Permanent Sortition In Eupen (Belgium)
- General Issues
- Governance & Political Institutions
- Specific Topics
- Citizenship & Role of Citizens
- Right to Adequate Housing
- Scope of Influence
- Start Date
- Time Limited or Repeated?
- A single, defined period of time
- Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
- Citizenship building
- Spectrum of Public Participation
- Open to All or Limited to Some?
- Open to All
- Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
- Types of Interaction Among Participants
- Discussion, Dialogue, or Deliberation
- Negotiation & Bargaining
- Ask & Answer Questions
- Type of Organizer/Manager
- Regional Government
On February 25, 2019 the Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft Belgien (DG) Parliament a small German speaking region of Belgium located in Eupen, passed the use of a Permanent Sortition program for the oncoming election.
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Problems and Purpose
On February 25, 2019, a small German speaking region of Belgium located in Eupen adopted the use of a Permanent Sortition program for the upcoming election. The Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft Belgien (DG) Parliament concerned with the strength of citizen deliberative processes in policy making asked the G1000 and the Foundation for Future Generations for help.
Background History and Context
In the 1960s Belgium was seperated into four distinct linguistic regions which in 1973 became three regions with political autonomy, the Flemish, French, and German speaking regions with the German speaking region being the eastern most region.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The G1000 with the Foundation for Future Generations gathered a group of experts in Belgium to create a model for a permanent citizen intitiative for policy making. In July 2018 experts from Belgium and international sources gathered in Eupen and created a model for the Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft Belgien (DG) Parliament. The model included three parts a citizens council (CC), citizen assemblies (CA), and a permenant secretariat (PS). The model broke down each part as well as what the cost would be for the entire model. The CC is estimated to cost 32,000 euros. The CA was estimated to cost 23,102 euros and the PS was estimated to cost 19,002 euros yearly. When the model was accepted by the DG, the DG approved a starting budget of a 140,000 euros for the program.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Selection for the CC and CA will be random. The citizens will be randomly mailed and of those who respond a selection of 24 with a diverse background over the age of 17 will be chosen for the CC. Another 25-50 will then be selected the same way for the CA. The size of the CA will be determined by members of the Citizen Council. The Permanent Secretariat will be a full time employee of the parliament selected specifically for that position.
Methods and Tools Used
The model accepted by the DG will include three parts: The Citizens Council, The Citizens Assemblies, and the Permanent Secretariat.
The Citizens Council will be one set of 24 randomly selected citizens that will serve for 18 months. The job of the Citizens Council is to choose topics and set the agenda for the Citizens Assemblies for each year.
The Citizens Assembly will be a randomly selected group of citizens varying in size from 25 to 50 citizens as decided by the CC. There will be a maximum of three CA's to occur each year. The job of the CA is to discuss topics set by the CC and after a 4/5 majority vote will give recommendations to the DG parliament.
The Permenant Secretariat is an individual hired under a full time position through this model by the DG. The PS will have the responsibility of managing the budget as well as other logistical priorities such as assigning people to CA's, recruiting facilitators, along with catering and facilities.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The CC will choose the topics which will be discussed by the CA, these topics will usually be around the lines of topics such as education and aid however, non-selected members can give the council recommendations for topics if they gather 100 signatures.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The influence, outcome, and effects of this model has not been examined as the model has just only been accepted by the parliament and will first see its implentation in the upcoming elections fall 2019.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
Currently waiting for this model to be fully in effect for the analysis and lessons learned.
Lead image: "Parliament of the Belgian German-speaking community," Equity by Lot, http://bit.ly/2DSW3bd