On 17 December the international development cooperation and education seminar “Tell me your story…” took place in Ogre Central Library and online, the recording of which can be viewed on the YouTube channel of the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments.
"The more cooperation partners get involved in the event, the greater the added value of each event, which in the future will certainly give a much broader view of a problem and a much better solution for how we work, think and live," said the Chairman of the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments, Bureau Member of the European Committee of the Regions' Conference of Regional and Local Authorities for the Eastern Partnership (CORLEAP) Mr Gints Kaminskis.
Speaking about cooperation partners, Mrs Madara Siliņa, Head of the Development Cooperation Policy Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, emphasized that the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments has been a long-term partner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in development cooperation and global education projects: “The Eastern Partnership Summit has just concluded, reaffirming the European Union's support for stability, prosperity and reform in the Eastern Partnership region and for working together to achieve these goals and global regional challenges. I am very pleased that the Summit declaration also highlighted the importance of local authorities and the CORLEAP, for example in advocating for development outside the capitals, as well as the importance of climate change, which you will talk about today.”
At the same time, the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that inclusive governance and the involvement of civil society were mentioned as one of the priorities in the Summit Declaration, and Latvian municipalities are actively working in this area. In practice, Latvia's support for the implementation of these goals is provided through development cooperation instruments - the Eastern Partnership countries Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova, as well as the countries of the Central Asian region, such as Kyrgyzstan - to improve the economic, political and prosperity of these countries. “In 2022 the development cooperation budget will increase significantly, and these additional resources will allow for a much wider implementation of Latvia’s development cooperation policy. We plan to announce call for project applications already at the beginning of the year,” says Siliņa, at the same time emphasizing that the daily cooperation of local governments is a good first step to start development cooperation projects on a larger scale.
Likewise, Mrs Lur Fernandez Salinas, PLATFORMA Project Officer in the field of development education and awareness raising, also spoke at the seminar about the upcoming funding opportunities in the framework of the DEAR programme in 2022. The forthcoming call for proposals in the spring will be published on the European Commission's website and the activities to be supported are expected to be in three areas: awareness raising and non-formal learning, formal and non-formal education, and support measures.
In order to raise the inspiration for new project activities the representatives from Ogre municipal council, France, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Denmark shared their experience in implementing activities in the fields of climate, ecotourism, social entrepreneurship and education. The seminar was also an opportunity to get acquainted with the European Commission's new initiative “Education for Climate”, the platform, where anyone working in the field of education and interested in educating about climate issues will be able to find like-minded people and common ideas for activities and projects.
In order to foster the creation of new stories and telling them, the Latvian writer Nora Ikstena, the author of the books “Celebration of Life”, “Life Stories” and many others, shared in the seminar her thoughts on the meaning of stories: “I remember the story of Imants Ziedonis when we were writing “The Indefinite Was”. He told me that he was walking down a country road, it was the summer time, his hair was fluttering in the air and then he met the story, which was literally falling over him. And I didn't understand at the time how it might be that you were meeting a story, but at the same time you let it go. It is such a coincidence. It has happened a lot in my life and I am grateful that I have met so many stories and have written them down.”
The event was organized by the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, Ogre municipal council and PLATFORMA. You will find the presentations shown during the seminar at the end of the article.