The eParticipation and eDemocracy Network is open to all interested in these issues, whether at sub-national, national, European or trans-national levels. The issues covered are potentially broad, such as eEngagement, eDeliberation, eInvolvement, eLegislation and eVoting, as well as eDecision, eRule and ePolicy-making. However, these are all inter-related and contribute to new concepts and practices for the governance of our societies. Thus, it is also important not to see Ã¢â‚¬ËœeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ tools as separate from traditional democratic and participatory processes, for example there are potentially fundamental impacts on the relationships between representative and direct democracy.
All governments, as well as many other organisations which have a duty or wish to involve their constituencies, are striving to use new innovative ICT in order to broaden and deepen the democratic and participative processes, making them more transparent, inclusive, accessible and effective. This is driven by a widespread sense that citizens have disengaged from formal politics, like voting, joining parties and understanding decision-making processes, and that this reflects a crisis of trust. In addition, there are worries about the possible hijacking of these processes by vested interests or the already enfranchised.
There is also widespread expectation of greater opportunities in the 21st Century for citizens and businesses to use ICT to participate in decision making at all levels, whether top-down in response to government initiatives or through the actions of elected representatives, or bottom-up by creating their own political agendas and processes. Indeed, over the last five years numerous eParticipation and eDemocracy trials and programmes have been run out at national and local levels across Europe, although much less so at European level. However, much more needs to be understood and implemented, for example in the context of the new mass collaboration tools which are already having profound impacts on personal lives and the business community.
Descritption text (short summary):The presidential campaign of Barack Obama during the 2008 elections sparked new discussion about the public engagement issue in the political processes. The campaign...