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Civil Participation in Decision-Making

An Overview of Standards and Practices in Council of Europe Member States

The scope of the civil participation covered in the paper encompasses participation in decision-making processes by individuals and by their organisations. The overview describes the policy cycle in which participation occurs and describes the standards and practices from the perspective of the three main levels of participation: access to information, consultation and active partnership. The overview also provides examples of mechanisms and models, which promote broader dialogue as the overarching form of engagement that applies to all levels and phases.

The document overview describes existing standards and principles of participation by referring to key documents adopted by United Nations (UN) bodies as well as international conventions and documents adopted by the Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE. It further provides over a dozen of country examples of mechanisms and models from national level (parliament, government, ministries), as well as regional and local level, and practical examples from Council of Europe member states.

This paper was prepared by the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law in 2016 at request of the Council of Europe to support ongoing efforts in drafting the Guidelines on meaningful civil participation in political decision-making.