Uniting European Citizens for the SDGs, the European Green Deal and Citizen participation: ALDA in Rome within the Real Deal project

May 29, 2024

Citizens engagement Environment & climate

Within the REAL DEAL project, on May 7 and 8, 2024, ALDA actively participated in the ASviS Festival of Sustainable Development in Rome, Italy. The Festival was created to raise awareness among growing segments of the population on social, economic, and environmental sustainability, extending beyond subject-matter experts. It aimed to foster a cultural shift in individual and collective behaviors and to stimulate “bottom-up” requests that would compel the Country’s leadership to comply with the agreements undertaken with the UN. Additionally, the Festival sought to give voice to citizens, businesses, national and local administrations, universities, and civil society to promote dialogue and the sharing of best practices on the issues of the 2030 Agenda.

The Festival was a unique experience at the international level, reaching millions of people in Italy each year through the participation of hundreds of organisations across the country. Universities played an active role, and “sustainable development squares” were opened in several major Italian cities. This stimulated an unprecedented reflection on the future of Italy, Europe, and the world. In 2019 and 2020, the Festival was nominated among thousands of projects as a finalist for the SDG Action Awards of the UN SDG Action Campaign, recognised for being an innovative initiative and a unique experience globally.

Day 1: Deliberative Democracy in Action

Over the past six months, citizens’ assemblies in Denmark and Italy, organised by Nyt Europa and ASviS respectively, focused on the European Semester. These assemblies engaged participants in a deliberative process to develop concrete policy proposals related to the European Green Deal and European economic policies.

In Rome (Italy), participants from both countries convened to evaluate their involvement in the EU policymaking process. They compared the outcomes and political recommendations from their respective assemblies and discussed methods to enhance stakeholder and citizen involvement in EU economic policymaking. By the end of the day, participants agreed on common policy recommendations addressing climate and environment, social justice, macroeconomic governance, and deliberative democracy methods. These recommendations were presented during the ASviS Festival on May 8th.

Day 2: Dialogue on the Green Deal and Sustainable Development

The second day featured a dialogue on the Green Deal, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the economic system, moderated by Julie Rosenkilde of Nyt Europa. Ingeborg Nestroy (RIFS), the REAL DEAL project coordinator, introduced the project, followed by a debate featuring Enrico Giovannini (ASviS Scientific Director) and Judith Hermann (Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung).

Ivana Demarinis, representing the Italian citizens’ assembly, presented newly formulated policy recommendations, reflecting the rigorous debates and collective reflections from the previous day.

Expert Insights and Citizen Engagement

The day’s second session included a panel of experts on European decision-making participation. Notable speakers included Ulrike Liebert (European University Institute), Daniela Longo (SCS Consulting), Eileen Roth (Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung) and Dafne Sgarra (ALDA). Ms. Sgarra highlighted the TALE project and ALDA’s campaign for the EU elections, “Better Europe Together: Local Ideas, European Results,” which aims to boost voter turnout and enhance active citizen participation beyond voting.

Simone Aslak, representing Danish participants, concluded the event with insights into the decision-making and participation methods discussed the previous day.

A Platform for Shared Experiences and Policy Innovation

This event provided a valuable platform for citizens to share experiences regarding economic governance, environmental issues, and social justice. It exemplified effective citizen engagement and participation, combined with expert insights and the efforts of civil society organisations (CSOs) to foster good governance at all levels.

By participating in the ASviS Festival, ALDA reinforced its commitment to sustainable development and inclusive policymaking, paving the way for more engaged and informed citizens across Europe.