The "Agenda for Participation in the Macro-regional Strategies" aims to promote multi-level and participative governance, as the cooperation between member states, regions, cities and civil society is crucial for successful development in the macro-regions. Thus, the "Agenda for Participation" promotes the use of the full potential of civil society and local actors to successfully tackle political, economic and social challenges in the macro-regions.
The participation of civil society and local actors is at the core of European democratic values and good governance. However, in the context of the financial, economic, political and social crisis shaking up the foundations of the European Union, the decline of the citizens’ trust in political systems at all levels is evident, as are its dramatic consequences.
The innovative approach of Macro-regional Strategies could and should be testing grounds promoting democratisation and participative approaches. The involvement of organized civil society and local actors in the decision-making processes and implementation is a crucial step towards better understanding of local challenges, the development of suitable policies, and reducing costs of policy implementation at all levels.
Thus, Priority Area 10 "Institutional Capacity and Cooperation" and the Danube Civil Society Forum (DCSF) drafted in cooperation with further stakeholders from the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region and Interact the "Agenda for Participation in the Macro-regional Strategies". The Agenda was further discussed and commented at the National Participation Days 2017 and at the 4th Danube Participation Day in Budapest.
The aims of the Agenda should be implemented and further supported through cooperation of macro-regional stakeholders within "Participation Partnerships". The outcomes of the Participation Partnerships will be reported at the Danube Annual Forum as well as to European institutions and the EUSDR governance.
The Participation Partnerships are open platforms, working on concrete goals, challenges and solutions. Acting transversally and transnationally, they should facilitate joint macro-regional responses and actions to common challenges. They operate as frameworks for dissemination and implementation of participatory processes, policies and strategies, top down and bottom up in the macro-regional strategies (MRS).
The Partnership will work on theories, research and good practices promoting participatory governance in order to enhance capacities for multi-level governance in the macro- regions, developing measures and actions for the strategy.
The Partnership will develop, based on the new guidelines for Participation developed by the Council of Europe, concrete measures for the implementation of Participation at the local level.
The Partnership will identify innovative, co-creative and trans-sectoral approaches in order to sustain long term top-down (thinking) and bottom-up (acting) processes (developments).
The Partnership will look at participatory structures that integrate Civil Society and Local Actors regional development and EU funding instruments (Partnership Principle) in regard to challenges, good practices and opportunities within the ongoing discussion on EU Cohesion Policy 2020+.
The Partnership deals with participatory approaches to empower vulnerable groups in the macro-regions in order to enable their participation in the shaping of their social and political capital