Launched in June 2010 by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, PG Exchange is a global virtual platform for knowledge development, sharing, and learning on participatory governance (PG). It is designed for practitioners from around the world working in the field of PG in different sectors and levels, as well as members of academia and the donor community.
PG Exchange is a website that offers free access to: (i) information about a wide range of PG practices and tools that aim to promote active citizenship and more transparent, responsive, accountable, and effective governance at both the local and national level; (ii) a global virtual "community of practice" where practitioners can share information, ask questions, seek resources, and participate in online discussion groups; and (iii) an online global calendar of PG events.
The following details about the interactive website illustrate the interactive, participatory strategy that underlies the initiative:
- PG toolkit: an online reference hub on PG tools and methods that includes "how to" operational information. Most of the descriptions of these approaches have been prepared by PG practitioners and provide: a concise description of the methodology, an assessment of the benefits, lessons learned, and challenges - followed by a listing of relevant informational and organisational resources and case studies. The tools are organised under 9 categories covering the entire governance cycle and include: Public Access to Information; Civic Education and Deliberation; Advocacy and Expression of Citizen's Voice; Public Dialogue; Electoral Transparency and Accountability; Public Policy and Planning Processes; Public Budgets and Expenditures; Monitoring and Evaluation of Public Services; and Public Oversight. These categories capture a range of so-called "social accountability" practices - approaches and tools such as Independent Budget Analysis, Social Audits, Community Scorecards, Participatory Expenditure Tracking, and Citizen Oversight Committees. The toolkit also includes tools such as Crinis to assess transparency in political financing, Access to Information Monitoring, 21st Century Town Meetings, Multi Stakeholder Dialogue, and so on.
- Global Community of Practice (CoP): a shared and facilitated space where PG practitioners working at different levels and across different sectors worldwide can interact and learn from one another through thematically and geographically based discussion groups. The CoP members can also send private messages, publicise dates of events and other points of interest, and partake in periodic "e-conferences". In addition to providing a hub for knowledge generation and sharing, the CoP seeks to link supply of capacity development and peer support with demand by allowing CoP members to use the site to: identify potential resource people, partners, and allies; seek advice; and/or propose collective actions. Using the "wiki" principle, the CoP enables members to add or change content and upload new articles, reports, and tools, as well as to share their experiences on field application of the tools.
Democracy and Governance.
PG seeks to empower citizens to participate in the processes of public decision-making that affect their lives. According to CIVICUS, there has been a "global participatory boom" in the last two decades, which has seen "[a] plethora of participatory innovations and approaches across diverse geo-political contexts and a rapidly growing body of empirical literature" on PG. However, CIVICUS claims that most "on the ground" practitioners are excluded from international networks, forums, and deliberations. PG Exchange is designed to address this.
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is a global movement of civil society with members and partners in over 100 countries. The Participatory Governance programme of CIVICUS seeks to develop the capacity of citizens and civil society organisations around the world to participate meaningfully in processes of governance and public decision-making that directly affect their lives.
Funding provided by Irish Aid, IBIS, Oxfam America, the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID), and Mwananchi.