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 Democracy, Democratic Society, Hertie School, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Open Government Partnership, Open Contracting Partnership, Organisation 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.