Abstract

A new social network to support participatory democracy, capable of bringing together civil society, political parties and the government in the same public forum, stimulating the contradictory in the dialogue between people and institutions that represent “tribes” with different perspectives and objectives, instead of closing themselves in “bubbles” of radicalism and hate speech, encouraging the publication of content based on real evidence and facts, with authenticated authors, where all publications are subject to public scrutiny by all intervenients and with some alert automatisms.
It aims to contribute to the consultation of civil society on problems that require a solution and expectations capable of inducing new public policies or their correction in a timely manner; It will be an electoral tool where all the promises and achievements of political parties in government and opposition are found, subject to scrutiny and contradictory.
Given the universal nature of the DemocracyForum.eu project, there is not just one target group, as its users will be all citizens in Portugal and in all democratic countries in Europe and around the world who want to localize the project to their countries, with the propose to exercise their democratic rights, interested on active participation in political, social, economical, technological, environmental, legal and other civic causes, which aim to assess the degree of effectiveness of governments, the fulfilment and coherence of political promises and express their degree of satisfaction in their relationship with services and public authorities, organised mainly around causes and issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), European values, Human Rights and the various internationally recognised areas of governance (COFOG).
Journalists, academics and researchers also constitute the project’s target groups, in all areas of knowledge, as well as NGO activists who want to use the DemocracyForum.eu for their causes.

New EU opportunities for DemocracyForum.eu

Cooperation partnerships (ERASMUS-SPORT-2022-SCP)

In progress

EU call (CERV-2022-CITIZENS-CIV)

This call for proposals supports activities contributing to fostering democracy, inclusion and democratic participation in the EU by for example:
(i) promoting societal engagement through debates, campaigns, awareness- 7
 Call: CERV-2022-CITIZENS-CIV — Call for proposals on citizens’ engagement and participation rising, conferences, workshops etc. on the themes relevant to call priorities and providing a link to the European political agenda and policy making process, and;
(ii) gathering the opinions of individuals through a bottom-up approach (including use of social networks, webinars etc.) and media literacy; and
(iii) promoting exchanges between EU citizens on EU-related topics to foster a better understanding of different perspectives.

Expected impact

boosting citizens’ awareness of rights and values and increasing their degree of engagement in society and with the EU;
enabling people to deepen their knowledge of the EU institutions and policies, and better understand the EU’s
achievements and benefits;
strengthening democratic participation, with a special focus on inclusion of younger and older people, women in all their diversity, mobile EU citizens and people with disabilities;
stimulating reflection and debates related to the call priorities;
strengthening the European character of the elections to the European Parliament;
reaching large numbers of people through events, information material, and (social) media, making best use of new technologies and strengthening media literacy;
reaching those citizens not active in civic participation in their everyday life;
making it possible for members of the EU public to communicate their main concerns to the Commission so that these can be addressed through political commitment.

Open letter to all DemocracyForum.EU Partners about CERV call

Dear Partners
As interested and active partners to CERV-2022-CITIZENS-CIV call, APDSI regret to inform you that it will not be possible to submit the entire application to the CERV program, because unfortunately this program only pays for conferences and seminars and not the technological development of the DemocracyForum.EU platform.
At the heart of this application was the construction of an European platform easily adaptable to all democratic countries, capable of bringing together civil society, political parties and public authorities into dialogue, for the collaborative, transparent and scrutiny construction of public policies.
Of course, it was expected that around half the financial effort would be allocated to the technological development of the platform (including advanced text mining and artificial intelligence tools), which would allow the organization of the so-called “democracy hackathons”, for practical use in the various contexts of the national partners.
It would be possible to submit the application just for the hackathons (generously paid by EU) but without building a functional platform, it would just be one more time and as usual in the European space, a succession of talk, talk, talk…, without sustainability or practical consequences.

APDSI has practically completed the vision and the architecture of DemocracyForum.EU and we will not give up on its effective construction.
We also have a large team of experts and senior researchers who are enthusiastic and capable of developing the platform and following up on the project, but it requires professional work and fair remuneration for that.
We look forward to your help in discovering new creative ideas capable of making DemocracyForum.EU viable and in discovering other lines of support and European funding, for the realization of this dream, because we strongly believe that the future of democracy in the digital age will involve solutions like this.
Keep safe and associative greetings
We keep in touch

General diagram

Scope and national working effort

The platform, which will be developed mainly taking into account the Portuguese institutional reality, can be adapted to any democratic country and with the contributions of other international partners we hope to have a version adapted to the reality of other countries at the end of the project.

The project already has 5 NGOs in 4 countries, 1 trans-European NGO and 3 high schools and research centers on domains such as ICT, political science and journalism.

What is expected from the various national partners that will be involved in the DemocracyForum.EU project is:

  • Collaboration on definition of system requirements and features (WP 2);
  • The adaptation of the platform to each country, namely in the translation of tables and system messages (WP 4);
  • Loading the table of local political parties, institutions and NGOs and publication of the first test posts (WP 4);
  • Collaboration on organisation of “democracy hackathons” to be held in each country (WP 5).

What is expected from the specialised trans-European NGOs is above all to collaborate in the definition of the requirements and functionalities of the system and collaborate in the strategy design ((WP 3) and helping the dynamization of the “Democracy Hackathons” to be organised in the various European countries who will join the DemocracyForum.eu (WP 5).

The platform will allow publishing posts and their contradictory, based on facts and evidence categorised according to causes and public policies standardised internationally, like COFOG, European values, human rights and SDGs.

Working Packages

On European level we are planning 5 Working Packages for the DemocracyForum.EU project:

Meetings and “Democratic Hackathons”

Target Groups

Given the universal nature of the DemocracyForum.eu project, there is not just one target group, as its users will be all citizens, with a special focus on youth, in all democratic countries in Europe and around the world who want to localize the project to their countries, with the propose to exercise their democratic rights, interested on active participation in political, social, economical, technological, environmental, legal and other civic causes, which aim to assess the degree of effectiveness of governments, the fulfilment and coherence of political promises and express their degree of satisfaction in their relationship with services and public authorities, organised mainly around causes and issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), European values, Human Rights and the various internationally recognised areas of governance (COFOG).

Journalists, students, academics, researchers also constitute the project’s target groups, in all areas of knowledge, as well as NGO activists who want to use the DemocracyForum.eu for their causes.

From a technological point of view

The platform will be built based on 4 main components:

  1. Identification – Through secure authentication;
  2. Interface – Post entry, query and access, dashboard, lists, graphics;
  3. Posts or objects – Promises, aspirations, achievements;
  4. Dispute – Relationships of Posts / objects and attributes, contradictory, moderation and fact checking by crowd auditing and contextual voting.

The “Dispute” results from the scrutiny of each object, by politicians and civil society (comments, approvals and rejections) and respective quantification, with or without the use of mini polls.

The quantity and nature of properly categorised and scrutinised objects will be exposed to the user through multi-criteria queries and dynamic dashboards.

it is intended to incorporate text mining (or text analytics), artificial intelligence (AI) tools and natural language processing (NLP) to transform free (unstructured) text into structured and normalised data, capable of feeding the system’s dashboards, thus seeking to create a simple and clear interaction from the user point of view, around public policies and civic causes. We want to involve young masters students in the use of advanced text mining and artificial intelligence technologies.

During the development phase, one of the best known clouds will be used, offering adequate services and security, but the platform can be transferred throughout the project to an European cloud, namely GAIA-X in progress.

Project management

APDSI, as the lead partner, will coordinate and steer the project and will be responsible for WP1 (“Project Coordination and Management”), which aims to define strategy for implementing project activities with the involvement of all partners and assure that all financial and management components are implemented according to call rules. APDSI will be responsible for WP1 and will allocate activities by individual project partners, coordinate the activities implementation and prepare strategic management plan. To take into account all aspects of strategic project management the WP leader will ensure strategic project expert being responsible for overall project organization, financial manager being responsible for the accounts, financial reporting and internal handling of the support and national co-financing and communication expert being responsible for communication activities. The project will establish management structures that will comprise of Steering Committee (SC) and Quality Management Board (QMB). All project partners will participate at (QMB) and (SC) meetings, which will be organized by all the project partners. WP leader will organize final event to promote project final outputs. Communication within the partnership and with call structures will be assured with day to day follow ups and several reports arising from this WP. WP leader will be responsible for monitoring project implementation, provision of evaluation methodology and evaluation reports based on information provided by the project partners. Within the WP1 the project will establish an internal online evaluation and monitoring system to enable SC to analyse deviations and define potential risk management mechanisms. The financial coordination will be controlled and managed by the financial and administrative affairs department of APDSI. This association includes a large number of members with a wide experience in cooperation and communication. WP 1, as project management, will be prepared to ensure proper execution of budget distribution.

Each partner will prepare their own reports related to their work packages bi-monthly in order to share with the project coordinator which will be used as a budget control mechanism. All partners will already be aware of their responsibilities, the timeline of the activities and committed to complete their outputs on time. A systematic reminder procedure will be used for time management purposes. A project management tool will be used to track the progress of project activities online. The project coordinator will be responsible for acting upon the potential financial risks and will control the partner’s report due to a budget control which will be prepared at the beginning of the project under WP1 “Project Coordination and Management”.

In order to monitor the quality and achievement of project activities, one evaluation model will be employed.

During the project, the consortium will contribute to create and produce the following milestones:

  1. Kick off report
  2. Requirements and features report
  3. Interface input development report
  4. Interface output development report
  5. Input posts development report
  6. Dispute and relationships development report
  7. Platform testing report
  8. Intermediate report
  9. Hackathon reports
  10. Capacity building and impact report
  11. Final report

and qualitative indicators:

1 Main site for the transparency and follow up of the entire project

  • 1 Main portal for DemocracyForum.EU platform
  • 5 DemocracyForum.EU Nacional Branches
  • 1 platform functional manual
  • 1 platform guided tour
  • 1 tool kit for democracy hackathons
  • 1 tool kit for local adaptations
  • Democracy hackathons participants and feedback
  • Platform engaging and usage
  • Social media dissemination

Project sustainability

The added value of the project will be quite high, because it is a new social network in which all civic and political movements can be involved, constituting itself a repository of problems and gaps detected and denounced by society, capable of generating innovation and value for the sustainable and inclusive development of the country.

DemocracyForum.EU may have institutional support and advertising (public announcements, launch of causes, etc.), being able to generate revenue and contribute to its future sustainability. The space for advertising will be identified and the inserts will be contextual and can never disturb or prevent the full and free exercise of democracy.

It will also be possible to create a fee system to access special services or avoid advertising.

The potential for replicability or scalability of the project is high, given that the technological platform will be based on open and transparent code, multilingual and will use semantic standards and international classifications, such as SDG, COFOG and others for post categorization.

Future maintenance and development costs will be borne by all national partners in accordance with transparent criteria for using each branch of the platform.

Integration with public policies is at the genesis of the project and constitutes a valuable instrument for the elaboration of proposals, monitoring and evaluation of their fulfillment, since each post will be considered a living object with all its relationships and state control.

The design of the project will be based on the minimization of operating costs, through the introduction, whenever possible, of automatic mechanisms of moderation and control.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x