As we witness a wave of citizens engagement and deliberative democracy initiatives (OECD, 2020), we want to ensure that participation is here to stay and become embedded in modes of governance and through legislation for the long-term. Whilst projects-based interventions still have a place, as they help demonstrate the value and impact that participation can have, at Democratic Society we will focus our effort on ensuring that we start building infrastructures for participation, so that this is more equitable, inclusive, impactful and fit for the long run.
We will know we are making progress in this field when (from the shorter to the longer term):
- Participation is not an after-thought but is planned in advance, well-resourced and embedded in democratic practices;
- Citizens, social movements and organised groups have the opportunities, the information, and the confidence to participate on a par with other actors and shape key decisions within society;
- A healthy public space (including the digital space) is ensured, where conflict is allowed in a respectful and constructive way, where each other’s rights to a voice and an opinion are recognised, and people are willing to listen and collaborate for societal good;
- Through better and deeper participation our democracies are able to address effectively the most pressing issues of our time (migration, digitalisation, climate change, etc) and our democratic systems will be more stable overall.