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.
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.
At the initiative of the Federal Ombudsman, in September 2018, 46 citizens drawn by lot from an online survey on trust and satisfaction with the federal administration were gathered in the Belgian Senate to think together and formulate recommendations on the future of the federal administration.
In October and November 2017, the Brussels Parliament gathered 40 randomly selected citizens to deliberate and make recommendations for improving mobility in Brussels. These recommendations were then debated in a dedicated parliamentary commission and then transferred to the Brussels Government to be integrated into the Region's mobility plan.
In 2017, the Parliament of Wallonia initiated a citizen's panel gathering 30 randomly selected citizens, following a survey about the long-term challenges of aging, to continue the reflection by deliberating around this theme in order to produce recommendations for the Parliament and the Walloon Government.
In 2017, the municipality of Ghent set up a "citizens cabinet" composed of 150 randomly selected citizens to deliberate and provide recommendations to the city council, as part of a broad citizen consultation process on the city's traffic plan in progress since 2015.
In March 2017, the municipality of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean commissioned a citizens' panel of about 100 Molenbeekers to deliberate on the causes of radicalization among young people and the preventive measures to be taken, as well as the issue of bringing communities together.
In November 2015, 55 randomly selected young people from Brussels were brought together at Brussels Environment, at the initiative of the Brussels Government, to discuss climate change issues and produce recommendations that Minister Fremault can share during the COP21.
In 2015, the University of Liège organized a panel of randomly selected citizens from the Province of Luxembourg to deliberate on climate and energy issues, with the objective of feeding political action with new and original citizen proposals in order to support the environmental ambitions of the Province.
At the initiative of the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance and the Federal Center for Health Care Expertise, 32 randomly selected citizens formed a citizens' panel in the fall of 2014 with the objective of formulating proposals on the criteria to be taken into account for the reimbursement of medical care.
In 2013, the Foundation for Future Generations coordinated, with various institutional and private partners, a process of citizen participation involving 24 randomly selected citizens to think about the world in which it would be desirable to grow old, whether in terms of health care, end of career or housing.
In 2011, in the midst of a political crisis in a governmentless Belgium, G1000 was a citizens' initiative aimed at breathing new life into democracy by organizing a major citizens' consultation, bringing together 1,000 randomly selected citizens to make recommendations to the political world.