DECISIVE Project - Development Of Cypriot Twinning Capacities Through Active Volunteering

Friday, 30 September 2011

Type: EU Project
Category: European Projects

Project No. 2009 – 3592 / 001 – 001

After a proposal submitted by the Union of Cyprus Municipalities (UCM) in the framework of the “Europe for Citizens” programme (Action 1: Measure 2.2 Support measures), the European Commission decided through the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) to finance the training of volunteers in the Municipalities of Cyprus, in order to support the development of Twinnings with other European countries.

The project had a duration of 12 months, starting from the 4th January 2010 and the partners were: the Union of Cyprus Municipalities (UCM), the Vereniging van Vlaamse Steden en Gemeenten (VVSG) – Belgium and the Local Union of Municipalities and Communites of Prefecture Chios (TEDK CHIOS) – Greece.

 

Aim

Cypriot municipalities have been underexploiting the possibilities offered by Town Twinning. According to the results of a survey conducted by the UCM, the main reasons for that were: a) geographical distance, b) lack of information on town twinning and most importantly c) lack of qualified municipal personnel (to fill in applications and run the projects). The main aim of the DECISIVE project was to try and solve these three problems.

 

Methodology

After discussing with different associations of local authorities around Europe, we have decided to exploit and develop in Cyprus and Chios the methodology used in Flanders: it is the citizens themselves that voluntarily prepare and run twinnings. This method not only alleviates the administrative burden from municipalities but also strengthens the citizens’ feeling of ownership over the projects.

DECISIVE, therefore, focused on developing voluntarism and transferring knowhow from Flanders to Cyprus and Chios, through training sessions in Cyprus and Belgium.

 

Eligibility

Potentially interested citizens from each municipality were: students or graduates who want to work on EU affairs or Public Administration / Finance, retired Municipal or Public Administration officers, unemployed who want to develop new skills or any other active citizen who wants to get to know closely the functioning of his Municipality or of the European Union. Officers and elected municipal officials were also eligible.

 

Activities

The volunteers and officers were trained in Cyprus and Belgium during three training events. The first one took place in Cyprus with the participation of 250 volunteers. After this first training session, a group of 39 Cypriot municipal officers and volunteers along with one representative of f TEDK Chios travelled to Brussels for a series of practical training sessions. A final conference took place again in Cyprus with the participation of 150 volunteers who have formed teams, which will be in cooperation with their municipalities, in order to implement twinning projects. Their work is facilitated by the Union of Cyprus Municipalities through the creation of a “matching” web page.

 

Project activities

09/05/2010: 9th of May Dissemination Activities
18/05/2010: First training session in Cyprus
02/07/2010: Dissemination event in Cyprus
02/11/2010: Study visit in Brussels (Belgium)
16/11/2010: Dissemination event: General Assembly of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities
23/11/2010: Second training session in Cyprus

More information on the activities of the project can be found in the four issues of the “Municipal News” newsletter that were published in 2010.

 

Project results and conclusions

For 12 months, the Union of Municipalities and Communities of Flanders from Belgium (VVSG), the Local Union of Municipalities and Communities of Chios Prefecture from Greece (TEDK Chios) and the Union of Cyprus Municipalities, tried to see whether they could apply in Cyprus and Greece the methodology which is followed by many municipalities in Flanders, when they are involved in twinnings. The main results and conclusions of this effort are available here.

 

The partners

 

UNION OF CYPRUS MUNICIPALITIES:

The Union of Cyprus Municipalities is the main association of Local Authorities in Cyprus. Its core functions are to contribute to the development of local government autonomy, as well as to act as spokesman of local government interests vis-a-vis the central government and other national institutions. It also takes an active stand in the relations between Cyprus and the European Union.

 

VVSG – Belgium:

As representative organisation of all Flemish local authorities the VVSG has been involved in town twinning for many years. The association organised enquiries on the state of the art of town twinning, has set up the first twinning market (1996 – 2007), organised workshops and training seminars for the municipalities on a regular basis and has produced a number of publications. The most recent (December 2007) is entitled: Europe from bottom-up: Town twinning in the 21st century. The VVSG is active member of the town twinning network of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR).

 

TEDK CHIOS – Greece:

The Local Union of Municipalities and Communities of Prefecture Chios (TEDK CHIOS) is the main association of Local Authorities in Prefecture Chios and the mainly local coordinator and policy maker for them. Its core functions are to contribute to the development of local government autonomy, as well as to act as spokesman of local government interests vis-a-vis the central government and other national institutions. It also takes an active stand in the relations between province of Chios, Greek Government and the European Union.

 

The Europe for Citizens Programme

The aim of the “Europe for Citizens” programme is to bring Europe closer to its citizens and to enable them to participate fully in the European construction. Through this programme, citizens have the opportunity to be involved in transnational exchanges and cooperation activities, contributing to developing a sense of belonging to common European ideals and encouraging the process of European integration. More information can be found at: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/citizenship/index_en.php.


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DECISIVE: DEVELOPMENT OF CYPRIOT TWINNING CAPACITIES THROUGH ACTIVE VOLUNTEERING
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MUNICIPAL NEWS
31/03/2010

Issue 9: January - March 2010
MUNICIPAL NEWS
30/06/2010

Issue 10: April - June 2010
MUNICIPAL NEWS
30/09/2010

Issue 11: July - September 2010
MUNICIPAL NEWS
31/12/2010

Issue 12: October - December 2010