Experts from the World Bank met on January 28, 2014 for the Launch of the 2013 State of Participatory Democracy Report. The event was held in a conference room of the World Bank in Washington, DC.
Our Executive Vice President, John Coonrod led the meeting, and we were delighted to receive excellent comments and recommendations on how to strengthen the initiative in 2014. These include:
- Rankings are a good starting point; the World Bank can utilize these findings to provide clients with more information
- Not all government is at the local level. Not everything at the local level is good, i.e., reproducing power inequalities
- Move beyond fight between government versus civil society organizations
- Move beyond rights based approach: citizen participation is the practical approach to development (not just ethical or moral thing to do)
- Move beyond titles, “participatory democracy”: in some places, there is participatory governance under undemocratic situation
- Having faith in local democracy impacting development is no longer enough, more evidence is required to defend and support this notion of local democracy benefiting development
- Move beyond analysis–move to interventions with technical solutions (mobilize, trainings, etc.)
- Next step would be to communicate and then mobilize
- Must get all the factors integrated to work
- Possibility of bringing different indexes together, such as utilizing open budget index.
- Possibility of adding more the Middle East and North America (MENA) countries to Report
- Must keep in mind the risk of the “predatory nature” of local officials and the obstacles marginalized people have with accessing and participating in their government.
Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome. Especially, we are beginning a new campaign within the initiative to strengthen civil society’s engagement with local governance. If your organization is working directly on citizen engagement with local governance, we want to be in direct dialogue with you! Please write us about what you are doing and we will explore with you how we might work together. Please contact from here.