Winter School on Participatory Democracy Tools – ENGAGE CITIZENS IN LOCAL DECISION-MAKING!

Winter School on Participatory Democracy Tools Tbilisi, Georgia

Application Deadline: 25/10/2021

The Council of Europe invites practitioners from local authorities and civil society from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine, those countries where the Division of Elections and Participatory Democracy carries out cooperation activities, and who wish to broaden their knowledge of participatory democracy concepts and tools at local level to attend the first Winter School on Participatory Democracy Tools.

The Winter School is organised by the Division of Elections and Participatory Democracy of the Council of Europe. Standards and instruments of the Council of Europe on participatory democracy will be presented by international experts with broad experience in the field, and an interactive learning environment will provide opportunities to learn about best practice examples, to share experiences and to interact with experts and other practitioners on how to effectively engage citizens in political decision-making.

The Winter School comprises an online preparation and introduction meeting and the Winter School itself in Tbilisi.

The Preparation and Introduction Meeting will introduce the participants to concepts and values underlying civil participation in political decision-making and share Council of Europe standards and guidelines on civil participation. It will address some of the most prevalent challenges that the participants face in increasing citizen engagement and introduce the agenda for the Tbilisi Winter School.

At the Winter School in Tbilisi, participants will meet for an event that will combine presentations, case studies, tools, and models for inclusive citizen engagement with interactive group exercises and roundtable discussions. The sessions will cover a variety of approaches to citizens engagement at the local level, strategies for maximising inclusion, exercises for designing public consultations plans, and include toolkits and case studies on a range of themes pertinent to participatory policymaking at the local level, including public space planning, urban planning, and participatory budgeting.

Six complementary online follow-up sessions will be offered after the Winter School to deepen knowledge of specific tools, and a final experience-sharing event will provide space to finalise the learning process.

Who can participate?

Public officials (including elected officials) from local authorities and civil society representatives in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine. The participants are required to have working knowledge of English, as the training will be held in English. Participants from the side of government and civil society should be

already working or planning to work on shaping or implementing policy decisions where citizens engagement is an important driver of informed, effective, and sustainable policymaking.

What to expect of the Winter School?

The goal is to create a shared understanding and knowledge of Council of Europe’s values and standards on civil participation and relevant tools that can then be implemented in participants’ specific local contexts. (The draft agenda for the Induction Meeting and Winter School in Tbilisi are accessible here)

Lecturers:

The Winter School will be moderated by Jeff Lovitt, who designed the Council of Europe’s Participatory Democracy Academy, which has been implemented in Ukraine since 2019. He is the author of two Council of Europe books on Civil Participation in Political Decision-Making in the Eastern Partnership countries and is a member of the International Experts Panel of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

Other experts and authors of Council of Europe tools for fostering civic participation will demonstrate their experience and tools to engage citizens in decision-making processes.

Working Language: English

Logistics and costs:

The costs of participation (accommodation and travel) will be covered by the Council of Europe according to rules and regulations.

Dates:

Online induction meeting: 22 November 2021.

Winter school Tbilisi: 6-10 December 2021.

6 online courses: Feb 2022 Closure meeting: March 2022

Covid-19?

Please be aware of the COVID-19 safety measures in Georgia. All applicants have to be fully vaccinated OR undergo a PCR test before the travel to Georgia, and three days after the arrival (see for more regulations here). The Council of Europe assures to guard the necessary safety measures and asks participants to fill out the self-declaration and present it one day prior to the training at the hotel venue in Tbilisi.

Due to the unpredictable situation, the winter school might be transferred to another location or into an online format with a presence training at a later stage.

How to apply?

We invite interested practitioners of local authorities and civil society to fill out this application form (here) in order to apply for the winter school. The application deadline is 25/10/2021.

Contact and information: Anastasia STAJILA, Anastasia.STAJILA@coe.int (Strasbourg)

Pelagia MAKHAURI, Pelagia.MAKHAURI@coe.int (Tbilisi)

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