Programme

Transversal sessions of the Local Democracy Academy 2024

Research and Practice for Empowering Local Democracy: From Local Initiatives to Global Transformation

Local Solutions, Global Impact

This session will explore innovative democratic initiatives at the local level that have far-reaching implications for anti-democratic challenges at the national and global levels. The session will examine case studies showcasing how local governments and local innovations, particularly within participatory democracy, can challenge ant-democratic trends.

Co-creation and Inclusive Governance

This session will examine the potential for co-creation between researchers and policy makers to collaborate to address complex democratic challenges. Based on participants’ experiences and current projects, this session will discuss collaborative approaches that involve citizens, stakeholders, and local leaders in the research process.

The Case for Democracy

This session will highlight policies and practices to address current global crises with democratic means. Here, we will discuss strategies for overcoming challenges to inclusivity and promoting equity during times of polarization, violence and climate change. It is not just about making the democracy resilient, but how societies are made more resilience through democracy.

Incubator of Research Ideas 

Democracy is in decline in many parts of the world, with tangible effects of polarization, violence and climate change. Local governments can and are playing an important role in counteracting this trend by sustaining and advancing democratic principles from below. Against this backdrop, the Local Democracy Academy will cultivate seeds of relevant research ideas to enhance the democratic potential of local governments to sustain democratic principles by addressing the following questions: 

  1. What can we learn from local democratic innovations?  
  1. How can we address anti-democratic challenges at the local, national, and global levels by researching local governments’ efforts to defend and deepen democracy? 
  1. How can researchers directly support local governments in their efforts to safeguard democracy?  
  1. How can local democracy prosper in authoritarian states? 

These will infuse the discussion in the thematic groups, but also be addressed in transversal sessions that include all participants and cut across all topics. 


Thematic groups 

Participants will be assigned to transdisciplinary, thematic groups, which correspond to focus areas of ICLD’s networks of Municipal Partnerships. Scholars should specify how their research is relevant to the specific problems of local governments in one or more of these networks. The thematic groups are: 

Climate Action 

This thematic group focuses on the role that local governments can and should play in climate change adaptation and mitigation. ICLD is supporting local governments in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia with projects that focus on increasing citizen influence in waste management, water supply, public transport, and urban planning, and on reducing climate-related vulnerabilities. 

Gender Equality 

This thematic group focuses on the role that local governments play in promoting gender equality. ICLD will soon provide support to local governments in Colombia and Guatemala with projects that focus on maternal health, urban planning, and inclusion of indigenous women in local decision-making.  

Democratic Resilience – Civic Engagement

This thematic group focuses on the role that local governments play in building democratic resilience in the face of crises, polarization, and autocratization. ICLD is supporting local governments in Ukraine, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Kosovo with projects around peacebuilding, preparedness, and the strengthening of democratic institutions.  

Democratic Resilience – Conflict

This thematic group focuses on the role that local governments play in building democratic resilience in the face of crises, polarization, and autocratization. ICLD is supporting local governments in Ukraine, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Kosovo with projects around peacebuilding, preparedness, and the strengthening of democratic institutions.  

Child and Youth Inclusion 

This thematic group focuses on the role that local governments play in including children and youth in decision-making that affects their futures. ICLD is supporting local governments in southern and eastern Africa with projects on youth and children participation, education, and sustainability.  

Human Rights Cities 

This thematic group focuses on the role that local governments play in safeguarding and advancing human rights within their communities. ICLD is supporting local governments in Botswana, Zambia, and South Africa with projects focusing on gender equality, disability rights, and youth inclusion.  

Local Democracy Labs 

The Academy’s Local Democracy Labs will provide a space for local government officials and politicians to meet researchers and exchange ideas. The aim of these conversations is to contribute to a more informed understanding of the issues at hand and how to address them. Local governments, engaged in ICLD’s Municipal Partnership Programme, can participate in the Labs virtually by sending a question they want to discuss with a group of researchers who specialize in the field. Labs are done in thematic groups. Researchers can contribute with their expertise, problematize the issues raised, share relevant cases and provide policy recommendations. The space will provide a friendly environment for sharing ideas and experiences among researchers and practitioners. 

Transversal sessions 

Local Solutions, Global Impact 

This session will explore innovative democratic initiatives at the local level that have far-reaching implications for anti-democratic challenges at the national and global levels. The session will examine case studies showcasing how local governments and local innovations, particularly within participatory democracy, can challenge anti-democratic trends.  

Co-creation and Inclusive Governance 

This session will examine the potential for co-creation between researchers and policy makers to collaborate to address complex democratic challenges. Based on participants’ experiences and current projects, this session will discuss collaborative approaches that involve citizens, stakeholders, and local leaders in the research process. 

The Case for Democracy 

This session will highlight policies and practices to address current global crises with democratic means. Here, we will discuss strategies for overcoming challenges to inclusivity and promoting equity during times of polarization, violence and climate change. It is not just about making the democracy resilient, but how societies are made more resilience through democracy.  

The full agenda will be available soon.


Preliminary Agenda – Local Democracy Academy 2024

Day 1

Sunday, 25 of August

ALL DAY

Arrival in Lund, Sweden


Day 2

Monday, 26th of August

09:00-10:00

Welcome to the Academy

Venue: Eden, Department of Political Science, Lund University

10:00-12:00

Interactive Exercise / World Café

13:00-15:40

Thematic Session: Paper Presentations

Participants present their papers and receive feedback from peers.

16:00-17:30

Panel: Hope and Local Democracy in Times of Crises: Local Governments as Architects of Global Transformation (Open Event)

What role can local governments play to strengthen democracy and have a global impact?

Venue: Eden, Department of Political Science, Lund University

Moderator: Johan Lilja, Secretary General at ICLD

Panelists: To be confirmed.


Day 3

Tuesday, 27th of August

9:00-10:30

Collaborative Research

Venue: Eden, Department of Political Science, Lund University

How can researchers and policymakers collaborate to address complex democratic challenges and produce change through research? Opportunities and challenges connecting research and practice.

11:00-12:30

Local Democracy Labs

Meet with local government representatives in Zoom to have a dialogue that contributes to a more informed understanding of the issues at hand. 

13:30-15:00

Roundtable Discussions

What are the emerging issues from the Academy thus far? Who else is working on issues percolating up?

Moderator: Jesse Ribot

15:30-17:30

Local Solutions, Global Impact

How can local innovations reach national and global impact? And what is the role of local governments in a) being resilient against anti-democratic trends, and b) reversing anti-democratic trends (i.e. promoting democracy)?

Moderator: ICLD and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)


Day 4

Wednesday, 28th of August

09:00-9:45

Plenary and Presentation: ‘Understanding the third wave of autocratization’

Venue: Eden, Department of Political Science, Lund University

The world is now experiencing the third wave of autocratization, with many democratic countries falling into democratic backsliding and many autocratic countries becoming even more authoritarian. This short lecture will present the latest global trends for democracy and autocracy and discuss the causes and patterns of this global transformation.

By Marina Nord, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, V-Dem

09:45-11:30

The Case for Democracy: Roleplaying Exercise

Moderator: Valeria Guarneros & Tomila Lankina

This session delves deeper into the changing nature towards autocratization, the legitimisation of illiberal democracies, or quasi-authoritarian regimes. The sessions aims to sharpen participants’ arguments for local democracy through a series of provocations that inspire them to think differently about what local democracy can do to counter these trends. 

13:30-16:00

Thematic Groups: Research Co-creation

Co-create ideas for research proposals and policy briefs; practical ideas for research conducted together with local governments. Preparations to pitch ideas for the final day.

16:30-18:00

Roundtable: The Role of Local Authorities in Challenging Times (Open Event)

Venue: Eden, Department of Political Science, Lund University

Moderator: Sten Hagberg

Panelists: To be confirmed.


Day 5

Thursday, 29th of August

08:00-8:30

Plenary

08:30-10:30

Pitch Session: Research in Practice for Global Transformation

Pitch co-created project ideas based on Local Democracy Labs, papers and research co-creation session.

Moderator: Maria José Zapata Campos

10:30-11:30

Wrap-up and Farewell

11:30-

Departure from Lund