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ECoD Barcelona 2023/24: The Programme Year

A pan-European Citizen Jury selected Barcelona to be the first ever European Capital of Democracy. Starting in autumn 2023, it will be the European stage for strengthening and innovating democracy for one year.

An inclusive democratic experience

The Programme Year features a variety of projects and initiatives to celebrate democracy, showcase best practices and to address the central debates of our political present and future. Together with citizens, institutions, civil society and businesses, co-creating an engaging, diverse and inclusive programme for an Europe-wide audience.

An attractive stage for democratic innovators

We invite everyone who has a stake in democracy to become part of the Programme Year: Institutions, networks, civil society organisations, businesses, associations, youth groups can co-create to enrich this broad European dialogue. Bring your format to Barcelona and benefit from its visibility as European Capital of Democracy. It’s also your chance to test new formats, reach new audiences, and network with a large community of democratic innovators and like-minded organisations.

September 2023

Programme Presentation

14 September 2023 | City of Barcelona & ECoD NPO

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The first ever European Capital of Democracy programme year will be presented on September 14 – one day before the International Day of Democracy. From October 2023 until October 2024, Barcelona will stage a series of events, festivals, discussions and participation activities that highlight the best of European democracy initiatives and showcase how to strengthen and innovate democratic processes and tools.

October 2023

The Challenges of European Democracy

5 October 2023 | City of Barcelona

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Daniel Innerarity, an IKERBASQUE researcher at the University of the Basque Country, professor of political and social philosophy, and the director of the Institute of Democratic Governance, will delve into the intricacies surrounding European Democracy’s challenges.

ECoD City Network Meeting

17 – 19 October 2023 | City of Barcelona & ECoD NPO

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The ECoD City Network is a strong group of 21 cities across 13 countries, that have previously submitted a full application to the ECoD initiative. Member cities come together regularly to share their expertise, experiences, and best practices in democracy promotion at the municipal level. These meetings foster collaboration, exchange, and participation while giving local experts access to new ideas and training opportunities. In Barcelona, the Network will discuss digital transition and will support each other in overcoming pressing challenges.

Decidim Fest

18 – 20 October 2023 | City of Barcelona

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Under the motto Democracy, Technology, and Collective Intelligence, the international Decidim conference is back to ignite the conversation of the most pressing issues at the intersection of democracy and technology. We will once again bring together our wonderful global community to meet, share, and strengthen our collective project. We have great challenges ahead of us, but Decidim is now a global reference point for free-libre open source and democratic technology in a growing ecosystem which is opening new paths of hope for a more democratic digital era.

Re-Imagine Europa’s: Future4Citizens Dialogues

19 October 2023 | Re-Imagine Europa

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The upcoming Spanish edition of Future4Citizens Dialogues is an interactive format based on Re-Imagine Europa’s innovative methodology: Listen-Reframe-Act. By inviting citizens to construct non-polarized narratives and collectively reimagine concrete solutions, this event helps us change the way we think and talk about our common future.

Participate in School Awards

23 October 2023 | Government of Catalonia

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The Participate in School Awards honour schools or institutions that have implemented participation initiatives throughout the academic year, engaging students in the life of the school.

November 2023

Europe and Democracy: What Future Should We Shape?

5-10 November 2023 | JEF Catalunya

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This five-day international seminar gathers 20 participants from across Europe to discuss various aspects of democracy. With a primary focus on local and youth perspectives, the seminar aims to delve into multiple facets on how to shape a democratic and just future. By uniting young Europeans, the seminar seeks to foster networking, facilitate idea exchange, and encourage thoughtful deliberations.

European Mayors’ Summit: Strengthening democracy and the role of cities in the European Union

 7-8 November 2023 | City of Barcelona

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The Mayors’ Summit aims to elevate the visibility, recognition, and active participation of local authorities in European decision-making processes, ensuring that cities play a crucial role in shaping and implementing European policies. Notably, as Barcelona holds the distinguished title of the first European Capital of Democracy, we aim to promote cities’ contributions to European values and democracy. Organised by the city of Barcelona and Eurocities, with the support of the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, in the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Public code & technologies: Upcoming digital and democratic challenges for Europe

 8 November 2023 | City of Barcelona

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Technological developments are advancing at an ever-increasing pace and there is a growing inability to generate the necessary regulatory frameworks to lead public technology development for democracy. Can we imagine new models based on free open-source software and communities that put democratic issues and the rights of citizens at its core? This roundtable at the Smart City Expo World Congress will address these issues from different European experiences and perspectives. Roundtable with:

Alexis Kauffmann, Project Manager Open Education at the French Ministry of Education; Laura Dornheim, IT officer for the City of Munich; Arnau Monterde, Director of Democratic Innovation (BCN) and Coordinator of Decidim. Moderation: Laura Giesen, Editor in Chief, Democracy Technologies

Conference on public ethics: the role of the network of ethics committees as a boost to public ethics

14 November 2023 | Government of Catalonia

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The Government of Catalonia’s administration, known for its diverse range of ethical committees (including bioethics and ethics in senior positions), invites you to a thought-provoking conference. The conference seeks to reflect on how to better coordinate them and promote the Code of Ethics of the Public Service of Catalonia.

Barcamp on the problem of representativeness and complexity in our democracies

13 – 14 November 2023 | Fundación Konrad Adenauer Oficina de Representación para España y Portugal

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In order to keep our democracies vibrant, we are constantly looking for new routes to participation. However, people feel increasingly disconnected from the political institutions designed to represent them, and laws often require immediate amendments after enactment due to their failure to adequately account for the complexities of real-world situations. Given these issues, an international group of politicians and experts will reflect on two fundamental questions: How can we further develop our democracies without compromising their core principles? And, how can we enhance the efficacy of governance, potentially utilising AI, to address these challenges?

IYTT*s fifth annual International Youth Conference

20 – 23 November 2023 | International Youth Think Tank

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The International Youth Conference is the core annual event of the International Youth Think Tank. Over four busy days, 24 conference participants from all over Europe will discuss, deliberate, and bring out their best ideas on the strengthening of democracy. The event is intended to inspire decision makers to democratise where there is no democracy, to renew where democracy exists but does not work, and to encourage active citizenship. This unique set up transforms the activist instincts of young people into concrete proposals, allowing them to lead the way towards a more democratic future.

Saving Civics in the Digital Age

22 November 2023 | ACTE

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Discover how civic technologies can enable offline action and participation with ACTE, Tectonica and Osoigo. They will discuss challenges faced by modern-day civics in the digital age and the need for technologies which support the relationships needed to sustain impactful movements. Learn from Tectonica’s report on Digital Organising in Europe and their innovative 5-Part Framework for Digital Organising. Osoigo will showcase diverse civic tech solutions that are effective in boosting political participation and share real-life success stories, followed by a Q&A session.

Metropolitan Commitment 2030 Awards

24 November 2023 | PEMB

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The Strategic Plan of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona celebrates its 15th General Council and the 1st edition of the Metropolitan Commitment 2030 Awards.

Metropolitan Assembly Manifesta

November 2023, January and February 2024 | Type of Activity

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This initiative, connected to the Biennial Manifesta, unfolds as a deliberative process across the metropolitan landscape. It involves 11 cities, including Barcelona. The process encompasses three gatherings hosted in distinct municipalities within the metropolitan region, each welcoming the input of 99 participants, comprising 9 representatives from each city.

The Catalan Citizens’ Assembly on Climate

November 2023 – February 2024 | Government of Catalonia

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The Catalan Citizens’ Assembly on Climate is a deliberative forum consisting of 100 citizens selected through a lottery process, with careful attention to sociodemographic quotas to guarantee diverse perspectives. Within this assembly, participants will engage in thoughtful discussions on two pivotal aspects of climate change mitigation: energy infrastructures and food production and consumption. Starting in November, citizens will meet six times to discuss these matters:
– November 26, 2023 / Barcelona: Inaugural session
– December 2, 2023 / Tarragona: First Session – December 16, 2023 / online: Second Session (online)
– January 13, 2024 / Vic: Third Session
– February 10, 2024 / Lleida: Fourth Session
– February 10, 2024 / Girona: Closing Ceremony

December 2023

Conference on the traceability of public decisions

12 December 2023 | Government of Catalonia

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The primary objective of this conference is to foster a shift in the paradigm of lobbying. It aims to explore the potential role of societal actors in positively influencing decision-making processes, all while maintaining robust control mechanisms to safeguard public integrity against any potential threats.

January 2024

Meeting of the Interdepartmental Open Government Commission (CIGO) and presentation of the 2024-25 Strategic Plan for open government and good governance

16 January 2024 | Government of Catalonia

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Discover the Future of Governance: Join us at the Interdepartmental Open Government Commission (CIGO) Meeting, where we’ll unveil the 2024-25 Strategic Plan for Open Government and Good Governance.

Open call for grants for projects and activities

January 2024 | City of Barcelona

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An open call for democracy and participation-focused projects scheduled for implementation in 2024 is extended to civil society and social organisations, with the objective of involving them in the European Capital of Democracy.

Deliberative agora for citizen participation and democratic innovation

January 2024 – April 2024 | City of Barcelona

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The project involves designing and constructing a physical and digital infrastructure, a deliberative agora, to encourage citizen participation and drive democratic innovation. The initiative aims to spark discussions during the ECoD period, addressing crucial challenges and enhancing democracy within the city.

360º Democracy

January 2024 – April 2024 | Democratic Society

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360º Democracy is a vibrant, year-long initiative in Barcelona that transforms various public spaces into ‘Third Places’—interactive installations promoting civic engagement and dialogue. Each temporary installation focuses on how democracy permeates various social aspects, with a strong emphasis on culture and art. The project’s fluid nature reaches diverse communities, while meticulous action-research documentation informs a comprehensive study of democracy’s role in society.

Barcelona, capital of democracy for children and teenagers

January 2024 – June 2024 | City of Barcelona

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An inclusive opportunity for children and adolescents, aged 8 to 17, across the city to engage in a participatory process that seeks to answer the question: “How would young individuals like to actively participate in shaping our city?” This comprehensive initiative will encompass interactive workshops in schools, municipal children’s centres, and recreational organisations, as well as public debates in dedicated spaces, culminating in the opportunity to cast votes on participation proposals on the decidim.barcelona platform.

February 2024

Euthenia Startup Meeting

24 February 2024 | Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Madrid

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Euthenia is a network of executive business women from Europe, the MENA region, and West Africa. Their aim is to foster equality in the private sector, create new business and visibility, as well as to support new female leaders. Using the framework of the 2024 Mobile World Congress, FNF Madrid and the Euthenia Community host a conference on the ecosystem for female-led start-ups in the Mediterranean.

March 2024

Meeting (agora) Public Administration – civil society of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan for Catalonia

12 March 2024 | Government of Catalonia

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The objective of this agora gathering is to assess the progress and achievement of commitments made by the Catalan Government within the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan for Catalonia. This evaluation is conducted in collaboration with a steering committee of civil society organisations.

Conference on participation and democracy

13 – 14 March 2024 | Diputació de Barcelona, Government of Catalonia, Localret, and the Decidim association

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Empowering Participation: Join us for an upcoming conference in collaboration with Diputació de Barcelona, Generalitat de Catalonia, Localret, and the Decidim association, where we delve into the dynamics of participation and democracy, forging a path towards more inclusive and engaged communities.

Young business team receiving award prize at best business project competition event. Business and entrepreneurship award ceremony theme. Focus on unrecognizable people in audience.

Young people’s participation in European democratic processes

25 March 2024 | European Parliament Office in Barcelona

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Voter turnout has been declining since the 1950s, posing a major challenge to democracies around the world. Various studies consistently show alarmingly low voter turnout among young people at different levels and in different regions in all EU Member states. The gap between younger and older voters has widened significantly across the democratic world, indicating low political participation among young people, not only in elections but also in institutional politics. This event will analyse how to improve and facilitate youth involvement ahead of the upcoming European elections, on 6-9 June 2024.

April 2024

Conference on transparency and active publicity evaluation systems

9 April 2024 | Government of Catalonia

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The conference aims to modernise the existing public information policies related to transparency goals, with a particular emphasis on enhancing the evaluation systems used to assess transparency levels across various government entities.

Widening the lens: a snapshot of democratic innovation worldwide

24 April 2024 | European Partnership for Democracy

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A dinner discussion with international political professionals looking at the future of democratic innovation in Europe and worldwide. What are the main challenges for innovation worldwide? What lessons are there for Europe from other parts of the world?

Innovation in Politics Awards

25 April 2024 | ECoD NPO

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The seventh edition of the annual​ Innovation in Politics Awards will​ honour 90 best-practice projects in 9 categories (Climate protection, Democracy, Democracy Technologies, Education, Government Improvement, Local Development, Party Innovation, and Social Cohesion). Round-tables, panel discussions and presentations will provide plentiful opportunities to meet and network with an audience of 500 political innovators from all over Europe. The winners of each category, as chosen by a Citizens’ Jury of more than 1.000 Europeans, will be presented with their trophy at the evening gala.

May 2024

Open Government Week

6 – 10 May 2024 | Government of Catalonia

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The Open Government Week is a global event where, over the course of one week, public administrations worldwide engage with citizens to showcase their open government initiatives and strategies. These encompass various aspects, such as participation, transparency, and public-private collaboration, and in the case of the Generalitat (Catalan government), extend to encompass principles of good governance and public integrity

Europe Day Celebration Description

9 May 2024 | City of Barcelona

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Be part of a lively and culturally rich celebration as part of the European Capital of Democracy framework, dedicated to honouring Europe Day. This event promises an immersive experience filled with festivities that embrace the essence of European unity and diversity.

Art of Democracy

May 2024 | ECoD NPO

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This innovative and participatory art festival and exhibition will be created together with the host city, and local and international artists. Reaching the hearts and minds of people through art strengthens democracy and allows people to come together to create and support an open, just, and free society – Democracy stays alive through art and artists.

Truth, Lies & Democracy

May 2024 | ECoD NPO

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Fake news, misinformation, and disinformation pose a major threat to democracy. That is why we are challenging Europe’s gaming community to take up the fight against so-called fake news: 10 local and up to 5 European teams will be working simultaneously in a 3 day live-streamed on-site game jam to develop video games and interactive proposals centred around fake news. They will have access to open talks and mentorship from renowned professionals from the gaming industry, technology, politics, and communication fields.

June 2024

Reclaiming Participatory Governance

June 2024 | City of Barcelona

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Presentation of the book Reclaiming Participatory Governance.

ALDA Festival & General Assembly 2024

June 2024 | ALDA* – European Association for Local Democracy

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The ALDA Festival and General Assembly aims to promote the same values on which ALDA is based. The event brings together members, partners, and friends of ALDA to discuss and present the activities carried out during the past year, discuss future strategies, and strengthen the Association’s network ties. The ALDA Festival and General Assembly includes interesting discussions, exciting events, workshops, and insightful speeches by keynote speakers.

September 2024

PartyParty Summit

September 2024 | Innovation in Politics Institute

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We know WHY political parties need to change, and WHAT they need to change, but what we know too little about is the HOW. The first PartyParty Summit aims to address this by bringing together key party stakeholders – party members from the national and international level, foundations, Think Tanks, NGOs, as well as experts, coaches, and trainers. The Summit is now open for pre-registration <https://political.party/summit/>.

ACT NOW Mayors’ Conference

September 2024 | ECoD NPO

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Mayors, administrators, researchers, young change-makers and other local innovators will explore how to tackle the climate emergency and the loss of biodiversity at a local level. The 2024 edition will share best practices, teach skills and discuss implementation strategies to bridge the gap between knowing and doing.

October 2024

Closing: Biennal of Thought

October 2024 | City of Barcelona

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We live in a world in which change is advancing at great speed in all directions. More than ever, we need a window of pause and reflection. The Biennial of Thought 2024 reclaims public space and transforms Barcelona into an agora for civic debate. Over six days, we will debate topics such as the health of democracy, the survival of colonialism and authoritarianism, the impact of technology on our lives, and how the design of cities must respond to current and future challenges of various kinds.

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