Presentation on theme: "1 From Citizen Information to Citizen Participation, from Local to European NACAB’s Approach to Citizen Participation at EU level NACAB Romania: www.robcc.ro."— Presentation transcript:
1 From Citizen Information to Citizen Participation, from Local to European NACAB’s Approach to Citizen Participation at EU level NACAB Romania:
2 Citizen Information NACAB’s raison d’etre Since information campaigns on EU Affairs Citizen Participation—the Power of the Local Campia Turzii—a local success story Objective met in Bucharest neighbourhood EU Level Citizen Participation— the Way Ahead EPIC-The First Attempt
3 National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux (NACAB): –nongovernmental, non profit organization, founded to support and direct the activities of the Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) –federative structure: NACAB is made up of 38 NGOs that founded CABs –service provider for the member organizations: »Representation in relation with public authorities »Promotion of their activities »Coordination of the CAB activities and training for the CAB personnel Citizen information at the heart of NACAB’s activities: –Through the CABs, NACAB ensures equal access of citizens to information and advice services so that they are able to acknowledge their rights and duties Our mission: to consolidate the Romanian society by offering services of information/advice and by promoting the interests of all citizens in the decision making process. Citizen Information. NACAB’s raison d’etre
4 Since 2004, NACAB has been developing information campaigns on EU Affairs: , “The Citizen and Europe” project aiming at developing citizens’ capacity in order to access, understand and use the European information in their daily life. 2007, the “Workers in the EU – Informing the Romanian Migrants about Their Rights and Responsibilities on the EU Labor Market” initiative 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 the European citizenship series of fora on civic rights in the EU (voting and standing as a candidate for the EP elections, the ECI, engaging with the EU institutions, participating and volunteering in the EU). Results: Citizens in over 23 urban and local milieus acquired knowledge on how the European Union works, but they also had the opportunity to interact both with each other and with elected representatives of the public institutions in their communities.. Citizen Information in EU Affairs
5 Exercising democracy in Campia Turzii, Romania Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local
6 Exercising democracy: evidence-based and participatory local policy making Period: June 2011 – March 2012 Goal: To organize two local advocacy campaigns for including participatory policy proposals in local decisions in two small urban communities in Romania: Campia Turzii (Cluj County) and Jimbolia (Timis County). Financing authority: Balkan Trust for Democracy – The German Marshall Fund of the United States. Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local
7 Campia Turzii – The Sarat neighbourhood case Problem description (1): In Campia Turzii, the 5000 residents of Sarat neighborhood, mostly pensioners, are isolated from the rest of the city by the railway tracks, thus, being deprived of a wide range of public services. Their only possibility to reach the center of the town, where the schools, hospitals or any other place of interest are, is by car on an overland route. The citizens should make a 3 km detour in order to reach a street with a barrier (but which has no sidewalk). The time spent at the barrier is long and this poses a big problem for the ambulance and the firemen. Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local
8 Extreme sports in Sarat Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local
9 Campia Turzii – The Sarat neighbourhood case Problem description (2): In the past, there was a footbridge, but it was demolished due to the electrification of the railway. Because not all the citizens of the neighbourhood can afford to travel by car, they just cross the railway tracks by foot, risking their lives everyday. At one point, the police even started to give fines to the persons who, in order to get to work, drug store (there is no drug store in the neighbourhood), city hall, etc., had to cross the railway tracks. Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local
10 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local
11 Campia Turzii – The Sarat neighbourhood case Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local Meeting the citizens: In september 2011 we organised the first meeting with 30 citizens from the Sarat neighbourhood. We told them about the project, about what we were trying to do and then asked them what did they want, why and from whom. This represented a positive exercise and the citizens were encouraged to speak up, to find solutions and to take action in order to change the status-quo.
12 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local
13 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local
14 Campia Turzii – The Sarat neighbourhood case Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local What did the citizens want? A subway. (A footbridge would be too difficult for the elder persons and the children to climb the stairs.) Who could build it? "The National Railway Company" CFR – the sole entity who could access at the time, through the Sectorial Operational Programme for Transport, grants for railway safety projects.
15 What did we do? (1) Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local We identified volunteers who gathered signatures in the Sarat neighbourhood for the construction of the subway. We posted messages throughout the neighbourhood for raising awareness so that the citizens could call the authorities and demand answers regarding the problem they faced. We collected letters from the citizens and sent them to CFR and the Ministry of Transport. We wrote to a famous Romanian singer, born in Campia Turzii, trying to obtain her support in our campaign.
16 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local
17 What did we do? (2) Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local With the support of Campia Turzii City hall we sent open letters to: Cluj Regional Railway Company, the National Railway Company "CFR", the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, the Government, the Ministry of European Affairs. Both the "CFR" and the Ministry of Transport rejected the proposal and placed the responsibility for resolving the problem on Campia Turzii City hall. We obtained a meeting with the representatives of the Ministry of Transport in order to find a solution to the problem, but they still refused the initiative.
18 What did we do? (3) Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local In 2012 we organised a Candidates’ Forum in order to bring together the citizens of the Sarat neighbourhood and the candidates for the local elections. Some mayoral candidates promised to resolve the problem of the Sarat neighborhood, but unfortunately they were not elected in the end.
19 Hopes for the future Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local Although our project ended in 2012, we haven’t stop monitoring the situation of the Sarat neighbourhood. We are waiting for the structural funds to be available in Romania and we hope that either the local authorities from Campia Turzii or the National Railway Company "CFR" and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure will be willing to access them. Even though the problem hasn’t been yet solved, the citizens still learned how to make their voice heard and the authorities were reminded to about their responsibilities.
20 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local Fetch the Councillor, Here's the Citizen!
21 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local Exercising democracy: a successful story on the Sunrise street in one of Bucharest’s neighborhoods Period: December 2009 – November 2010 Goal: To strengthen the capacity of the NGOs to monitor the activity of the Local Councils (LCs) and to mobilize the community with regards to capacitating the LCs in order to represent the interests of citizens. Financing authority: Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area (EEA), NGO Fund, Romania
22 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local What we wanted Check on what Local Councils (LCs) did so far for the citizens (and especially what they didn’t): monitoring their activities and relation with the citizens Identify a mistreated local problem and a community that can ‘adopt’ it and work towards finding solutions for it Engage the citizens and the authorities so that the problem can be solved
23 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local
24 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local What we did (1) Decided to work with the local councilors from the Bucharest City Hall’s LC (BLC) Based on Law No. 544/2001 (free access to public interest information) we’ve asked for documents regarding their 2009 activity…
25 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local … -Citizens suggestions, proposals and opinions sent to the LC for their normative acts (no personal data); -Petitions and heads up from the citizens that they’ve received; -Individual activity and commission’s reports of the local councilors, as well as those of the Mayor and of the Hall itself; -Local development strategy; -Summaries from the public debates they’ve organized with the citizens; -LC’s decisions; -Other ways of dialogue with the community (local referendums, public forums etc).
26 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local
27 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local What we did (2) Analyzed all the documentation received from the BLC and the data from the mistermayor.ro website: biggest problem: streets’ infrastructure Decided to pick one such street that is under BLC’s administration but that wasn’t included in their local development strategy Worked with our Bucharest Citizen Advice Bureaux (CAB) to find the street and a community for it: Sunrise Street, 6 th District and 2 active families that had some attempts to solve it until this point
28 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local Action Plan Have the BLC acknowledge the street is really under its administration and have it repaired, even though it wasn’t included in their Modernization Plan (that was due until 2012) Mobilize as many citizens from the community and have them support our initiative: raising awareness campaign (flyers distributed in their post office boxes), gathering signatures for the petition and sending to the LC postcards with pictures of the street and special messages (photo voice method)
29 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local Gathering signatures
30 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local ‘Special’ postcards send to BLC Street of the lost hopes…and of the lost wheels!
31 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local ‘Special’ postcards send to BLC A pitfall that will make history and become a crater!
32 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local Results More than 100 citizens have sent to the BLC their special postcards An official petition has been signed and advanced to the BLC Sunrise Street has been included in the Modernization Plan and was repaired one year later
33 Citizen Participation— the Power of the Local
34 EPIC: European Participation Initiatives for Citizens –Aim: enhancing citizens’ ownership and usage of their rights as European citizens by promoting and increasing knowledge on four EU level participation tools: European elections, petitioning to the European Parliament, complaining to the European Ombudsman the European Citizens Initiative. –Partners from Romania (NACAB), Hungary (CCF), Belgium (ECAS) –Co-Funded by the European Commission, Europe for Citizens Programme EU Level Citizen Participation—the Way Ahead EPIC-The First Attempt
35 Maria Antica Andreea Barbulescu Alina Iosifescu Thank you for your attention!