On 22 October 2022, the Congress thematic spokesperson on European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) Bryony Rudkin (United Kingdom, SOC/G/PD) participated in the launch of the ELDW in Malta, including a workshop place-making and a series of events and presentations, organized by the Malta Local Councils Association, in collaboration with NGOs, regional councils, Senglea Local Council and academics.
“Democratic institutions must be reinvented with citizen participation – with the participation of young people in particular – to ensure that citizens have permanent access to governance and that no one feels excluded from decision-making,” said underlined the spokesman of the Congress.
Ms Rudkin drew attention to the challenges facing democratic participation, such as the polarization of society and extremism, stressing the need to “re-engage dialogue and civic debate within society to ensure that the extreme ceases to be the mainstream”. She also stressed the need for a bottom-up response to the climate crisis, in line with this year’s ELDW theme, “Protecting the Environment: Local Communities Take Action”, emphasizing the role of cities and citizens as only “front line” in the face of the climate emergency. Ms Rudkin also underlined the importance of ensuring that local authorities and regions are better equipped with the necessary skills and resources and are more resilient in order to prevent, resist, adapt and recover quickly from multiple crises.
The spokesperson reaffirmed the Congress’ commitment to supporting local and regional authorities in organizing ELDW events and raising awareness of local democracy in their own country. ELDW flagship events are organized each year during the week of October 15 – a date chosen in homage to the European Charter of Local Self-Governmentopened for signature on that date in 1985.
The European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) is a pan-European initiative coordinated 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 organize initiatives across Europe. aimed at promoting citizen participation, fostering dialogue between the community and the public authorities, strengthening confidence in elected officials and institutions and giving a European dimension to local initiatives.