To reach this goal, we empower and support central and local government decision-makers as well as civil society organisations to create smart, sustainable and effective e-government, e-democracy and cyber security solutions.
In our e-democracy programme, we focus on how digital tools support and amplify democratic practices, improve the interaction between governments, civil society organisations and citizens, increase transparency and create new ways for citizens to participate in decision-making.
However, as we always point out, we are not providers of those new digital tools, on the contrary, we aim to be the developers of a new digital culture based on democratic values, such as transparency and inclusiveness.
As an example, one of the aspects we pay attention to is digital vulnerability, which occurs every time technology deepens rather than smooths social gaps. Due to a lack of digital skills, media literacy and low awareness and habit of cyber hygiene many people are vulnerable to all sorts of new threats or are left out of social, political and working life.
To avoid this sort of side effects, and improve the benefits of digital culture, we train, consult and mentor local authorities in designing their action plans for implementing technological tools for citizen engagement. Also, we support local authorities with this aim and citizen engagement initiatives, including finding innovative ways and tools to co-create solutions to deal with climate change challenges.
Against this background, eGA participates in the PHOENIX project to bring its experience and expertise to contribute to the development of new practices of citizen engagement.
Our contribution to the project focuses mainly on three areas. First of all, eGA will support the research activities related to Sound Practices of Democratic Innovations by sharing with partners the results of our previous case analysis (on Participatory Budgeting) and the lessons learned from our practical citizen engagement initiatives (e.g crowdsourcing on air quality). Second, we will collect data through desktop research, interviews, and surveys for local diagnostics focusing on the Estonian pilot. Finally, we will prepare and carry out the pilot in the City of Tartu, Estonia.
Tartu has a record of great showcases of e-Governance and of Democratic Innovation. Pioneering and experimenting with many good initiatives for civic engagement (e.g., Participatory Budgeting), the city authorities have made a great start to creating a more coherent and resilient urban community. Urban planning and budgetary issues have been identified as priority topics where citizens’ engagement would bring the biggest impact, involving the IT community, civil society organizations and active individuals.
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