“Deliberative democracy is a method to further promote citizen participation, build trust and enhance the health of our democracies”, highlighted the Chair of the Governance Committee of the Congress, Jelena Drenjanin (Sweden, EPP/CCE), addressing some 100 participants during the event aimed at fostering deliberative processes at local level in Ukraine, held online on 2 March 2023.
Ms Drenjanin commended Ukrainian local authorities for championing open government initiatives and for their engagement and co-creation with civil society organisations. “The Congress stands ready to support you by further involving all inhabitants in your communities in local political, social and cultural life”, she stressed.
The Congress Spokesperson on the Observation of Elections, Stewart Dickson (United Kingdom, ILDG), underlined that deliberation practices have proven to be efficient in strengthening inclusive democracy-building and collaborative decision-making. “This leads to increased accountability and legitimacy, and ultimately to greater trust in local public institutions”, he added.
The Deputy Mayor of Gdansk (Poland) Monika Chabior and the First Deputy Director of Public Communications of the City of Kyiv Dmytro Ruban, contributed to the event by presenting good practices of innovative approaches complementary to traditional forms of citizen participation.
As a result of the exchanges, Ukrainian local authorities expressed strong interest and readiness to introduce deliberative democracy models in their local communities. The exchange allowed participants to further learn about the key ingredients a deliberative process should embed, namely transparency, randomness, and inclusiveness. They also discussed the ways to introduce this pioneering approach in times of war and increased challenges faced by them.
The event was organised as part of the project “Strengthening multi-level governance, democracy and human rights at local level in Ukraine” implemented by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities within the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine “Resilience, Recovery and Reconstruction” for 2023-2026. The project aims to strengthen the dialogue, partnership and consultation between different levels of government; enhance collaborative governance and citizen participation in line with the principles of local democracy and open government; and promote and guarantee the right to equality and non-discrimination at local level, for the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine.