There are many initiatives for citizen participation in Belgium. In recent years, the authorities have become increasingly aware of the role that citizen panels can play in bringing policy-making closer to the people.
Discover here the noteworthy initiatives in our country, with figures and facts.
Our criteria: citizens' assembly with random draw and deliberation.
In 2021, the municipality of Forest created a citizen's council, composed of 37 randomly selected citizens, in order to further involve the inhabitants in the elaboration of public policies and to feed the decisions of the municipality by formulating recommendations to the municipal institutions.
In October and November 2021, Brussels Environment hosted deliberative workshops as part of the participatory process “Let's prepare Brussels” aiming at rethinking the resilience of the Region, during which about a hundred citizens formulated recommendations, on the basis of the results of a previous citizen consultation (online), to the competent Brussels Minister.
The municipality of Mechelen wanted to involve the citizens more in the political life and therefore gathered in May 2021 a panel of 50 randomly selected citizens to discuss the question of the balance between a lively and a peaceful city—the recommendations resulting from this process have been forwarded to the local institutions for implementation.
In 2021, the Walloon Government commissioned a Citizens Panel on Climate as part of the revision of the Air Climate Energy Plan, asking the approximately sixty citizens selected by lot to formulate recommendations for measures to be taken to reduce greenhouse gases of 55% since 1990 by the year 2030.
In 2020, the municipality of Saint-Gilles has set up a permanent citizens' council, made up of 35 Saint-Gilles inhabitants, in order involve residents in the development of public policies, encourage citizen participation and improve the interaction between residents and elected officials.
In 2020, the municipality of Auderghem launched the project of the Assembly of Residents, made up of 10 Neighborhood Assemblies, themselves composed of 10 citizens drawn by lot. Their role is to co-organize the municipal participatory budget and to formulate public policy recommendations.
Since 2020, the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region and the French-speaking Parliament of Brussels organize joint commissions bringing together citizens chosen by lot and elected officials to formulate recommendations on various topics that are then dealt with in the Parliament.
Since 2020, the political movement Agora organizes the deliberations of the Brussels Citizens' Assembly, gathering 89 citizens drawn by lot to formulate proposals relayed to the Brussels Parliament by an elected spokesperson.
In 2020, 38 citizens from the municipality of Oud-Heverlee were chosen by lot to discuss the future of the "Zoet Water" site and to formulate proposals for the municipal council, in order to co-design with the local institutions the future of this important territory of the municipality.
Since 2020, the City of Brussels has set up several District Councils composed of 11 citizens chosen by lot and 6 representatives of organized civil society, who meet 10 times a year to co-construct local policy through a participatory budget and make recommendations to the municipal authorities.
Since 2020, the municipality of Etterbeek has set up several district councils, composed of 16 citizens chosen by lot and members of the civil society, to foster democracy and take part in local decision-making, through a participatory budget and the formulation of recommendations for the municipal authorities.
Since 2019, the German-speaking Community has adopted a decree for a “permanent citizen dialogue”, a deliberative model consisting of a permanent council of citizens drawn by lot initiating occasional assemblies of citizens also drawn by lot, who deliberate and formulate recommendations around a theme defined by the citizen council.