Advancing Citizen-driven Participation through Digital Tools
February 25 @ 10:00 am - 12:10 pm
Citizen-driven participation through digital tools has different shapes and forms. This conference will contribute to a better understanding on the benefits of broader citizen-driven participation and will promote a more profound acceptance of applying digital tools for civic participation among decision-makers and the society at large.
The goal is to assess the state of play of civic tech and to discuss its relevance – not only with practitioners in the field (as it happened during the three corresponding workshops in 2020) but also to include a wider range of stakeholders, such as policy makers and researchers. This will then not only help to identify how to further support and enable the growth of citizen-driven e-democracy tools, but also provide the space for a controversial debate.
Participants will also have the opportunity to learn about the findings from the recently published paper ‘Next Level Participation: Citizen-Driven E-Democracy Tools’, authored by ECAS’ Participatory Democracy Manager, Flavio Grazian, and Citizen Deliberation Coordinator Hendrik Nahr, for the European Liberal Forum (ELF). You can access and download the publication here.
This conference is jointly organised by the European Liberal Forum (ELF), with the support of the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS), the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and Projekt: Polska. It is held in the framework of the ‘eDemocracy: Driving citizen advocacy through digital means’ project.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Since governments across Europe are still very cautious towards enabling state-led eDemocracy initiatives for citizen involvement in policy-making, the project will research, collect, assess, and present the ever-growing number of innovative good practices for citizen’s-led, informal participation and governance scrutiny through digital means.
Rationale of the project
Digital tools allow for an unprecedented inclusion of citizens in all areas of public action, with the potential to improve the quality of democracy and governance through greater participation and citizen-centric policy-making. Governments, however, have taken radically different approaches across Europe, either facilitating or hindering eDemocracy. The 2017 ELF project “Digitalising Democracy: eParticipation” revealed that the eTools for formal participation such as eConsultations, eReferenda and ePetitions have been used with very limited scope, generally not meeting the public’s expectations for a true civic input. Citizens and civic groups see their role as true contributors, rather than just addressees of state policies, and are increasingly using online tools for informal participation and governance scrutiny. Various platforms put pressure on decision-makers through requiring increased transparency and accountability. Such instruments empower citizens to take democratic action, enable them to participate, and gradually raise political acceptance of the eDemocracy itself.
Building on the knowledge of the various forms of online participation (see former ELF project on eDemocracy) this project aims to exchange and evaluate good practices for informal citizen eParticipation on local and national level across Europe. The ELF member organisations and third parties are expected to have shared knowledge to foster civic engagement and facilitate a true civic impact on the political decision-making through digital tools, ultimately leading to a more citizen’s centric democracy, and a more transparent and accountable governance.