A key principle of public debate In this document and in Article 28 of the Oviedo Convention the overarching concept of ‘public debate’ is used to describe discursive interactions in the public sphere (that is, not in a professional context) through which individuals and groups may identify, explore and resolve their different interests in matters that affect (or potentially affect) them all. is that it should respect the interests and freedoms of participants Public authorities, experts and citizens all may be regarded as participants in a public engagement activity or debate., a principle which also lies at the foundation of human rights. The effectiveness of public debate activities An organised activity, delimited in scope, intended to stimulate and to attend to public debate on a specific theme in the expectation that it will inform or influence policy development or governance. cannot be assured by design alone but requires them to be conducted in accordance with principles of procedural justice.

Procedural measures can help to counteract imbalances or inequalities among those involved, including those participating in and those initiating or sponsoring public debate activities.

 Identifying or setting out principles of conduct to be observed in a public debate activity can help to increase transparency and support accountability.