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Improving Public Policies

in a Digital World

05/06 DEC. 2016

Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne


Agenda disponible!


Citizen Participation and Collaboration in Latin America

Salle / Hall : FIE - Salle du Théâtre
Horaire / Schedule : 13h20 - 14h50

Président de séance :  -

Langue / Language : English

Speech 1. Linking multi-stakeholder participation in policy development and the achievement of citizen engagement. A case study.

Ana Rivoir – Universidad de la República (Uruguay)

For the past ten years Uruguay has consistently achieved significant improvements according to global connectivity indices, capabilities and online delivery of public services, e-participation Index. These changes are the result of transformations in ICT policy programs in conjunction with greater political shifts in relation to the country’s development strategies, which has sought to articulate human and informational development. Yet, beyond the good positions of the country there is lack of evidence with respect to the degree to which these initiatives have produced relevant changes for effective citizen engagement in public policy and ICT-mediated democratic governance processes.

We will present the results of our case about the development and implementation of the Open Government Action Plan OGAP in Uruguay, that contains initiatives aimed at improving citizens participation, transparency, accountability and access to public services. It involves the participation of multiple stakeholders.

One of the questions leading the analysis of this case was how the process of elaboration of the OGAP in Uruguay is a model in which ICT-mediated citizen engagement can occupy a central role and whether it represents truly innovative practices that reinforce and promote democratic governance.

Studying the development and implementation of the OGAP we analyse the negotiation processes and the creation of values and rules and how participation and power management evolve and its distribution changes between the government and the citizens. We were interested, in particular, in questioning the degree to which this kind of governance processes can have disruptive effects for citizenship.

The analysis of this case can contribute to understand the linkage between multi-stakeholder participation and policy development and its effectiveness in terms of achieving a greater degree of citizen engagement, both as part of the process and as one of its goals.

Speech 2. Public Ouvidorias and the participation agenda in Brazil

Fernando Lima-Neto - Docteur en Sociologie, enseignant-chercheur, Université catholique pontificale de Rio de Janeiro (Brésil)

The Brazilian Federal Constitution of 1988 spread and reinforced several experiences of participation that formerly had a disjointed existence. This was the case for public ouvidorias (ombuds offices), one of the several participatory institutions (such as councils and conferences) which were empowered in the context of redemocratization. At that time, the focus on participation as an input for developing democratic political representation created highly enthusiastic expectations concerning the future of democracy in Brazil. The ouvidorias are concerned with the promotion of the public use of reason within state organizations. Currently, they are fully institutionalized. There are over 1.000 ouvidorias at the federal, state and municipal levels. Although they are institutionally consolidated, little is known about these institutions. Whether in the academic field or in State statistics, there are few studies and information on this wide universe. In this research, I took into account the regulations of 93 ouvidorias at the federal level in order to analyze the conditions of political autonomy that they are granted. The research results reveal precarious conditions for the achievement of their democratic potentials. The main problem concerns the mechanisms of choice of the highest authority of an ouvidoria. Often the person who fills this position is chosen by the highest authority of the organization that should be socially controlled. The current way that the chiefs of ouvidorias are nominated, the lack of time delimitation for the duration of their terms, the reduced influence on the decision-making process of governmental organizations and the absence of accountability practices aimed at the broader society are the main obstacles that threaten social control and participation within these institutions, as well as reinforce the patrimonialist features they were supposed to counter.

Speech 3. Collaborative Public Governance in the Digital Era

Camilla Castanhato - Professeur, Université catholique pontificale de São Paulo (Brésil)

Technology has changed not only the communication tools, but it is still changing the way we look at the world and live in it. This new digital era has required the construction of a new economic and state model. However, it is imperative to build a new form of governance in a collaborative democratic paradigm, based on new principles and values that can guide our public policy. Freedom, openness and transparency are the necessary conditions for the creation of a reliable environment. Without this trustable environment there is no way to develop collaboration. Our legal concept of freedom seeks to promote this openness.

Speech 4. Deep disagreements

Margaret Alessandra Warthon Ocsa - Legal Intern, Pontifical Catholic University of Perú

Democracy in the current Peruvian political scheme allows issues such as the decriminalization of abortion, civil unions between homosexuals and violence against women are openly discussed.

The discussion of these matters committed and raises the review of many constitutional rights, and therefore requires an interpretation that fits the constitutional provisions to the current needs of society. An example of this are the statements that the Peruvian Constitutional Court for a decade has produced on various subjects that have been key to the assertion of rights of many social sectors forgotten.

However, the liberal constitutional tradition developed by the Constitutional Court and direct democracy, represented by the Parliament, have been confronted on more than one occasion. It is therefore appropriate to consider whether, constitutional judges should be in charge of the final interpretation of the constitution?, is feasible to set the institutional arrangements between the bodies of power?, citizens should interpret the constitution that they "live"?, taking into account our context and legal culture is viable rethink institutional arrangements?

The Peruvian government system does not resolve the issue of how involved should have citizenship in decision-making, whether representative or direct democracy existing in our constitution are sufficient to interpret. What seems accepted theories in question is that majorities can not legitimately trample on the fundamental rights of citizens. This argument is consistent with Dworkin logic, that a democracy should be such in which all citizens are treated equally.