Citizens' Engagement and Civil Society

Picture of citizens with one raising his hand

“Today more than ever, Parliaments are working harder to develop their capacity to better respond to the increased scrutiny and growing expectations from people for more efficient and effective service from their representatives.”

  • Common Principles for Support to Parliaments, Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2014

Representative democracies are being transformed by long-term trends such as declining trust in representative institutions, personalization of politics, digitalization and new forms of political participation.

In particular, non-electoral forms of representation, including new citizen forums and deliberative tools, are achieving a higher profile. The establishment of assemblies composed of randomly elected citizens such as the Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat in France and the Constitutional Convention in Ireland, are examples of the growing importance of deliberative democracy in Europe.

Covid-19 has also accelerated long-term trends of transformation including digitalization of politics.

In both form and function, effective Parliaments strive to be transparent, responsive, and accountable to the citizens they represent and serve. 

INTER PARES supports parliaments in this objective.

Picture of speakers in the workshop

Key events:

  • INTER PARES Parliamentary Monitoring Organisation (PMO) Workshop on 17 January 2020

Participants explored the ways in which Parliaments can partner with PMOs to build more effective, inclusive Parliamentary institutions. It also identified means and mechanisms for PMOs and Parliaments to establish partnerships and explored how PMOs and Parliaments can strengthen each other’s work.

  • Parliaments and Democratic Innovations (PDI) online conference on 1, 8 and 10 December 2020

This event explored the transformative potential of citizens’ assemblies and deliberative forums, to develop a framework enabling a comparative approach to assess the impact digital technologies might have on parliamentary democracy, and to provide policy makers and practitioners with a map to orientate themselves in the debate about the evolution of representative democracy and its impact on parliaments.

Members of the Working Group on Parliaments and Democratic Innovations (PDI)

  • European Parliament
  • OECD
  • EUSR Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Professor of Politics, University College Dublin
  • European Commission
  • Professor of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds
  • Advisor to the President of the French Speaking Parliament of Brussels
  • Italian Chamber of Deputies
  • EEAS

Peer-to-peer partnerships and communication with citizens and civil society

The following partnerships include a prioritiy dedicated to citizens' engagement and civil society:

  • Bhutan - Enhancing Parliamentary communications and dialogue capacities, including e-Parliament initiatives, enabling the Parliament of Bhutan
  • Bolivia - Strengthening the use of digital technologies to engage citizens during the legislative process
  • Chile - Strengthening citizen participation mechanisms and transparency
  • Cote d’Ivoire Senate - Strengthening the Senate’s representative capacities
  • Cote d’Ivoire National Assembly - Strengthening civil society and citizen participation, in particular for the Ivorian youth
  • Guinea Bissau - Enhancing representation and citizen engagement
  • Malaysia – Open Parliament
  • Malawi - Strengthening capacity for outreach and dialogue with citizens and civil society
  • Montenegro - Increased capacities of the Parliament of Montenegro in the conduct of oversight of public policies