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Practicalities of Participatory Democracy with International Institutions

Attitudinal, Quantitative and Qualitative Challenges (Part #1)

Prepared for the Union of International Associations in the light of the debate with respect to the European Constitution and the explorations of the UN Secretary-General's High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on Civil Society and UN Relationships

Core questions
Practical approaches to participative democracy
Electronic variants and developments of the above options
Review of the March 2004 Conference agenda
Practical considerations for a participative democracy

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The purpose of the following text is to draw attention to some of the issues relating to the practicalities of participative democracy as a major theme under discussion in relation to the new European Constitution (notably Article 46). The matter is to be the subject of a conference (8-9 March 2004) involving the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). A conference of European civil society is to also be held in Spring 2004 in Rome with the theme: "The European Civil Society - role in the Constitution process of the EU" Other relevant initiatives include:

  • The EESC has held a series of "Information and Dialogue Meetings with Civil Society Organisations and Networks" in relation to the European convention process. A Civil Society Contact Group has been created with the intention of developing a structured relationship with the Praesidium of the Convention.
  • An EESC conference was recently held on "Contribution of Organised Civil Society to the Lisbon Process - for a more participatory Union" (October 2003) at which "practical proposals" were presented "to get the Lisbon strategy back on track in time for the 2004 Spring Summit".

Many of the issues debated are also relevant in relation to the UN Secretary-General's High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on Civil Society and UN Relationships whose main task is to produce a set of practical recommendations for the Secretary General in April 2004 on how the UN's relationship with civil society, as well as with private sector and parliaments, could be improved (see the Terms of Reference).

proved (see the Terms of Reference).

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