The 17th IOPD Conference will be held in Montréal from June 16 to 19, 2017. We are expecting over 500 participants from all continents, who will discuss the various aspects of participatory democracy.
This year, the theme “Participation without exclusion” invites us to reflect on the numerous obstacles to fully exercising citizenship and on the participation models that promote the expression of opinions and citizen contribution, and enable the greatest number of people to influence decision-making processes.
The issues facing cities, regions and their residents are complex. They involve urban planning, learning to live together, justice, the environment, health, and many other subjects. The solutions of the future will rely on collective intelligence and increasing cooperation with citizens. That is why it is so important to develop means of keeping discussions going within communities.
Montréal is replete with institutions and practices that are remarkable from the perspective of participatory democracy. The Montréal Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, with its Right of Initiative enabling citizens to request consultations, is a model often analyzed throughout the world. The Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM), where I am president, is an independent body that has carried out public consultation mandates entrusted to it by the Ville de Montréal for 15 years. Its credibility rests on its neutrality, its independence from political powers, and the transparency of its activities. The OCPM thereby also contributes to the greater participation of Montrealers in the decision-making process. Our innovation technology community is also very vibrant. Through their experiments and solutions, the citizen labs and our start-ups help to develop and enhance everyone’s contribution and to redefine relations with administrations.
I therefore invite you to come out in great numbers to take a closer look at the Québec model, to present your own initiatives, and to speak with thinkers, practitioners and activists from the four corners of the world while Montréal assumes, for a few days, the role of world centre for participatory democracy.
IODP Deputy Chair