Comments on the preliminary draft recommendation on E-democracy

2008.10.28. Budakalász, Hungary

Foreword comment However the draft recommendation points out in the second point, that : „e-democracy as the support and enhancement of democracy, democratic processes and democratic institutions by means of ICT, and linked to the engagement and re-engagement of citizens in democracy”

the whole recommendation, except 1 paragraph leaves the institution of the Council of Europe untouched by the recommendation, which is creating an interpretation, that the Council of Europe is not an institution, that has to deal with the serious challenges of edemocracy. In align with the opportunities of the recommendation first paragraph: „e-democracy offers in order to strengthen democracy, democratic institutions and democratic processes;” it must be stated, that from the perspective of the civil society, there is a strong need for various e-democratic tools, services and connecting policies to be implemented in the Council of Europe institutions, to show a strong example for e-enhanced democracy. The European civil society (particularly the Conference of INGOs) demands committed actions from the COE towards a more transparent, more engaged and participative relationship and operation, based on powerful e-democratic principles. To strengthen the trustworthiness of the Council through the various means that are related to e-democracy, it is essential to rely on the cooperation with Conference of INGOs, as a primary partner in the needed internal reforms, that are uprising from

taking up the challenge of e-democracy. Beside the fact, that the whole recommendation and it's drafting process has not yet showed the political commitment towards the goals of e-democracy, the only answer to this process could be the critique, that the institution can create recommendations, but the policies and political support, that have been characterizing the process are not representing a commitment towards the principle goals of e-democracy. According to the proposal of the CAHDE chair, that has been stated after the CAHDE meeting in Madrid (to run a series of consultations with the civil society to evaluate the recommendation) – it is a dangerous attempt to show the weakest possibilities that edemocracy can offer for governmental institutions (such as the COE). Instead of running a series of consultation after the adoption of the recommendation by the Parliamentary Assembly, we recommend to run the Council of Europe's fore running edemocracy project based on the recommendation before adoption. We assume, that if the draft recommendation will be adopted by CAHDE, the only forum for stating these principles will be the Parliamentary Assembly – and the timing is just right before the adoption. However the process will turn out, we must stand in a strong position, that if the COE want to really recommend the strengths, benefits and power of e-democracy to governments, it has to make the first steps inside it's institutions. We have the confidence to state, that the right place to start is the CAHDE working group and the process is to open it up in a well designed process for the contribution of the civil society.

Madarász Csaba Conference of INGOs, Cee Citizens Network +36703643482

Detailed comments on the preliminary draft – original text can be found at:

8. original text: „Tasks for the international organization's secretariat • to include, where appropriate, e-democracy aspects into the organization's democracy projects and into the work of other sectors as well as of its field offices, in relation both to external and internal activities.” Recommendation „Tasks for the international organization's secretariat • to ensure that COE will continue it's forerunner position with the adaption of widely deliberated democratic processes, use/provide various e-democratic means for supporting this task. • to start the immediate revision of the organization's relevant policies, and practices in the light of the recommendation. This needed to be carried out by consultations of all pillars of the Council - particularly with the conference of INGOs on implementing the recommendation in the work of the Council. • to dedicate organizational resources and trainings to secure the presence of edemocratic aspects through the various projects and working of the Council – not only direct democracy projects • to show a strong example on the dissemination of the recommendation • develop and maintain a database of best practice tools and policies (based on the appendix) containing open source and free tools for the benefit of all stakeholders of e-democracy • review the Council's and it's projects/institutions current policies and practices in the light of the recommendation. • continue the empowerment of the European civil society and strengthen the forerunner position of the Council by: • developing an analization framework for measuring e-democracy projects, policies • develop and maintain a central database,that provides actual, transparent data on each country's e-democratic projects • develop common, free e-citizen program for the benefit of administration/official bodies and the civil society in various topics (ecampaigning, e-consultation etc), to strengthen the knowledge sharing and flow between the stakeholders 7. Original text: „Bring this Recommendation to the attention of all relevant stakeholders of the public and civic domains as well as media and business, and encourage and support them in taking all necessary measures to contribute to the implementation of its objectives.„ Recommended „The appropriate dissemination of this recommendation in itself strengthen the culture of e-

democracy. To ensure the widest coverage of relevant stakeholders governments shall publicize the „ P.27 recommended new point By the set of tools and principles that e-democracy offers, communities/organizations of any size can benefit from. Being conscious about e-democracy could strengthen good governance. P.48 Recommended new point Stakeholders should consider an open source clause when contracting for e-democracy applications. Bearing in mind, that open source softwares and applications providing open frameworks regardless borders for development, thus a possibility for sharing development and maintenance costs among different stakeholders involved. By the development of e-democracy focused open source softwares, stakeholders are strengthening and making accessible their applications. P.49 original text: „The use of open standards and specification, respectively, promotes interoperability. „ Recommended The use of open standards and specifications is in align with e-democratic values the right policy, that supports accessibility and interoperability. P.64 original text “E-democracy requires rules and regulatory frameworks. Regulation on e-democracy concerns empowerment and safeguarding. Regulation can take various forms and be undertaken by a variety of actors at various levels, including by public authorities, providers of tools and by users themselves. Only a balance between rights of access and safeguards can guarantee and protect citizens’ interests. “ Recommended citizens instead of users G.76 Recommendation of an extra line: the level of transparency provided characterizes the overall initiative G.78 Original text: “The main goals of rules and regulatory frameworks on e-democracy should be empowerment and safeguards. Key factors should be who, how and to what purpose to participate, and which institutions are best at achieving participation in and transparency and evaluation of, decision-making. “ Recommended extra G.79: Transparency, as the one of the leading factors of good governance plays a central role in e-democracy. Providing access to accurate data is one of the key factors of trust.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful