“Active Citizenship” called for by Local and Regional Governments during European Local Democracy Week

The European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) is an annual event in Europe that fosters local and national participation in promoting the knowledge of local democracy and the idea of democratic participation at a local level. The question: “How to motivate the citizens to participate in decision-making processes, there where they live?” is at the centre of the new edition of this week, which starts from 14 to 20 October in Europe and beyond. UCLG, as representative body of self-governing and democratic local and regional governments, seeks to increase the role of these institutions situated closest to citizens in the construction of Local and Regional Democracy.

In the framework of this celebration and to commemorate the European Charter of Local Self-Government, UCLG is highlighting and reinforcing democracy through the involvement of local and regional authorities in the work initiated on the future of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Post 2015 and on the definition of the new global urban agenda in the framework of Habitat III.  UCLG also working continuously on the promotion of Participatory Democracy through its Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights (CISDP) and through collaboration with the International Observatory for Participatory Democracy (OIDP).

UCLG gathered the international community and its members and partners to “Imagine Society, Build Democracy" during the Second World Summit of Local and Regional Leaders and 4th UCLG Congress celebrated in Rabat, Morocco. Between the participants, the Congress counted with the presence of Jean- Claude Frécon, President of the Chamber of Local Authorities, who declared that “A specific legal framework at both national and local level is needed to guarantee the citizens’ right to participation, by providing them with the procedures to facilitate such participation” . He also emphasised that to ensure the citizens’ active commitment to local governance it was necessary to establish “a purposive policy of education for active democratic citizenship and human rights benefiting all citizens”. This would enable them really to exercise their rights and shoulder their responsibilities.

The UCLG Congress closed with the Rabat Declaration that recognizes the need to bring innovative changes in order to achieve more just societies by reinforcing governance from the bottom up, under the leadership of inclusive local and regional governments. With this declaration, UCLG highlights the role of subnational governments as engines and actors in the construction of democracy. The Congress coincided with the centenary of the international municipal movement that was duly celebrated as a major movement in promoting local democracy.

As states are increasingly distant from the everyday needs of citizens and powerless faced with the complexity of a shifting economic and financial global environment, mayors and representatives of local and regional governments are convinced that democracy is built at local level and that current centralised models must be transformed.  

UCLG therefore invites all municipalities and associations to organize activities and events to promote this year edition of Local Democracy Week, held under the theme, “Active Citizenship: vote, share, participate”.

Consult all the activities organised in the framework of the ELDW in the European Council of Europe website.

Click here to read the Rabat Declaration.