COSLA Annual Conference 2016: “Local Government: Leading Reform”

Living Together in Diverse Local Communities: Leading, Developing and Empowering Municipalities in Europe

Crieff, Perthshire, 6 October 2016

ELDW : “ Citizen participation, power sharing and providing space for interaction are essential for successful local policies”, says Andreas Kiefer

“Living together in culturally diverse societies” is the motto of both the European Local Democracy Week (ELDW) 2016 and of this year’s annual Conference of COSLA, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.  “In the framework of the ELDW, local authorities from almost 30 member states of the Council of Europe and beyond organise public events to meet and engage with their citizens on issues of current interest,” Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer explained addressing the participants on 6 October 2016. “Through the ELDW, the Congress shares its conviction that local self-governance is a landmark of modern democratic societies and that citizen participation contributes to a more accountable, transparent and legitimate local government. Citizen participation, power sharing and providing space for interaction are essential for successful local policies,” he stated. “In 2016, we chose to highlight the importance of intercultural dialogue and peaceful living together. Our objective was to reflect on the growing tendencies of radicalisation and violent extremism, and the threats these pose to our societies,” he added highlighting initiatives and works undertaken by the Congress in line with the ‘Council of Europe Action Plan 2015-17 to combat extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism’.

To facilitate this educational work at all levels of government, the ministers for education of the 47 Council of Europe member states have been developing a framework document entitled “Competences for Democratic Culture” (*). This competence framework, which addresses values, attitudes, skills and knowledge and critical understanding of our democratic societies will support educational decision makers and planners and help educational systems to be harnessed for the preparation of learners for life as competent democratic citizens. The promotion of education for democratic citizenship and human rights will also be at the heart of the 2016 World Forum for Democracy organised by the Council of Europe, to which Congress members will make an active contribution, Andreas Kiefer concluded.

(*)See in detail and in several languages: