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Council of Europe adopts Guidelines for civil participation in political decision-making

civil participation guidelines coeECNL warmly welcomes the Council of Europe’s new Guidelines for civil participation in political decision-making, which were adopted by the body’s Committee of Ministers on 27th of September 2017.

The guidelines – which are based on practices and standards in Council of Europe member states, international standards and input received during public consultations – outline key principles for promoting dialogue, consultation and co-operation between civil society and the authorities. They contain recommendations focusing on four core types of public participation: the provision of timely information, the organization of consultations, the encouragement of dialogue and active public involvement.

The ultimate aim of the guidelines is to strengthen trust in and credibility of democratic institutions and to complement representative and direct democracy by broadening participation by individuals, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society at large.

The guidelines are a significant step forward in the promotion of participatory democracy in Council of Europe states. They provide a clear roadmap to effectively implement the right to civil participation for both states and civil society; this will make them an important reform and advocacy tool.

ECNL is proud to have supported the drafting process by providing expertise to the drafting group and developing a background report that informed the development of the guidelines. ECNL applauds in particular the guidelines’ emphasis on non-discrimination and the protection of fundamental rights as preconditions for civil participation.