Citizens’ Participation and Dialogue From Sweden to Colombia

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The last week of September 2017 a delegation from Colombia visited Sweden and had the possibility to exchange experiences with both SALAR and three Swedish municipalities. The visit was coordinated in the framework of the project FOINCIDE and the delegation consisted of a small work group and the mayor of each of the four pilot municipalities Montelibano, Florida Valle, Ciénaga Magdalena, Apartadó.

The prime focus of the visit was to explore how Swedish municipalities work with public participation and citizen’s dialogue. The delegation attended work-shops about, amongst other topics, dialogue in complex societal issues, how to work with gender equality as well as how to address environmental issues at local level. Furthermore the delegation visited the municipalities of Haninge, Enköping and Enskede-Årsta-Vantörs stadsdelsförvaltning to see practical examples and listen to hands on experience.

The delegations are committed to replicate the knowledge acquired to their work teams through a presentation when they return to their cities. This study visit was one of the steps within the project’s capacity building plan which also includes the certified course in Citizens Participation executed by a Colombian university and the implementation of an action plan in each municipality.
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The delegation was also accompanied by a representative from DNP (Departamento Nacional de Participación) who focused on the work with indicators for performance management and asymmetric decentralization.

The FOINCIDE project is designed to contribute both to increasing citizen participation and socio-political inclusion, as well as to strengthen the decision making processes and provide tools for improved administration and public policies, based on the exchange of experiences, and in clear articulation and coordination between the municipal and national levels. The project will be implemented until December 2018 with a possible extension to December 2020.