2021 Award "Best Practice in Citizen Participation"
15th Edition 2021
Supports are subject to the following rules:
- You can support up to 5 proposals.
Citizens of Ankara: Re-assemble! (Ankara)
The Citizens’ Assembly of Ankara is an autonomous participatory organization established to consolidate community participation efforts and citizen initiatives at the street, neighborhood, district, and metropolitan levels to define substantial urban policies and raise community awareness related to sustainable development, liveability, and good governance. Formerly, the scale and the historical experience of the city of Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, made it extremely difficult to establish a Citizens’ Assembly since nearly six million inhabitants live in a vast metropolitan region with thousands of institutionalized stakeholders. The population was highly polarized in political terms because of the twenty-five-year reign of the previous mayor. At the beginning of 2019, a new mayor was elected, and establishing a Citizens’ Assembly was chosen as the fundamental means of increasing citizen participation. For this purpose, a project was launched under the name Citizens of Ankara: Re-assemble!
There were three objectives: (1) Persuade and gain the trust of a significant sample of stakeholders in Ankara to become a member of the Assembly to re-establish the Citizens’ Assembly of Ankara. (2) Define local policies and strategies for structural problems of Ankara Region with these newly recruited members and pursue enactment of these proposals in the Council. (3) Strengthen community awareness and create concrete solidarity examples among citizens, especially in emergencies. The general approach was to devise an innovative facilitation methodology throughout all phases of establishing the Citizens’ Assembly.
The Project reached its objectives in a year:
(1) Over 600 stakeholder public, private, and civil society institutions involving universities, associations, foundations, chambers, unions, neighborhood administrations, public agencies, and municipalities became members of this participatory organization together with over 2000 individual volunteering experts and citizens making The Citizens’ Assembly of Ankara largest participatory network in Turkey and possibly in Europe.
(2) The members of the Citizens’ Assembly were organized into 35 working groups prepared policy recommendations about sustainability issues related to a bicycle master plan, a climate action plan, increasing urban parks, an education program for people with disabilities, and celebration of important historical days, all of which were enacted with a unanimous vote in the metropolitan Municipal Council.
(3) A solidarity initiative emerged from the working groups and volunteers in the Citizens’ Assembly of Ankara to raise community awareness in different areas. This initiative became the largest supporting network to the Municipality during Covid-19 Pandemic by supporting mutual aid for the impoverished and fostering neighborhood-level solidarity campaigns. There was a dramatic increase in community awareness.
Today, the Ankara Citizens’ Assembly is seen as one of Turkey’s most promising participatory mechanisms by experts and government officials. This success was awarded by IAF (International Association of Facilitators) with a “facilitation impact gold award” for effectively using facilitation techniques in citizen participation.
List of Endorsements
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