Lindh Foundation and Civicus (as for the international level) and with UNDP. Our programme in cooperation will also identify a strategy for ALDA in a broader term and worldwide. 6.2. Setting up the role of the Secretary General and the Secretariat In order to be able to address the strategic objectives described so far, the functioning of the Association should also be adapted. Considering the limited resources, we should make sure not to waste time, resources and energy to focus on wrong directions. The structure should also fit to the objectives and become more and more instrumental to reach the mission of ALDA.
The Statute of ALDA is mentioning the competence of the Director. A Secretary is also mentioned in our Statute as a member of the Bureau but no competences as for the direct management of the Association. It could be proposed to transform the position of the todayâ€™s called Director into Secretary General 4 . The role of the Secretary General should remain the same as described for the Director so that a change of the Statute may not be necessary. However, the change of the name could also give a stronger political meaning to this function, while the Director is more perceived as a more technical and administrative management. Considering the enlargement of the structure, this could be an important step to make.
The team coordinated by the Secretary General is the Secretariat : Administration and membersâ€™ relations Finances Communication and Public Relations Support Development and Capacity building Project coordination Policy office Support to LDAs 6.3 Strengthening Staff
The competences of the Secretary General could be assimilated to the Director position therefore without the need to change the Statute.
ALDA, in 2008, adopted a staff regulation in order to respond to constant demands from the enlarging staff (as for salaries, rules, etc). A policy for salary has been adopted in these last years. However, the fixed situation of the staff, lead by the Director, did not give the possibility to have some professional career within ALDA, limiting also the possible and expected progress within the organigram. If the proposal to have ALDA Europe and ALDA Cooperation is accepted, with the establishment of a Secretary General, it is possible to identify – in the long run – two Coordinators of areas position for EU and for Cooperation. The possibility to have two “extra posts” and not considered yet but it will be rather a promotion and reorganisation of the staff itself, at the moment . When resources will be made available, possibly those two positions could be identified as additional people. This step is not to be understood only in terms of staff progression but it will make easier the functioning of our organisation, identifying more clearly responsibilities and competences. An assessment of results and responsibilities is in place and would need to be further developed. All the staff should be put in conditions to work in good and safe conditions. The offices of ALDA could also work more with the local communities (in Vicenza, Strasbourg, Brussels and Skopje). Strengthening actions: Public relations : Considering the objectives to have a stronger political role and the need to follow a wide and enlarging number of members and partner, a special focus will be put in Public Relations and follow up of relationship. This objective could be reached by strengthening the role of the Director/Secretary General and further assist the Bureau members. This will be also strictly connected to better assistance that could be given to the LDAs and their partnership.
Support Development office : The Development office is an asset for ALDA and considered an added value by the members (ref to the results of the ALDA 2020 inquiry). However, the upcoming years will be full of challenges and further support might be soon needed, in particular as for the follow up of the Technical Assistance and its pool of experts. Project coordination office : The project coordination is also expected to be strengthened and empowered in particular through the functioning of an additional office in Skopje. The project coordination will need to be supported as for methodological approach and evaluation. A potential support on Belarusian projects will also soon be available. Financial management : The financial management office should be further strengthened and more and more detached from the administrative issues, which could be centralised in Strasbourg. Policy office : Consequently, the policy office might also be strengthened in order to follow even better the European Active Citizenship dimension and other EU issues (now more the office is more focused on Cooperation and Eastern Partnership). Add a responsible for the Local Democracy Agencies that will help all the staff to accompany them and to strengthen/Develop them A major concern is the bridge to be strongly strengthened between the different areas of work . The project office needs support from the project coordination office, which interact with the financial management, etc. This weakness must be addresses with a coherent and more inclusive approach (thematic discussion with staff, comprehensive exchanges between staff about one project, etc)
6.4 The office in Skopje, the centre of development in IPA region In 2012, following the development of the programme of Decentralised Cooperation Basse Normandie/MacĂŠdoine (which is now entering its 7 th year of activity â€“ and preparing the upcoming three years), a branch of ALDA was registered in Skopje. The office is now basically supporting totally the programme but it has the potentiality of enlarging its activities and scope. In order to do so, a specific activity of the office should be established in addition to what is here provided for the programme CRBN/Macedonia, with a dedicated staff member. The objective being that the ALDA Office in Skopje becomes the main office of ALDA dealing with all the IPA and pre-accession developments in the region.
6.5 Activities of the Scientific Committee The Statute of ALDA gives the possibility to set up a Scientific Committee, which will help the Association to elaborate new ideas and programmes. We propose to start the activities of the Scientific Committee. It will support ALDA and the LDAs to follow the development of the methodology and support, with inputs and ideas, our activities.
Local Democracy Agencies : Serbia : CSS and Subotica; Croatia : Verteneglio, Osijek, Sisak Montenegro (Niksic) Albania (Skodra) Bosnia and Herzegovina : Zavidovici, Prijedor and Mostar Armenia (Gyumri) Georgia : Kutaisi Kosovo (Pec/Peja
Offices : Vicenza : Project Development and finances Strasbourg : Headqurter, Project cooridination Brussels : Policy ADL Subotica : SEE coordination Skopije : Programme Basse Normandie In three years time
Local Democracy Agencies : Western Balkans Eastern Partnership Countries Med Countries Offices : Vicenza, Brussels, Strasbourg, Skopje 7. FINANCES AND SUSTAINABILITY The support of ALDA is today based on a complex and balanced sources of resources, from different donors, even if the presence of the European Commission is quite relevant. The operational costs are also very much supported by the projects and the operating grant and membership fees are far from covering the staff costs and expenses. Therefore, ALDA is oriented to produce activities in order to cover also part of its staff which remains quite mobile on different activities. It is rather unrealistic to think of increasing more the operating grants but we need to make sure to secure those existing. The trend for projects is consolidated and we must diversify the possible partners in order not to engage excessively the resources of the European Commission (i.e. contact possible private support and foundations). On the other hand, it is proposed to increase the technical assistance and service providing (which is a growing field of interest and resources), more 20% last year. We could therefore increase the stability and the resources none earmarked, for the Association. Situation presented for the approval of budget 2012 (June 2012). The total is about 2.200.000 Euro.
Not all the incomes have the same impact on sustainability. Indeed, some of them are mainly allocated to the support of the structure, like the operating grant and also the Technical Assistance support. Trends Considering the importance of our work in external cooperation, it is likely that our work with Devco – European Commission will increase and we need to support this trend. In order to support our activities in the EU and our work with the programme Europe for Citizens , we need to strengthen the ALDA EU programmes and develop more with our members. In terms of sustainability, a specific strategy on technical assistance could be developed so that to increase up to 10% of the budget this dimension (today is 2%).
The support of the LDAs could also substantially improve with a stronger strategy and staff support up (now up 2,2 %) – see mention of this in this document. The membership fees could also be raised with a stronger strategy and staff support up 5%. A specific policy on Private/Foundation and donations could also be developed (so far 0,3 % of the budget).
ACTION PLAN PROPOSED Further developed after approval
1st year Members issues
Activation of the Committees of the Governing Board Activation of the Country groups and coordinator Active research for new members/with support of country coordinators and Governing Board Activate mass support
Elaboration of ToR and research
Elaboration of the criteria
Active search for development of foundations support and alternative funding of the EU Focus on the EYAC activities 2013 Initial activities of EEGI
Development of the
Development of the LDAs in Croatia
Opening of an LDA in Eap Elaboration of new guidelines and norms for stronger cooperation and integration of LDAs in ALDA Development of the LDAs in the Med area
Initial organisation of the staff according to plan and test of the efficiency Responsibilities of EU and Cooperation among the exisiting staff Steps for the Secretary General position Strengthening the horizontal features and cooperation among staff Empowerment and strengthening Office in Skopie
Putting in place the outreach and PR strategy described
outreach Horizontal issues
Development of a concrete plan for implementation of horizontal issues
Focus on the assessment of our action on action citizenship and capitalization of our work
2nd year Evaluation
First evaluation of activities and LDAs
Activity of the Scientific committee
Activation of the Committees of the Governing Board Activation of the Country groups and coordinator Active research for new members/with support of country coordinators and Governing Board Activate mass support
Active search for development of foundations support and alternative funding of the EU
Development of the
Development of the LDAs in Croatia
Opening of an LDA in Eap Development of the LDAs in the Med area
Assessment of the changes introduced and consolidations of the positions
Evaluation of the results and strengthening capacities
3rd year After one year, general assessment of the strategic views and definition of the follow up