As internet fora are becoming tools of political mobilisation and debate, a Congress report, adopted on 14 October, invites local authorities to embrace e-democracy applications. These practices should increase citizens participation in local democracy.
Territories are called to overcome the digital divide by providing free Internet access in public places and education to populations of all ages. Combining of electronic and non electronic participation platforms should avoid the exclusion of those who are less familiar with ICTs.
The report by Alison Cook (UK, EPP-CD) and Etienne van Vaerenbergh (Belgium, ILDG) stressed that the aim of e-democracy initiatives was to encourage citizens “to see themselves as partners of the policy-makers”.
At the same time, the report warns about expectations, e-democracy tools could produce immediate results for authorities involved in these new practices. It underlines the importance of adequate planning of resources.
- Read the Report HERE.
- Read the report in German.
17 th PLENARY SESSION - CPL(17)2 - 3 September 2009
E-democracy: opportunities and risks for local authorities
Committee on Culture and Education
Rapporteurs : Alison COOK, United Kingdom (L, EPP/CD1) and
Etienne VAN VAERENBERGH, Belgium (L, ILDG)
Information and communication technologies offer local authorities exciting new opportunities to improve the effectiveness of their work and increase voter participation and engagement.
Citizens are increasingly turning to online collaboration and social networks for political mobilisation and debate. The challenge for local authorities is to respond increasing expectations and demands for more open, transparent, accessible and participatory governance.
Careful management and sound methodology are essential to minimise the risks that accompany these new developments, to avoid public disillusion and ensure adequate protection of the individual.
A. Draft Resolution
B. Draft Recommendation
C. Explanatory Memorandum