Civil Participation in Decision-Making Processes

Einen Überblick über Standards und Praktiken der Bürgerbeteiligung in den Mitgliedstaaten des Europarates hat das European Committee on Democracy and Governance (CDDG) vorgelegt.

The following paper provides the requested overview to support the development of the Council of Europe guidelines and their implementation on national level. The paper is developed based on a desktop review of existing materials on participation, recognizing that there has been a number of theoretical papers and research conducted in order to identify practices and models in countries in Europe. The scope of the civil participation covered in the overview encompasses participation in decision-making processes by individuals and by their organisations. The overview describes the policy cycle in which participation occurs and describes the standards and practices from the perspective of the three main levels of participation: access to information, consultation and active partnership. The overview also provides examples of mechanisms and models which promote broader dialogue as the overarching form of engagement that applies to all levels and phases.
The standards for participation have evolved over the past years, not only in Europe but also internationally. Therefore, this overview describes the existing standards and principles of participation by referring to key documents adopted by United Nations (UN) bodies as well as international conventions and documents adopted by the Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE.
The overview provides country examples of mechanisms and models from national level (parliament, government, ministries), as well as regional and local level, and provides practical examples from Council of Europe member states. These examples were selected according to the following criteria:
– whether the mechanisms and initiatives support meaningful participation, i.e. there is information that they are effective in practice or have the potential to be effective if the relevant conditions are met;
– whether they include some innovative approach;
– whether they have the potential to serve as models and be transferable;
– whether there are already some lessons learned in the process of their implementation;
– whether they have the potential to contribute to sustainable and longer term participation, partnership and dialogue.

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