Participatory Governance Toolkit

Background

Participatory governance is embodied in processes that empower citizens to participate in public decision-making, and it has been gaining increasing acceptance as an effective means to tackle ‘democracy deficits’ and improve public accountability.

Around the world, a growing number of governments and their partners in civil society are experimenting with innovative practices that seek to expand the space and mechanisms for citizen participation in governance processes beyond elections. There is evidence that participatory governance practices are contributing to stronger government transparency, accountability and responsiveness, and improved public policies and services.

What’s in the tool

Resources relating to nine categories of participatory governance practices:

A.  Public information – A first step towards participatory governance is helping citizens to have access to relevant information about government policies, decisions and actions. This category contains tools relating to advocating for freedom of information, supporting government transparency and facilitating the dissemination of public information.

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B.  Education and deliberation – Here, you’ll find tools for making citizens aware of their rights and responsibilities (civic education), and a variety of innovative methods for helping citizens collectively learn about and discuss issues of priority public concern.

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C. Advocacy and citizen voice – This section contains a number of tools for enhancing citizen advocacy, and helping citizens to publicly express their opinions and concerns.

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D.  Public dialogue This section describes a range of innovative approaches and tools for promoting more productive interactions and enhancing dialogue between multiple state and non-state actors.

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E.  Electoral transparency and accountability – The tools presented here contribute to ensuring that elections are free and fair and help citizens make informed choices and hold politicians accountable for their electoral promises.

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F.  Policy and planning – The design and implementation of public policies and plans that respond effectively to citizens’ priorities and needs are a key task of any government. These tools enable citizens and civil society organisations to contribute meaningfully to processes of public policy-making and planning, at both the local and national level.

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G.  Public budgets and expenditures – Transparent, accountable, effective and efficient public financial management is key to good governance. The tools in this section will help citizens understand and influence decisions about the allocation of public resources, monitor public spending and hold governments accountable for their management of public financial resources.

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H.  Monitoring and evaluating public services – Services such as health care, education, water and sanitation and public transport are essential for citizens to survive and thrive. This important collection of tools offers innovative ways for citizens to monitor and evaluate the accessibility, quality and efficiency of public services – leading to improved services and better quality of life for all citizens.

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I.  Public oversight – Many governments around the world are plagued by corruption, patronage and lack of accountability. This section outlines a number of methods that citizens and civil society organisations can use to monitor and oversee public action and seek retribution for injustices or misdeeds.

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