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21 June 2021 - 25 June 2021
Democracy and Governance Practice Retreat 2021: In Crisis and Beyond

Democracy and Governance Practice Retreat 2021: in Crisis and Beyond

The first annual retreat for European civil servants and society

In such unprecedented times, the first annual Democracy and Governance Practice Retreat was held online on 21-25 June 2021. It drew participants from the European institutions, EU member states governments, and national and European civil society to share, learn, and develop new understandings and skills in democratic participation, transparency, and accountability toward stronger policymaking, public services, and ultimately better democracy, fit for crisis and beyond. 

Led by the Open Governance Network for Europe, hosted and sponsored by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, and organised in partnership with the European Commission, European Partnership for DemocracyDemocratic SocietyHertie SchoolNetherlands Helsinki CommitteeOpen Government Partnership, Open Contracting PartnershipOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the UN Human Rights Office, this inaugural retreat was held over one week, with a variety of interactive sessions focusing on the following themes: 

  • democracy and governance
  • civic space
  • civic participation 
  • rule of law, transparency, and accountability
  • future of practice for better climate policymaking

The retreat aims to help civil servants and civil society together learn and share new approaches to policymaking and public services that are found to help improve civic trust in governments and strengthen democracies in crisis and beyond. Through workshops, panel discussions, lectures, exercises, and meetings, retreat participants discovered how to build new governance approaches into everyday practice, and gained new knowledge together with peers across the European institutions and member states, as well as with leading thinkers and actors across civil society and international organisations.                                     


In case you missed it, watch our opening conversation here:

Closed since 25 June 2021
Organised by
Belgium 58
Netherlands 27
Italy 25
United Kingdom 21
Portugal 16
Germany 13
France 12
Spain 12
Canada 10
Austria 10
Poland 7
Romania 6
United States 6
Albania 5
Estonia 4
Czech Republic 4
Slovakia 4
Lithuania 4
Ireland 4
Ukraine 4
Brazil 3
Denmark 3
Hungary 3
Türkiye 3
Norway 3
Georgia 3
Luxembourg 2
South Africa 2
Switzerland 2
Latvia 2
Finland 2
Slovenia 2
Morocco 2
Greece 2
Serbia 2
Nigeria 1
Uganda 1
Azerbaijan 1
Malawi 1
Bulgaria 1
Ethiopia 1
Kosovo 1
Australia 1
Botswana 1
Mexico 1
Ecuador 1
Sweden 1
Moldova, Republic Of 1
North Macedonia 1
Total 302