With a program of more than 40 events, until October 2024, the city will address debates surrounding democratic models through events, conferences, and activities related to democratic innovation, citizen participation, culture, education, and public space
For a year, the city will host the European Capital of Democracy with a series of events, conferences, and activities at the local, metropolitan, European, and international levels related to democratic innovation and citizen participation, as well as culture, education, and public spaces. One of the official venues will be the Canòdrom, the Athenaeum of Democratic Innovation in Barcelona, which will host various activities throughout the year.
On Thursday, September 14th, the program of activities was officially launched at the Salón de Ciento of Barcelona City Hall, marking the eve of International Democracy Day, celebrated every September 15th on a European scale. The goal is to promote citizen participation, showcase successful experiences, and work towards improving our democracies, in collaboration with citizens, civil society, political representatives, and institutions.
“Recognition is related to the fact that democracy was born in cities, which have been the cradle of democracy in Europe and are the place where we need to focus the debate, its defense, and improvement,” said Jaume Collboni, the Mayor of Barcelona. Meanwhile, Dubravka Šuica, Vice President of the European Commission, added that “Barcelona is an excellent example of a city that supports innovation in all its forms” and emphasized the importance of democratic participation at the local level.
A program of activities promoting a more democratic and inclusive future:
The program of events has been presented by the Technical Office of the European Capital of Democracy, composed of Barcelona City Council and the Metropolitan Strategic Plan of Barcelona (PEMB), and promoted by The Innovation in Politics Institute. With a program of over 40 events, some of the activities will take place at Canòdrom until October 2024. Highlights include the Decidim Fest 2023, taking place from October 18th to 20th, which will advocate for the rightful place of democracy, technology, and collective intelligence, as well as the meeting of the ECoD City Network, where 21 cities will come together to discuss digital transition from November 17th to 19th, 2023.
Various institutions have begun to participate in the program, such as the Barcelona Provincial Council, the Government of Catalonia, and the Localret Consortium. In addition, a network of entities related to innovation and democracy will collaborate in different events, such as the Contemporary Culture Center of Barcelona (CCCB), the Manifiesta Biennial, the Smart City Expo World Congress, CIDOB, and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC). Internationally, alliances are also being formed with organizations such as Re-Imagino Europe, the OECD, and the International Youth Think Tank.
Five Experiences of Citizen Participation and Democratic Innovation:
In late December 2022, Barcelona was chosen as the future European Capital of Democracy. In its candidacy, it presented five outstanding experiences or projects of citizen participation and democratic innovation that have had a significant impact on the city. One of these is the Canòdrom, an Athenaeum of digital and democratic innovation.
The other four are comprised of the digital citizen participation platform Decidimos, the participatory budgeting process of the city, Deliberative Citizens’ Assemblies—the Youth Forum and the participatory process linked to the Citizens’ Assembly for the Climate—and the Superilla Barcelona.