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CO-ACT 4th thematic meeting
Democratic governance of common goods for the wellbeing of all today and tomorrow
Timisoara, 17th & 18th September 2016

Background and purpose of the meeting

Role of thematic meetings in the CO-ACT project - Click here to learn more...

The CO-ACTE project is a European initiative that looks at how citizens work alongside professionals to take co-responsibility for the health and wellbeing of the whole community and address issues of inclusion, cohesion and sustainability of the wider society.

This project is a continuation of the work initially launched by the Council of Europe, now under the direction of the international TOGETHER network. TOGETHER developed a collaborative tool and methodology for citizen consultation and participation called SPIRAL. SPIRAL is an inclusive process that brings citizens together with people from the public and private sector. It then looks at issues of health and wellbeing, finds out what is important and then asks what needs to be done and what can be done to ensure the well-being of all more information.

The CO-ACTE project takes it a step further and asks what public policy measures and changes need to be implemented to support this work from a community point of view and help citizens take co-responsibility for their own health and well-being as well as that of others in the wider society.

So far, citizens in over 20 European and African countries have taken part in SPIRAL and/or the CO-ACTE project and have added their voice to the findings. The method allows for a very free and open discussion, without preconceptions and equal speaking rights for all involved. This has resulted in a very different set of views and opinions to other similar discussions, touching on all major social issues. They highlight the fundamental elements of what could be a co-responsible and supportive society (these include views on intergenerational support, the economy, democracy, peace/non-violence, social cohesion, respect for the environment and the equitable sharing of resources). Most importantly the findings include concrete proposals and objectives. Click here to see the syntesis of these propositions and the follow-up to be given

The next stage of the CO-ACTE project is to build on these results and add in further experiences from civil society. Community and socially minded organisations are invited to take the proposals and objectives and discuss how they can be achieved. They are asked to bring their expertise to the discussions and look at what is needed to create the correct environment that can move us towards the shared vision of a co-responsible and supportive society. In particular they will look at what challenges and hinders the objectives and what public policy changes can be made to address this.

These discussions will happen through a series of thematic meetings across Europe and will involve a diverse range of community minded organisations and individuals. The starting point will always be directly from the results of the citizens but then each meeting will build on the findings of the previous meeting.

Specific role of this third meeting - Click here to learn more...

After the first three thematic meetings, we will focus on the establishment of a democratic governance of common goods for the well-being of all today and tomorrow. This 4th thematic meeting aims at defining the necessary means to co-construct a collaborative democracy and a coresponsible governance of common goods for the well-being of all today and tomorrow. Conclusions from the first three meetings will be the base for the development of this governance. We will go deeper on the issue of the access to resources, allowing each citizen to participate in the well-being of all according to his abilities and aspirations, and adapt his life project according to these factors. A more flexible approach to accessing resources will lead to address the issue of common goods in a new light. Public goods as well as private and community property will be involved, and it will be necessary to rely on the diversity of experiences in the world on this theme. Through the analysis of ex-antes impact, collective management of common goods tends to improve various components of well-being. Exchanges and decision-making processes involved in this management, based on a democratic model and compromise research, allowing individuals to feel like they are actors and citizens on their territory, and at the same time encouraging the creation of a social bond to strengthen neighbourly relations. This management also reveals a will to help people in difficult situations and, therefore, fight against social inequalities and propose an alternative to the current system, through the search for economic equality and not a search motivated by profit. Life conditions are better now, and so is the feeling of well-being of participants who find autonomy and responsibilities and at the same time share common values (free of charge, sharing, solidarity, democracy...). One of the objectives of the SPIRAL approach is to give back a power of action to actors of the territory, it's not a question of consulting anymore, but to co-construct with citizens. The return to democratic principles therefore requires the development of a collaborative system of democracy where everyone has the opportunity to act on territories. Coresponsibility, because it generates social cohesion and pushes actors to be aware of their role in society and to future generations, is a fundamental principle of this form of democracy. It seems to require a flexible and collective management of common resources and goods. We will focus on this issue during this meeting. The main challenge will be the co-construction of a more democratic model of governance, both at a local and global level, based on experiments performed in several European territories. We will establish an overall strategy based on coresponsibility and taking into account the expectations, motivations and abilities of each.

Objectives of the meeting

The meeting has three objectives:

  1. Highlight ways to ensure a collaborative democracy and coresponsible governance of common goods for the well-being of all today and tomorrow
  2. Identify policy measures necessary for this purpose, in addition to the citizens' proposals;
  3. Agree on a functioning mode of thematic networks after the meeting.

This model of collaborative democracy and coresponsible governance of common goods should be based on :

  1. A collective management of common goods and a more flexible and equitable access to resources
  2. Taking power at the local level and defining of a legal framework allowing the development of a more democratic governance
  3. Tools and methods allowing a collective trans-territorial organisation ensuring a democratic functioning at a global scale


To reach this purpose, we want to invite the following people and/or organisations:

  • For the first point : People representing the system of “biens arrêtés” in Tunisia, self-managed territories in Larzac, France, the Community Land Thrust in Belgium, water management in Naples and the “Baldios” in Portugal
  • For the second point : Local experiences of coresponsible and collaborative governance, such as the Mairie de Saillans (France), the ZAD of Notre-Dames-des-Landes (France), inhabitants associations (Cape Verde), citizens' associations (Turkey), platform Decidim Barcelona (Spain) and an example from Romania
  • For the third point : The example of a collaborative platform (DemocracyOS), the contribution of the town of Jette with its decentralised cooperation between Belgium and Morocco, the contribution of the School of Peace for the conflict management in the global context.

Meeting preparation

From now on a debate space online to create the foundation of the model proposed and think about policy measures it implies, and that will be discussed during the meeting.

Indicative program of the two days

Day 1 (Friday 16th, September)

Session 1 : Overview of the CO-ACTE project and the objectives of the meeting

  • 9h-9h30 : Reception and presentation of the participants
  • 9h30-10h : Presentation of CO-ACTE, its objectives and first results : Synthesis of the citizens' proposals and the conclusions of the first three thematic meetings. Coresponsible governance model for the well-being of all through the articulation between representative, collaborative and direct democracies. Objectives of the meeting – Debate

Session 2 : From the field practice to the realization of a collaborative democracy model based on a shared and coresponsible governance of common goods, for the well-being of all

  • 10h-11h30 : Participative management of common goods and coresponsibility : the system of “biens arrêtés” in Tunisia, self-managed territories in Larzac, France, the Community Land Thrust in Belgium and the “Baldios” in Portugal- Debate : How to create solid bases of coresponsibility in the management of common goods, in public policies and legal frameworks as well as in groups of inhabitants ?
  • 11h30-11h45 : Coffee break
  • 11h45-13h : Coresponsible governance and democracy at a local level: Contribution of the Mairie de Saillans (France), people from the ZAD, inhabitants associations (Cape Verde), citizens' associations (Turkey), platform Decide Madrid (Spain) and examples from Romania – Debate : How local politic initiatives participate in the creation of a more just and coresponsible collaborative democracy system ?
  • 13h-14h30 : Lunch break
  • 14h30-15h45 : Coresponsible governance and democracy at a global level : This session will focus on the forms of collaborative democracy at a global scale (example of a collaborative platform (DemocracyOS), coresponsibility in solidarity relations between distant territories (contribution of the town of Jette with its decentralised cooperation between Belgium and Morocco, the contribution of the School of Peace for the conflict management in the global context - Debate : How to conceive a democratic governance that ensures coresponsibility at a global scale ?
  • 17h-18h : 4.Synthesis, improvement of a transversal reference model for a democratic governance and conditions for its feasibility. Levers of coresponsibility in global policies drawing lessons from initiatives such as LEADER in Europe, the PLPR in Cape Verde and the notion of active subsidiarity (Pierre Calame FPH)
  • 18h00: End of the works and visit of Timisoara.

Day 2 (Saturday 17th, September)

Session 3 : From the model to the need of public policies

  • 9h-10h45 : Working groups on necessary policy measures to evolve towards a more democratic governance system with the reference model created the day before.
  • 10h45-11h100 : Coffee break
  • 11h00-12h30 : Restitution and synthesis – complementarities and links with the citizens' proposals – Introduction of session 4.
  • 12h30-14h00 : Lunch break

Session 4 – Continuation of the project and operation of the thematic sub-networks

  • 14h00-15h30 : Functioning of thematic sub-networks in the rest of the meeting : meeting by thematic sub-network
  • 15h30 – 16h30 : Synthesis and distribution of tasks until the meeting of Braine l’Alleud and after.
  • 16h30 : Conclusion and closing of the meeting.
  • 17h00: End of the works.

Retour à la page principale du projet CO-ACTE

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