Governance and Youth in the Alps

Comparative Report

The comparative report “Democratic Innovation and Participatory Democracy in the Alpine Area” constitutes one of the main outputs of the Alpine Space Project “Governance and Youth in the Alps” (GaYA). It provides a portrait of the legal framework of democratic innovation in the Alpine States and Regions and maps empirical trends by collecting good examples of and statements on participatory democracy implemented in the Alpine region, moving from the belief that the implementation of innovative forms of governance has great potential in terms of more sustainable and legitimate decision-making.

This report is the result of several months of research. It has been conducted in the context of a new phenomenon that is developing as a response to the crisis that has recently been affecting representative democracy, namely that of participatory democracy. In particular, the aim of the report is to provide information about the legal framework of participatory democracy and to collect good examples of innovative experience of participatory democracy within the Alpine Region. This aim moves from the awareness that the territories of the Alpine area share common features. In this sense, the elaboration of a cognitive tool that enhances the dialogue between different institutions can be significantly useful for the development of new democratic instruments.

The report forwards on two different fronts: In the first part, it provides a useful overview of national and regional legal sources that regulate or underpin manifestations of participatory democracy; while in the second part, it gives evidence on both innovative practices implemented in the Alpine Space, and on participation charters and guidelines. The study shows that all constitutive elements of participatory democracy process are interconnected and interrelated, and all concerned entities jointly influence the institutional yield of participatory democracy. Hence, the implementation of participatory processes in the context of the adoption of public decisions within Alpine territorial entities profoundly affects the political dynamics of a community. 

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Fact Sheets on Innovative Practices of Participatory Democracy Implemented in the Alpine Space

In conclusion and as a result of the comparative analysis, the research team realized six fact sheets portraying selected innovative and well-functioning participatory practices encountered throughout the empirical part of the
analysis.Each factsheet collects two good and innovative examples of participatory democracy selected amongst those indicated in the questionnaires distributed at a regional level (the national level for Slovenia and Liechtenstein) and mentioned by the interviewed administrators and representatives at a local level.

The addressees of following fact sheets are mostly policy and decision makers wishing to introduce a participatory
mechanism in their Region or Municipality. Each factsheet evolves around the answer to four questions: where?, which method?, why?, and how?


Summary of Interviews with Local Policy- and Decision Makers of Selected Municipalities in the Alpine Area

This summary of interviews intends to provide a portrait of the second stage of the data collection by outlining the underlying methodology while also reporting, in form of comparative general statements, parts of the results of the latter.

Participatory Democracy in Alpine Area