Digital innovation and new technologies have become a potential game changer in the relationship between citizens and government. AER and its member regions have long been active in coming to grips with the challenges and opportunities digital tools present to public authorities. 2016’s AER General Assembly and Spring Bureau, for example, saw representatives of our member regions and the Youth Regional Network exchange with representatives of the Council of Europe and the Baltic Institute of Finland on (R)e-inventing democracy and the disruptive nature of technology, Notably, regions shared good practices in employing digital technologies to enhance the participatory nature of regional democracy. From these conversations the AER Bureau adopted the Declaration on (R)e-inventing democracy, laying out a regional approach to the future of democracy.
WeGovNow is a project that seeks to make strides in this same direction. Its partners are driven by the conviction that now is the time for eGovernment to become ‘We-Government.’ This means moving away from a vision of citizens as mere customers of public services toward an understanding of citizens as active partners. To this end, the WeGovNow project is exploring the feasibility and impacts of a new type of civic engagement platform.
The project is funded as a Research and Innovation Action under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme. Twelve organisations from six countries have joined forces to develop a new online platform for civic participation and pilot this platform under day-to-day conditions in three European cities. With the WeGovNow project coming to an end after three years, it is now the time to discuss what has been achieved and the project’s bottom-up WeGovernment approach more generally.
AER members are invited to attend a WeGovNow Webinar on Friday, 1 February 2019 between 11:00 – 12:00 (CET). This Webinar will shed light on the achievements of the WeGovNow initiative and on key lessons learned. Register now to here about public pilots carried out in San Doná di Piave, the City of Turin and the London Borough of Southwark. If you are interested in finding ways to enhance transparency of governance in your territory, the reach of your consultation measures, and to tap into the dynamism and wealth of knowledge to be found in your citizenry, you may find potential solutions in the tool-box-style service developed under the project.
Those who would like a more sustained, in-person exchange on these topics should register for the international workshop on WeGovNow in Padua (IT) on 25 January 2019. The event can also be followed remotely at the link above.
These events are excellent opportunities for all those wanting to stay in the loop on exciting developments in technology’s role in participatory democracy.