Democratic Progress in the 21st Century

Blog by the “Democratic Progress” Task force: “There appears to be distrust between citizens and governing officials at all levels, from local municipalities to regional and even national governments. The rapid transformation brought about by digital technologies, from the way we work to where we work, is instilling anxiety and uncertainty in the minds of our population. The fact is that the “business models” and way of doing business has shifted for all, whether you are in government, corporate, and even academia.

Despite their best efforts to innovate and embrace this transformation, the operational systems and processes in place are inefficient and ineffective in doing so, resulting in the digital divide. This divide just increases fear and uncertainty, leading to governments relying on populist views to garner votes, further polarizing rather than uniting nations. 

New democratic forms and institutions, in general, can help liberal democracies overcome the challenges highlighted. We will need to build more collaborations, partnerships, and dialogues with a range of stakeholders (SDG17 SDG16 SDG8) so that we may consider more viewpoints on a number of levels and embrace this transition collectively.

This is where the potential of digital ecosystems (communities), which are primarily represented by coworking spaces, creative hubs, and youth centres, are critical platforms for enabling this shift becomes important. The creation of an enabling environment in which diverse stakeholders (government, corporate, academia, and civil society) can collaborate to accelerate social tech entrepreneurs and digital technologies while holding open and inclusive dialogues about social challenges, cultural, and democratic experiences would be a key focus for this.

The Conference on the Future of Europe has taken a significant step in this direction; now we must bring together and elevate the voices of our citizens and digital ecosystem players to ensure that we create an inclusive and enabling environment that embraces citizens’ needs in the digital transformation and closes the digital divide. The goal of these platforms is to facilitate true contact between citizens and decision-makers, which will aid in the resolution of social issues and the restoration of confidence in our society…(More)”