UPDATE: We are very pleased to announce that Citizen Participation Study is now available for download! You can get a copy of the entire Study HERE (pdf), or you can choose to download individual chapters from our resources page. The study will soon be available in print too!
Action Study of Citizen Participation across Europe
Jana Kunická and Joerg Forbrig at the planning session of the lead organizers of CPS, April 2011
As a part of its increased interest in being pro-active in strengthening democracy through encouraging citizen participation, the Citizens Network decided to launch an action oriented study that would provide a better assessment of the real situation regarding citizen participation. Anacdotal stories continued to be shared at the gatherings of the Network but it was difficult to assess whether any progress was being made. The idea emerged to create a document which could provide a better and more systematic analysis of what was actually happening in the area of citizen participation. In this study,a practical analysis of local citizen participation in Central and Eastern Europe as well as Western Europe would be conducted that assesses the scale and characteristics of local citizen participation, identifies obstacles and opportunities, collects examples of good local practice, and provides recommendations for training and capacity-building and citizen action. In this effort, the Network would be joined by the Combined European Bureau for Social Development
(CEBSD) whose membership until very recently was composed primarily of Western European organizations.
A successful first stage implemented a mapping-style research project. Its goal was to begin the process of a more systematic mapping of local participation in Europe. This was done in order to start building intellectual and experiential resources for network members, local activists and interested citizens, and to provide an advocacy tool for better communicating the need for local citizen participation vis-à-vis decision-makers and publics.This first stage began in earnest in April 2011, facilitated by seed funding from the International Visegrad Fund and the EU Commission’s Grundtvig and Lifelong Learning Programme. The collection of eight case studies from Romania, UK, Norway, Slovakia, Croatia, Spain, Hungary, and Poland will be finished by October 2011. This effort was guided by a taskforce of senior civil society experts and activists, including scholars,representatives of local communities, members of CEECN, and CEBSD.The second stage of the study will add three new dimensions; additional case studies, cross-cutting issues and printing. We want to add five more country case studies which will provide a wider scope of Europe. We plan to prepare country case studies of Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, Estonia and Austria.A new chapter on conditions will cover cross-cutting issues and elaborate on what facilitates
and what impedes local citizen participation in Europe. This chapter will include issues that have a significant affect on creating a more favorable environment for citizen engagement in local affairs. We anticipate it coving topics such as:
- Political, Institutional and Legislative Provisions for Citizen Participation
- Local Authorities, Institutions and Leadership
- Civil Society and other Intermediaries
- Civic Education
- Business Community
- Area-specific Culture and Heritage
The third dimension will be printing the study and related items. We are anticipating printing 2000 copies. The preparation of the second stage study will continue be guided by a task force of senior civil society experts and activists, including scholars,representatives of local communities, members of CEECN, and CEBSD. The third stage of the study will focus on building learning material from the information we have collected in phase 1 and 2. How do we build learning materials from what we have available? How can we use learning opportunities to make things better? New knowledge coming from making the Study will be utilised and by using different learning opportunities, we will focus on the transfer of knowledge.
READ THE STUDY ONLINE! Please add your comments at the bottom of the page