“We need to make our democracies more inclusive. This requires bold and innovative reforms, such as selecting parliaments by lot instead of election, in the way many jury systems work. This would prevent the formation of self-serving and self-perpetuating political classes.”Kofi Annan (1938-2018)
Contemporary democracy has several limitations including short-term thinking, permanent election-style campaigning and policy failures. This can be drastically reduced by using deliberative democracy. This brings together a representative cross-section of society to let citizens learn, deliberate and draft policy recommendations. Their proposals are often stronger, cheaper and identified more quickly than what is the norm today.
Current elected politicians often do not reflect the population, similarly, during traditional participatory events, we see the same type of citizen appear. People with lower educational attainment, minorities and young people participate less. If citizens are carefully selected by random selection, you get a much better reflection of your population. You will for example for the first time always have a parity by gender in the room. This strengthens the representative quality of our democracy.
The quality of democratic deliberation also increases strongly via deliberative democracy. Politics often resembles a battle between two groups, one of which is the “winner”. The ’winning’ group drafts policy ‘against’ the losing minority, which leads to unnecessary polarisation. Regular citizens do not need to be re-elected and did not make public promises, they are therefore typically much more open to information from different sides on a topic. This means they can look as a group for solutions that have the largest amount of support, giving their recommendations significant legitimacy.
Deliberative democracy has been proven in individual cases over the past twenty years, it is time to put it more broadly into practice. If these processes are legally enshrined in our political system, we will have a better way to come to policy decisions and strengthen our democracy.
The smallest region of Belgium will become a true laboratory of democratic innovation in Europe. As of 2019 it will become the first place in Europe with a system whereby a permanent representation of citizens’ drawn randomly is organized next to the existing parliament. The G1000 organisation designed this model, brought international and local experts together in the capital Eupen and will consult to support the implementation of the process. We call this the "Ostbelgien Model".
The ‘Ostbelgien Model’ is groundbreaking, to share it we will annually bring together inspired mayors, members of parliament and scientists to learn from the experiment in German speaking Belgium. We will also bring examples from other cities and territories, in Europe and beyond, that have been using deliberative processes. Thus we do capacity building and foster an international network of politicians that want to make a difference.
The G1000 works to share its knowhow on new democratic models with others, we engage with governments and elected leaders to share information and inspiration. As an international actor in field of democratic innovation, we know that deliberative democracy is a way to enhance the existing systems. We help leaders to lead.
We provide advice and help to cities and localities that are ready to implement deliberative processes. The G1000 is a not a commercial organization, nor are we affiliated with any commercial organisations. We deliver independent, trustworthy and advice to politicians, tailor-made for their communities.
Through our international contacts we are immediately up-to-date with the newest developments globally. Is Madrid putting in place a permanent citizen council? Is Ireland appointing a Citizens’ Assembly to revise the Constitution? Is an Australian region drawing citizens by lot to discuss the disposal of nuclear waste? We bring concise, factual and methodological briefs on these developments, practical for politicians, journalists and activists.
Striving for a better democracy will only be successful if it has sufficient public support. Hence the G1000 not only talks with governments and politicians, it also directs itself towards the general public with media-appearances, opinion pieces, conferences and so on.
Coordinator: Ben Eersels, PhD.
The G1000 is an independent non-profit organization. Financial support by citizens helps us to keep our independencee.
IBAN BE10 0000 0000 0404
Donations as of 40 € in Belgium are tax deductible. Please mention “***623/3625/60043***”