The G1000, participatory budgets, Transition towns and transition networks, the Citizens' Parliament....
In Belgium (and throughout the world), different collectives are launching and developing initiatives that put citizens back at the heart of political decision-making.
To make better progress, let's work together!
Over the years, these different initiatives have made connections with each other. They've set up a network for Participatory Democracy, established meeting places, and ways to share tools.
The 'RelEx' Working Group links Agora to these other initiatives in order to create synergy, share knowledge and promote participatory democracy.
We have a collaborative and self-managed virtual space called 'DemoPart.be' which was set up so everyone can share resources, promote events, and build links between different networks. You are free to use this, and keep adding to it!
There is an events calendar, a list of people involved, and some methods and tools.
A virtual space for sharing resources
Several networks exist at the international level. Participedia for example is global network and crowdsourcing platform for researchers, educators, practitioners, policymakers, activists, and anyone interested in public participation and democratic innovations.
Each September, members of the network organise a workshop on participatory democracy at the Festival 'Maintenant' in Louvain-La-Neuve. We meet there, share ideas, and make plans for future activities.
The first steps taken on the official level
Some elected officials and official institutions are slowly growing aware of this momentum towards democratic renewal, and are beginning to try out some official initiatives for citizen deliberation. These include:
the permanent Citizen Council of the German-speaking Community of Belgium;
mixed deliberative committees involving citizens and parliamentarians of the Brussels Parliament.
Agora is not associated with these official initiatives. At the same time, thanks to its representation in the Brussels Parliament, Agora has made a significant contribution to the design of the mixed committees of the Parliament: it voted in favor of their establishment (even delivering the decisive vote) and we continue to keep a very careful eye on them and monitor their development.