The 22nd International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD) conference unfolded with great vigor and enthusiasm in the picturesque city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from November 6 to 8, 2023. The event, organized by the IOPD, saw the active participation of global representatives, including UCLG-MEWA, shedding light on the pivotal role of participatory democracy in shaping local governance.

The International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD) stands as a beacon of global collaboration, uniting over 1000 cities with a shared commitment to fostering participatory and deliberative democracy at the local level. The IOPD collaborates with local and regional governments, civil society organizations, and research centers, operating under the umbrella of the United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) global organization. Annually, the IOPD hosts an international conference, serving as a platform for municipal leaders and participation experts to converge and deliberate on the status of participatory democracy worldwide.

The 2023 Rio Conference of the IOPD was structured around four overarching themes, each crucial to the advancement of democratic principles and practices:

  • Democracy and Citizenship
  • Participation and Deliberation
  • Inclusion and Diversity
  • Transparency and Open Government

Amidst the vibrant discussions, UCLG-MEWA claimed a significant role in the conference program, securing a 30-minute slot on the second day. This dedicated timeframe served as a platform for a compelling presentation titled “Participatory Approach to Municipality in the MEWA Region.” Yehia Ibrahim, Policy Officer at UCLG-MEWA, spearheaded this part, providing attendees with a comprehensive exploration of the multifaceted strategies employed by UCLG-MEWA in integrating participatory methodologies into its regional initiatives.

The presentation underscored UCLG-MEWA’s commitment to advancing participatory democracy in the MEWA region. Mr. Ibrahim delved into the organization’s innovative approaches, highlighting successful case studies and best practices that have significantly contributed to the enhancement of local governance in the region.

In addition to UCLG-MEWA’s active involvement, Tehran Municipality proudly represented the MEWA region at the conference. The presence of Tehran Municipality further emphasized the commitment of MEWA cities to actively engage in global dialogues and share their experiences in promoting participatory democracy at the local level.

The 22nd IOPD conference, not only provided a forum for the exchange of ideas but also reinforced the importance of collaborative efforts in shaping the future of participatory democracy. UCLG-MEWA’s impactful contribution and Tehran Municipality’s representation were indicative of the region’s dedication to advancing democratic principles and fostering inclusive governance practices.

As the curtains drew on the conference, the echoes of shared insights and collaborative endeavors lingered, promising a continued journey towards a more participatory and democratic future for cities around the world. The IOPD, with its global network, remains at the forefront of this transformative journey, inspiring cities to embrace the principles of participatory democracy for the benefit of their communities.

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