The DiverCities Project is promoted by a transnational partnership of Municipalities and civil society organizations (CSOs), who work together to develop an effective model of citizens’ participation in the elaboration of local intercultural policies, directly involving 8 cities and 3 national networks of cities intercultural exchanges of 4 European countries.
DiverCities, built on the experience of the Intercultural Cities Program (ICC) of the Council of Europe, of which the partner cities are members, will focus on one of the fundamental principles of the intercultural approach: PARTICIPATION. Active citizenship and participation make it possible to ensure that no one is left out and that even those without formal citizenship have a say in the shaping of local society. Equality, diversity, interaction, active citizenship and participation are four interconnected values that underpin the development and maintenance of an intercultural city. With the aim of creating the conditions for a more inclusive decision-making process, the project will strengthen the skills and methodologies of local authorities and support the active engagement of citizens from different backgrounds to concretely contribute to the development of intercultural policies of cities.
This participatory process will take into account the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and provide a shared response to the impact of the pandemic on citizen engagement in local democratic practices.
DiverCities also promotes and implements innovative democratic approaches and tools to help citizens make their voices heard, with a strong focus on the participatory elaboration of local intercultural strategies through the organization of Intercultural Citizens’ Assemblies, knowledge sharing events and activities of awareness.
Finally, DiverCities embeds a gender-sensitive approach and will contribute to the inclusion of gender as a cross-cutting issue in local politics and citizen engagement, promoting participation and power-sharing with a pluralistic sense of identity.
The project aims to promote an effective bottom-up approach, which stimulates citizens’ participation in the elaboration of local intercultural policies in European cities.
The objectives are:
- strengthen the skills and methodologies of 8 European cities in implementing effective bottom-up democratic processes, in collaboration with local stakeholders;
- increase citizens’ contribution to decision-making and awareness-raising in the field of interculturality and promotion of diversity;
- facilitate the integration of the project results and good practices in other European cities.
The beneficiaries of the project are:
- Municipalities, chosen as a priority target group due to their role as key actors in promoting effective citizen participation in the decision-making process. The project strategy will focus on local authorities as, as demonstrated by the needs assessment, cities have a low level of citizen participation and engagement, a condition which has been further undermined by the COVID-19.
- Civil society organizations (CSOs) and stakeholders operating in the target cities, such as cultural organizations and local associations, committees, formal and informal groups. The involvement of these subjects will support the participatory process and make the public intervention more effective in the medium to long term.
- Citizens, who will work directly with cities during Intercultural Assemblies and contribute to the design of local intercultural strategies, applying a bottom-up approach to creating new policies in their communities. The selection and involvement of citizens in the project activities will guarantee particular attention to diversity (ethnicity, gender, age, origin, etc.), as required by the intercultural approach that guides the project.
Creation of a community of practice to share skills and experiences.
Local public consultations on intercultural issues in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.
Development of the communication campaign “Building bridges: citizens for interculture”.
Implementation of knowledge-sharing events in all the countries involved.