Climate Change, Local Communities and the Participation of the Citizenry: Nataša Vučković at the roundtable of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
Let’s Talk Local: Cities and Citizens in the Fight Against Climate Change
Nataša Vučković, Executive Director at the CDF participated in the roundtable Let’s Talk Local: Cities and Citizens in the Fight Against Climate Change organised by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (CLRA) via the World Forum for Democracy held 26 April 2021.
Successful local and regional initiatives concerning sustainability and green transition were presented at the roundtable, with special emphasis on citizen participation.
Nataša Vučković participated as a member of the BoD of ALDA European Association for Local Democracy operating out of Strasburg. In speaking about the possibility of the impact of local initiatives on policy at the national, regional and international levels, she pointed out that the key issue is democratic - whether policies are created through dialogue with all key actors, whether there is a framework for citizen participation and that an important issue is the degree of decentralisation: if local governments act simply as transmitters of central governments, then even with citizen participation, policy-making at the local level is impossible. In this case, there is no local ownership of development processes within the local community, which leads to issues concerning implementation on the one hand, and on the other hand, ignores the real needs of the local community and its people.
To illustrate this, she mentioned the mini hydro power plant projects in Serbia which were started without the participation of the citizenry and rightfully so, met with huge resistance from those living in small mountain villages, considering the alarming consequences that the building of such mini power plants would have on destroying the natural environment, rivers and streams, and therefore the livelihoods of the inhabitants of these areas. This resistance of the people, which has gone on now for many years now, has become a symbol of the environmental preservation movement in Serbia.
In this context, she spoke of the significant activities of ALDA, which focused on the following issues: 1) Adapting to climate change at urban and rural levels, 2) Responding to flood risks and soil conservation, 3) Biodiversity conservation and 4) Sustainable food production systems.
The roundtable was opened by Congress President Leendert Verbeek and the Mayor of Strasbourg, Jeanne Barseghian.
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