The research was carried out by the think tank CEDOS tank within the framework of the Council of Europe project “Promoting civil participation in democratic decision-making in Ukraine” conducted by the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine.
A political scholar Larry Diamond singles out 4 key elements of democracy:
a political system that uses free and fair elections to change the power;
human rights protection for all the citizens;
the rule of law, when the rights and procedures are equal;
active participation of citizens in politics and public life.
In Ukraine, there are dozens of mechanisms of public participation in public and political life and decision-making in cities. They are provided by regulatory documents of different levels: from the Constitution to the decisions of local governments. These mechanisms are different in terms of engagement, commitment, detail, implementation precision, efficiency, frequency, convenience and ease of use.
Another important element of civic participation is the cooperation of city authorities with civil society organizations: community organizations, bodies of self-organization of the population, initiatives and activists. On the one hand, they represent the interests of their members, certain social groups and the general public. On the other hand, the involvement of non-governmental organizations is another way of civic participation.
Despite the variety of the mechanisms of residents’ involvement in urban governance, people treat public participation with mistrust and apathy. To track the effectiveness of the available involvement methods, we should regularly monitor and evaluate the implementation and use of these mechanisms.
The research covered the analysis of the main mechanisms of public involvement which was based on 1) a review of normative legal documents regulating the implementation of the mechanisms regarding the residents’ involvement; and 2) a qualitative sociological survey to evaluate available practical methods of public involvement implemented by civil society representatives, city authorities and experts, their motivation for using these methods and the need for the changes they face in their activities.