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Public Participation and Civic Involvement: Responses to the Democratic Deficit in Europe and Latin America (2013)

Welcome to the website of the project “Public Participation and Civic Involvement: Responses to the Democratic Deficit in Europe and Latin America” realized by the Institute of Public Affairs in cooperation with Centro de Estudios Enzo Faletto - Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH).

Project will focus on the problem of democratic deficit, which is understood as a weakening of the legitimacy of basic institutions of democratic states (parliament, the government, to local authorities) and ritualization of democratic processes. The Institute of Public Affairs and Centro de Estudios Enzo Faletto, basing on their experience in implementation of other similar projects and analysis of current socio-political situation in both countries/regions assume that one of the most effective means to prevent the deepening of the democratic deficit and negative effects of this phenomenon, are actions to raise the level of activity and participation of citizens (individual and organized) in public life. This might be achieved e.g. by implementing participatory democracy solutions (e.g. by creating solutions that enable citizens to take part in decision-making – consultation procedures, promoting popular initiatives, public hearings, etc.), strengthening the role of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), broadening possibilities to exercise social control of power (e.g. improving access to public information), introducing solutions making traditional mechanisms of public participation more effective (e.g. e-voting). These and other pro-participatory solutions may activate citizens and reduce the problem of democratic deficit.
The main goal of the project will be to conduct a comparative analysis of the nature of the democratic deficit in Chile/Latin America and Poland/EU and to identify instruments which increase the level of civic activity that can be used in order to limit negative effects of this problem (effectiveness of these instruments, possibility of their use, their advantages and disadvantages, etc.).

Possibility of carrying out such an analysis in different social and political contexts of Chile/Latin America and Poland / EU creates a unique opportunity to look at the problem of democratic deficit from a broader, global perspective and to formulate an innovative approach to this problem, which might contribute to public policies and further research and analysis.
This purpose will be served by the main activities of the project:
• a report on the determinants of the democratic deficit in Chile/Latin America and Poland/EU,
• policy briefs – short publications on selected key aspects of the democratic deficit in both countries/regions,
• study visits to Chile and Poland (for both partner organizations), combined with seminars on the democratic deficit in the two regions.
The results expected:
The project will increase the interest in relations between Chile/Latin America and Poland/European Union in both regions/countries. Currently the exchange of information and knowledge, especially between the two countries, Poland and Chile, is not too intense. At the same time a transatlantic exchange of experiences creates an opportunity to look at the reality in both countries, regions in new ways. We hope that the project will encourage CSOs, experts and policy-makers to seek opportunities for cooperation, common projects, and exchange of knowledge, especially in the area of strengthening civil society and overcoming the problem of democratic deficit.
We want our project to be also an opportunity for Chilean and Polish societies to learn about the situation in both countries and regions (Latin America and Europe), to collaborate with an academic material that could become the basis or genesis of governments’ public policies, to arouse interest within the project target groups (CSOs, experts, academics and policy-makers), and to inspire them to cooperate. We decided to help those who want to learn more about these issues, by creating this website. There will be published information about the project, links to the comments, publications and reports about the problem of democratic deficit in Europe and South America. The website will be in English, while the publications posted on it will be in English, Polish or Spanish. 

Activities and events in the project >>>>

Information about organizations >>>>

People involved in the project >>>>

Articles, reports, publications, seminars >>>>

Project supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundations             

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