WHAT IS THE IOPD?
The International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD) is an
international network open to all cities, organizations and research centers
interested in learning about, exchanging and applying experiences of participatory
democracy at the local level. It was founded in 2001 within the framework of the
European Commission’s URB-AL program for decentralized cooperation and its official constitution
was in November 2001 in Barcelona, during the 1st IOPD Conference. Also, since 2006 it works
together with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).
- To be the worldwide center of reference within the participatory
- To create synergies between cities, organizations and research centers in
order for them to think about the quality of democracy at the global level.
- To produce and improve the existing knowledge in the local
participatory democracy field.
- To exchange experiences about democratic innovations in all regions of the
- To recommend policies to public administrations of the world, preferably
Annual IOPD Conference
The annual IOPD conference aims to debate and think about the state of participatory democracy
in the world. It’s a meeting point between experts in the participation field
and political leaders, as well as an opportunity to boost the cooperation
between cities and international organizations in the democratic innovations field. More information
Award “Best Practice in Citizen Participation”
This is an annual award with which the IOPD aims to acknowledge innovative
experiences in the participatory democracy field which have been developed at the
local level. It evaluates if it fosters citizens’ implication and participation in the processes
of elaboration and implementation of public policies. More information.
The IOPD encourages the creation of work groups to think collectively
about a concrete area of participatory democracy. This way, it seeks to develop
tools for local governments to strengthen democracy and foster pro-active citizens in the
debate, design, decision and implementation of public policies.
Publications and experiences repository
The IOPD wants to be a benchmark space to find information related to
participatory democracy and citizens’ initiatives. That’s why it has a publications and
experiences repository in its website linked to these topics. Also, it has a news section in
which it explains what happens in the world in regard to this field.