With some of my colleagues and friends attending the Fearless Cities conference this weekend in Barcelona, I was pleased that we received a ‘taster’ earlier this week at the launch of the ALL for Democracy conference in Brussels, with some of the amazing initiatives that have redesigned and reinvented Democracy around Europe.

There were excellent, dynamic presentations from the Netherlands with Stembus, from France with L’Observatoire de la Participation de Saillans, Open Ministry from Finland, Decidim from Barcelona and of course Civic Innovation Network (CIN). My colleague from CIN, Khusboo Balwani, presenting the Impact Joint Ventures, which aim to create systemic change with these multi-level, multi-sector collaborations, dealing with challenges from Food Waste/Surplus to Mental Health. The latter a topic that I’m passionate about and initiating, as co-organiser of CIN and with the Belgium Design Council.

There were a variety of interesting discussions at the ALL For Democracy launch, including the 90 minute debate on the ‘Current challenges to democracy: False news, propaganda and the role of independent media’. Discussing the challenges to civil organisations and how and what journalists should do to ‘fact check’ with recommendations from Ryan Heath / Politico to Viralgranskaren (fact checking page) in Sweden/Aase Larsen and Nocolas Vanderbiest from the University of Louvain.

It was heartening to hear and personally speak to Mrta Pardavi, the Co-chair, Hungarian Helsinki Committee, talking about the systemic challenges faced in Hungary at the political level, with civil society/professionals, such as Teachers risking professional career alienation with encouraging children/youth to question, or debate on any issues concerning ‘the system’. Encouraging them to consider different perspectives or ‘thinking out of the box’ is challenging. Of course, this is sadly all too common in other areas also.

Final panel discussions focussed on ‘Looking towards the EP elections in 2019 : Why we need an alliance for Democracy?’The need for more transparency, openness and collaboration, which forms ALL for Democracy alliance discussing this initiative with, Confederation of Swedish Enterprises, European Trade Union Confederation, Council of European Municipalities and Regions, Business Europe, European Environmental Bureau, European Youth Forum, European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services, Transparency International, all taking part.

To have the mix of top-down and bottom-up initiatives, together discussing these topical issues and the need for re-inventing Democracy, from local, regional, national to the EU level, is indeed a topical debate. With the current political climate in Europe, it definitely has an intrinsic value and should be given a platform more often and be accessible to all.

It was super to end the day chatting to the dynamic panel that CIN participated, with the representatives from Helsinki, Barcelona and France. With the values that the EU endorses, we must further highlight these cities and countries, that have re-invented Democracy. We must share the tools, reinvent and design good quality campaigns across our cities, with the aim to co-create more open source, transparent, inclusive, participatory processes and societies.

Article Written by : Rozina Spinnoy, a passionate Social Entrepreneur and Design Strategist based in BRUSSELS

Article also feature in :https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/re-designing-re-inventing-democracy-rozina-spinnoy?published=t

(Civic Innovation Network / BIDs Belgium / Belgium Design Council / Design2Style)


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