Tuscany's Regional Authority for the Promotion of Participation (APP)
- General Issues
- Governance & Political Institutions
Mission and Purpose
Tuscany's Regional Authority for the Promotion of Participation (APP) was created to oversee and ensure the implementation of regional law 46 (2013) which calls for the promotion of public participation in regional and local politics. As the official body in charge of law's fulfillment, the APP is charged with "contribut[ing] to the renewal of democracy and its institutions by integrating [regional and local authorities'] action with participatory democracy practices, processes and instruments", thus contributing to the creation of "greater social cohesion through the diffusion of the culture of participation and the valorisation of all forms of civic engagement, knowledge and widespread skills in society."
Origins and Development
The Authority for the Promotion of Participation was created with the passing of Regional Law 46 in 2013. 
Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding
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Specializations, Methods and Tools
The foremost method of participation the Authority is tasked with invoking is the Public Debate, "a process of information, public comparison and participation" on works, projects or interventions that are of particular relevance to the region's environment, territory, landscape, society, culture or economy. Debates usually take place in the preliminary stages of drafting a project and make use of a number of deliberative tools to engaged the public including:
- The dissemination of technical documentation
- Testimony and meetings with experts and scientists
- Thematic forums, dialogues or other forms of discussion among citizens
- The use of the Internet and new information technologies
Public Debates are mandatory for works that exceed 50 million euros. Below this threshold, it is up to the Authority to evaluate the project and determine whether it mandates a public consultation. A Debate can not be held on issues which fall under the Regional Law 62 of 2007 ("Regional Referendum Framework provided for by the Constitution and by the Statute") which determines a Referendum sufficient public consultation.
Support for Local Participatory Processes
According to Chapter III of the Regional Participation Law (46, 2013) also calls for the economic supports of local participatory processes approved by the Authority for the Promotion of Participation. The APP's evaluation is based on several conditions and requirements. In particular, the relevant bodies or officials must agree to take the outcome of the participatory process into account in their final decision or else to adequately and publicly justify the reasons for the failure or partial acceptance of the results. As well, the participatory process must have a specific topic or well-defined scope and be held for a maximum of six months. Appropriate methods and tools must be used to ensure maximum inclusiveness and the expression of all points of view (within reason).
Major Projects and Events
To date, the Authority has approved three public debates:
- Public debate on the planned development of the Port of Livorno (2015)
- Public debate on the Florence Airport (2014-2015)
- Public debate on the restoration of mining activities in Gavorrano (2016)
As well, the Authority has approved Regional funding and support for 59 local participatory processes.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
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Press Releases: http://www.consiglio.regione.toscana.it/oi/comunicati?idc=47
Full documentation of activities: http://www.consiglio.regione.toscana.it/amministrazione-trasparente/
2] Regione Toscana, "L’Autorità regionale per la garanzia e la promozione della partecipazione," http://www.consiglio.regione.toscana.it/oi/default?idc=47&nome=PARTECIPA... [Accessed 10/04/2017].
Lead image: Eubois SRL Societa di Ingegneria, http://bit.ly/2VXTYC0