Riga (Latvia) held a citizens panel on civic participation related to culture, youth, neighbourhoods, green lifestyle and inclusive society in December as part of our citizens panel initiative. Following good practice presentations and discussions, participants came up with three recommendations.
The main aim of the citizens panel was to encourage and foster civic participation proposals for the city’s development through education, inspiration and discussion.
After opening speeches from representatives of the European Commission and Riga City Council, good practice stories on civic participation initiatives were presented.
Participants were then divided into five working groups to explore topics related to civic participation and culture, youth, neighbourhoods, green lifestyle and inclusive society.
These groups gave participants a great opportunity to highlight issues and challenges society is facing in local communities, neighbourhoods and the city and at the same time find solutions for the local and even individual level.
Seven speakers were invited to take part in the educational element of the event:
- Eižēnija Aldermane, chairman of the education, culture and sports committee of Riga City Council
- Andris Kužnieks, head of the European Commission representation in Latvia
- Maija Pavlova, from the Ģertrude Street Theatre, who spoke about the meaning of civic participation in culture
- Mairīte Lūse, Zero Waste Latvia, who talked on civic participation and the environment
- Anna Īviņa, consultant for the Riga pupils council, who spoke on youth civic participation
- Irīna Antoņēviča, of the Avotu street neighbourhood, who talked on participation in local communities
- Aija Strazda, Latvian Red Cross, who spoke about civic and social inclusion.
The end result of the day's work and discussions were three recommendations:
Use of the public transport infrastructure to inform inhabitants and city guests - using information monitors for example - about interesting city and neighbourhood facts, events and other information, to foster participation, a sense of belonging and social inclusion
Engagement of inhabitants and fostering of social and civic inclusion through the support and development of neighbourhood initiatives promoting cooperation and communication at an individual level and encouraging involvement and a sense of solidarity, such as using local spaces for urban gardening projects
Active promotion of voluntary work in schools to foster youth inclusion and civic participation by, for example, dedicating specific time during the learning process to talk about local volunteering opportunities in different fields.
These citizens' ideas, together with those coming from other citizens consultations taking place across Europe until February 2019, will be presented at the second Mayors Summit on the future of Europe on 20 and 21 March 2019.
As part of Mayors Summit, which will take place two months ahead of the European Parliament elections in the presence of more than 100 city politicians, EUROCITIES and the European Commission will present the panel results to national and European political leaders.