9 November 2021, 9.00-11.00 - Room 9 – Palais de l’Europe 

Sponsored by the European Collectivity of Alsace

Interpretation: FR/EN

There is no doubt that ongoing environmental degradation affects all people on the planet. However, everyone experiences it differently. For that reason, local initiatives are at the forefront of the search for practical solutions to overcome environmental threats directly impacting their communities.

Often these local solutions can be adapted to work in other places of the world, making it possible to effectively mitigate environmental risks on a global scale. What are the powerful examples of such local actions? What are the best practices to engage people in efforts to protect the environment? What is the role of local governments with regard to environmental protection? How can we strengthen the capacity for environmental action in all local stakeholders?

Lab 5 - Act Local, inspire global: Local initiatives making change

Full screen: ENFR / ORIGINAL

Room 9 – Palais de l’Europe 9 November 2021, 9.00-11.00
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initiative 1

World Clean Up Day, Estonia

Let’s Do It World is an international NGO which tackles the environmental challenges related to the global mismanaged solid waste problem, by mobilising millions of positive-minded people to participate in coordinated local and global actions. World Cleanup Day is the largest single peacetime civic action in human history, aimed at raising awareness of the scale of the global mismanaged waste crisis threatening the environment and the lives of millions of people. On 15 September 2018, World Cleanup Day united 17,6 million people across 157 countries, on 21 September 2019, World Cleanup Day united 21.2 million people already across 180 countries and territories for the biggest waste collection day in human history. An epic 36-hour green wave of clean-ups stretched across the globe – beginning in Fiji and travelling around the world before ending in Hawaii.




President and Head of the Global Network at Let's Do It World


She is the Founder, President and Head of the Global Network at Let’s Do It World NGO. With belief that everything is possible, the biggest task to her during 2016 – 2018 was to create the worldwide network in 150 countries, with whom in Let’s Do It World to lead the World Cleanup Day and work for the waste free world. Heidi does have experience from private, public and non -governmental sector, with a mix of strategic and practical expertise in Human Resource Management, in leadership capacity building, organizational development, circular economy and in CSR.  Heidi is also accredited consultant and assessor, mentor and trainer.

initiative 2

#UnÁrbolPorEuropa (#ATreeForEurope), Spain

#UnÁrbolPorEuropa (#ATreeForEurope) is a campaign that aims to convince every mayor in Spain to plant at least one tree in their municipality and commit to involve young people in decision-making processes about sustainable development in Europe. It was launched in October 2019 with the support of the European Parliament Liaison Office in Spain. Ever since, almost 200 Mayors have joined the campaign and over 3,000 trees have been planted all over Spain. Besides planting the trees, they offer Mayors to join them in an intergenerational dialogue, called European Dialogue for Local Sustainability, where young people and local authorities have the opportunity to come together and discuss how local sustainability can be promoted in Europe.




National project coordinator of #UnÁrbolPorEuropa


Ana Isabel is a specialist in European Affairs at the Board of Communities of Castilla-La Mancha. She studied a Masters degree in European integration and European law at Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, and previously graduated from a Bachelors in Translation and Interpreting at Universidad de Granada. She is currently the national project coordinator of #UnÁrbolPorEuropa (#ATreeForEurope), a campaign launched by Equipo Europa and focused on promoting local sustainability in Europe.

initiative 3

ORSP - Defend the Rivers of Stara Planina - form defending the justice (of the laws and basic human rights) to the progressiveness and reactiveness in imagining justice, Serbia

ORSP primarily advocates a ban on the construction of MDHP on Stara Planina, as well as on the entire territory of Serbia due to the extremely harmful effect on nature and life-quality of locals who are not informed and do not agree with the construction of MDHP. ORSP is unique democratic organisation without boards in which members organise through social networks. In its actions ORSP includes locals, local communities, people who are experts in legal issues, lawyers who perform legal correspondence (writing lawsuits, complaints and objections), university professors and experts in the fields of civil engineering, forestry, hydrology and ecology who are working on technical documentations, and people who join as activists. ORSP’s main goal is to make the right to make water resources a public good and to make free access to water, as a basic civil right, a constitutional category. Serbian constitution now does not recognise access to fresh water as basic human right. To stop construction ORSP is taking actions through institutions, but also on the ground. On the ground ORSP alerts locals who are not consulted as this kind of projects is built with caricatured public insight where MDHP are presented as watermills. At the same time ORSP’s legal team is trying to get an insight in legal documentation and permits for building that kind of infrastructure in natural parks, use of public infrastructure and trespassing through private property.


JONIC Dragan M.

Dragan M. JONIĆ

Activist, ORSP (Defend the Rivers of the Stara Planina)


Rebel with an adamant cause. Self-styled eco evangelist. Member of the informal Serbian activist movement ORSP (Defend the Rivers of the Stara Planina). Translator, author and essayist. Avid advocate of heritage animal breeding and Coordinator of the Wisent Rewilding Project in Serbia. Dispeller of spins, conspiracy theories and deceptions. Motto: Make you a speaker of words and one accomplished in action.

initiative 4

The Climate Hub, Greece

(Hors Concours)

To create a Hub at ELIAMEP as a steppingstone for a regional Climate Hub for Southeastern Europe based in Athens. The Hub will:

  • Collect and assess in one place the stakeholder’s initiatives, scientific data, best practices, legal commitments at local and national level targeting Climate change and climate neutrality in Greece
  • Source and render relevant data more transparent and accessible.
  • Increase the relevance and impact of private and social sector initiatives relative to Greece’s commitments, in this way connecting policy and practice.
  • Bring together national regional and local stakeholders and facilitate networking within Greece and beyond.
  • Empower, reinforce, give the tools to a community already acting in favour of mitigation and adaptation measures.
  • Enhance public awareness and launch an open dialogue, so that the potential of this community increases in size and power.
  • Create an online platform that will be the backbone of the Hub.
  • Develop data driven policy recommendations
  • Operate as an independent one stop shop reference point.
  • Develop 3-5 high-impact urban transformational projects that foster resilience and recovery raising capacity in local administrations using green transformation as an entry point.
  • Create a specialized on-line and off-line educational component for sustainability related information and skills leading to new green jobs creation
  • Contribute to a growing community of international actors elevating policies, programs and projects that drive resilience and recovery.
  • Use the tools of deliberative democracy to get citizens engaged
  • Conduct a campaign to inform the Media




The Democracy & Culture Foundation


She is a senior Policy Advisor at ELIAMEP, Minister Counselor ad honorem, Economist, former Expert Minister Counselor on European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece and the Permanent Representation of Greece, as well as with the European Commission. She has served as Special Secretary for the development of international projects at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and head of office of the former Mayor of Athens and Chairman of the Athens Development and Destination Management Agency. She is currently leading the program “Building Resilience and Recovery in Greece and S.E Europe”, as Senior Policy Advisor at ELIAMEP.
TSALTAS Achilles

Achilles TSALTAS

President of the Democracy & Culture Foundation

United Kingdom

Achilles Tsaltas is president of the Democracy & Culture Foundation an independent, nonprofit organization. Born in Australia of Greek origin, he started his media career in 1989 in the advertising department at News Corporation. During his tenure, he launched the business magazine Business Asia, and relaunched the paper’s The Australian Magazine. He moved to Hong Kong in 1999 to join The International Herald Tribune as deputy managing director and in 2004, he moved to Paris as vice president, international circulation and served in a number of executive roles in his two decades of service with The New York Times Company, ultimately relocating to London to become vice president, international conferences in 2014. In 2019, Mr. Tsaltas established the Democracy & Culture Foundation. With a mission to empower society through citizen engagement and better governance, the Foundation develops, programs and convenes the two conferences he conceived at The Times – the Athens Democracy Forum and Art for Tomorrow.


Discussants are invited to take part in the Labs in order to share their experience with the presented democratic initiatives and try to bring broader perspectives to the following discussions.



WFD Youth Delegate

United Kingdom

Rhys is a proud European citizen from Wales who is currently studying an advanced Master’s degree in European Interdisciplinary Studies at the College of Europe in Natolin. With a BA in Italian and Spanish Philology, an MA in an Erasmus Mundus Masters (Euroculture) and a traineeship with the Youth Department of the Council of Europe under his belt, his academic focuses lie in (inclusive and meaningful) youth participation, European democracy and artificial intelligence regulation. Over the last four years, Rhys has dedicated most of his free time to engaging young people with EU institutions and European democracy through volunteering in a variety of non-formal educational projects, especially as part of 8+ different Model European Union simulations and acting as Director General of MEUS 2021. When not studying or volunteering, Rhys is passionate about learning languages, hiking, live music and raising awareness of epilepsy and chronic health conditions.



WFD Youth Delegate


Halim lives in North Borneo. After three years serving as the expert staff in his hometown parliament office, in 2019 he was running for the city council as the youngest candidate. Six months after the campaign, Halim founded a youth initiative by using his campaign slogan of "We Are Young and We Can" as the organization's name advocating youth leadership in the grassroots. As a consultant in international cooperation between German and Indonesian governments for a forest and climate change program, Halim worked closely with local farmers and young agroforestry experts, promoting forest conservation. Halim earned bachelor's and master's in civil engineering from Maranatha Christian University (Indonesia) and National Cheng Kung University (Taiwan). Last year, he was selected by the U.S. Department of State to participate in the regional workshop on good governance and civil society for young leaders in Southeast Asia.

MEUWLY Christian

Christian MEUWLY

Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the Council of Europe




Master's student in international relations, Sciences PO, Strasbourg, France