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Tips to Build an Ideal Democracy in Local Government

Citizens have the right to say and the right to know. Public participation is a kind of democracy that the key concept is that the people who may be affected by a decision should have the right to voice and participate. Public participation bridges the gap between all levels of government, private sectors, civil society and the general public, which is also what WeSolve targets at. Meaningful and effective public participation encourages transparency and accountability for effective governance and democratic decision-making. In return, public participation is also a way to educate citizens and attracts more people to participate. How can we realise democratic ideas through public engagement and make it more meaningful for local government? Here are some tips.

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Get closer to the community

Trust is at the heart of the well-designed public participation process. Gaining local views and opinions and listening to the citizens are extremely important in trust-building. Residents are better informed with council decisions if they are linked to the participation activities. Public participation creates linkages between the citizens and the government and rooms for more rational decisions by allowing more opinions, a better understanding of problems, and close cooperation. Therefore, reciprocal respect and a harmonious relationship are established in this process.

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Engage and interact actively

Citizens need more active roles and appropriate ways to participate and what’s more, to interact with the authorities. Through participation opportunities, the public can exercise their right to participate. Furthermore, through interactive activities based on deliberation, citizens exchange opinions and prioritize the ideas to create mutual understandings and collective solutions. Giving part of the decision-making power to citizens also encourages active citizen participation. A transparent and interactive platform with efficient participation approaches to involve citizens in public matters is an efficient way to build democracy at the local level. WeSolve offers interactive opportunities to vote for ideas and exchange opinions.

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Deliver tangible improvements

Participation is a way for citizens to see improvements in local services. They often participate in local issues to seek quality improvements in their daily life and meet the economic and societal demands. Local government is one kind of service providers that fulfil public needs and interests. However, the invisible enhancement and elusive decisions do not come with understandings and accountability to the decision-makers. People often trust what they see and what they feel in reality. Using WeSolve platforms, local authorities can also publish successful actions generated from our transparent participatory process and spread in the community. In this way, tangible results of collaborative decisions can be delivered to the participants and make the decisions more reliable.

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About The Author

Yunyue Peng

Master student in Nature Management at the University of Copenhagen, focusing on public participation and citizen action in nature conservation and sustainable development.