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Reflections from the Managing Director of AEIDL

Aug 2, 2023 | News

Here at AEIDL we passionately believe that local development is a key tool for enhancing social and environmental wellbeing for European citizens and their communities, and for improving democratic engagement across Europe and its institutions.

We are pleased to see the European Union’s ongoing interest in this approach, and we are keen to continue to support local development approaches that shape better EU-level initiatives, that ensure the needs of local communities are met.

Recent calls from the European Commission continue to promote and support activities that are at the heart of AEIDL’s strategy as a local development association.

The Commission is continuing to address the role of values, perceptions, and socio-political behaviour in stimulating and sustaining change. In particular, social innovation and digitalisation are key change drivers that use cross cutting, multi-disciplinary methods to enable AEIDL and our partners across Europe to deliver tangible results in tackling climate change, environmental degradation and social exclusion.

This cross-cutting approach can be seen in the recently launched Rural Pact, which is connecting communities and bringing together rural actors to build from the bottom up, with the purpose of revitalising rural areas through collaboration and co-learning. In implementing the Rural Pact Support Office, we are creating synergies and complementarities in policy networks and activities across the EU, enabling and enhancing a rural development that builds stronger, connected, more prosperous and resilient rural areas.

This alignment of agendas, not just across European communities but also across EU Directorates, is crucial for the democratic development of Europe, and we are keen to keep up this momentum.

It is in this spirit that we launched the European Local Innovation Forum, an AEIDL initiative to build thematic communities in community-led social innovation and in territorial development. This year we launched our thematic community in Territorial Development, which brought together practitioners and experts from across Europe and its neighbourhood, to drive smart, green, and digital development in rural areas. We are very excited to see how this develops over the coming year.

We are also developing our new Strategic Plan to ensure we continue to deliver meaningful, inclusive local development that is ready to face the challenges of the future. The AEIDL General Assembly, Board, and staff working groups are collaborating intensively to identify new challenges, opportunities, and solutions to continue to support local leadership in Europe’s development.

We look forward to continuing to collaborate with our friends and partners and to keep you informed on the latest innovations in local development. I will take this opportunity to also invite you to join our European Forum for Local Development and its thematic communities.