Putting communities at the heart of the process

Krakow Board and Event

In 2004 the Combined European Bureau for Social Development (now the European Community Development Network), with International Association for Community Development and the Hungarian Association for Community Development under the patronage of the President of Hungary published ‘The Budapest Declaration – Building European civil society through community development’. Last year during their 25th Anniversary they collected case studies from across Europe, they invited individuals who had been key movers in community development to reflect on the past 25 years and comment on the current issues and opportunities.


The European Community Development Network discussed these in Poland and drafted a new declaration and mission statement on community development in Europe which was adopted in Krakow – the Krakow Declaration. Parts of this have been incorporated into a new EuCDN brochure and it and the Declaration and mission statement are available on their website.

At the heart of it is the belief that; achieving real and lasting outcomes for communities requires that communities are at the heart of the process of action for change, and that the experiences, concerns and interests of communities are central to the analysis. The issues associated with inequality and social injustice are addressed an approach which is participative, bringing together community and other interests to look to the future and establish a shared vision of sought outcomes.

Given the role which Hungary played in the Budapest declaration it seems incongruous the direction community development in the country is going. EuCDN in a members update, had reported and expressed concerns over the worsening situation in Hungary. which had forced over 200 NGOs including HACD,  to sign a resolution against proposed state legislation to control their work. The resolution was replicated in the update in full but the key para read;

"We, the undersigned NGOs resolve to reject the Hungarian Government’s aspirations to restrict and stigmatise civil society. We are necessary to Hungarian society to deal with and monitor matters that others do not pay enough attention to. We stand up for ourselves and for each other".