Getting Civic Tech Right for Democracy
The OECD's international event on “Getting Civic Tech Right for Democracy” will discuss the evolution, opportunities, and challenges of civic tech for democracy, as well as how to ensure sustainability and institutionalise digital solutions. The use of civic tech for democratic governance has expanded in recent years. It has become a valuable tool, contributing to a complex picture whereby i) significant efforts have been made in innovating to increase citizens’ voice in decision making, while ii) these efforts have so far fallen short of expectations. In fact, according to the 2021 OECD Survey on the Drivers of Trust in Institutions, on average only 30.2% of people trust governments to allow them to have a say in decision making. In general, results from the Trust Survey show people are sceptical that their government will adapt policies and services in response to public feedback.
There are fundamental questions to be asked about the roles of government, the private sector, and not-for-profit organisations in engaging citizens through technological means in democratic processes and how these can add to or complement traditional democratic governance, notably through Parliament. This includes the perspective of young people as the largest user group of the internet and the first generation to have most of their lives reflected in online data.
This event will gather selected speakers and discussants to address governance and policy challenges related to the use of civic tech in democratic governance. The event will focus on how governments (national and subnational) and other public institutions (parliaments and oversight institutions) can leverage civic tech to improve citizen-government relations and how to ensure civic tech solutions are fit-for-democracy.
Speakers will be invited to reflect on key questions, including:
- What is the potential of civic tech for democratic governance and how to set the right expectations?
- How can governments leverage civic tech more effectively to engage with citizens?
- What are the key risks and challenges associated with civic tech solutions and their fitness-for-democracy? What tools can governments use to ensure that civic tech solutions support democracy?
- How can public institutions successfully embed civic tech into traditional democratic governance models and processes?
- What is the role of international norms, standards, and cooperation in this field?
The Event is organised by the OECD Secretariat in close collaboration with the following knowledge partners: the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the Instituto de Empresa (IE) University and the Bertelsmann Stiftung. In preparation for the event, the OECD Secretariat will draft an Issues Note to frame the discussions and outline the key policy issues to be considered.
Outcomes of the Event
The event will contribute to the OECD Reinforcing Democracy Initiative (RDI) and, in particular, to its pillars and Action Plans on (i) Enhancing Participation, Representation and Openness in Public Life and on (ii) Digital Democracy. It will also provide inputs into a report on the use of civic tech by governments to promote digital participation, representation, responsiveness, and social accountability. This report will further explore cutting edge questions such as the emergent role of artificial intelligence, including both the opportunities and risks for democracy in the digital age.
09:30-10:00 | Opening Remark
10:00-10:15 | What people say, think, and feel about civic tech?
10:15-11:15 | Meeting the needs of modern democracies: Is civic tech delivering according to expectations?
11:30-12:00 | Coffee Break
12:00-13:15 | Are civic tech solutions fit-for-democracy? Risks and enablers for civic tech to reinforce democracy
13:30– 15:00 | Lunch Break
15:00-16:15 | Getting it right: what can governments do to leverage the full potential of civic tech?
16:30-17:20 | Connecting the dots and identifying the way forward
17:30-18:00 | Closing Remark
18:00– 19:00 | Cocktai