Many thanks to the civil servants who have asked how the next Summit for Democracy should be reshaped and improved, from increasing civil society involvement to event design to increasing the impact of participation. We have appreciated the opportunity to offer feedback in virtual consultations, including today, and are memorializing our suggestions in one document with hopes that it may be useful to both organizers and people outside of the process. We believe the following steps would improve outcomes for the stated goals for the Summit.
First, across multiple consultation sessions we’ve asked for much more press involvement, with ongoing press conferences and a dashboard of progress against commitments. The Summit should be a forcing function for providing answers in both formal press conferences that put world leaders and ministers next to civil society folks, to get two-sided perspectives on whether nations implemented their commitments, alongside citizen-driven questions.
There should be plenary panels with independent journalists where the questions are proposed and driven by public voting ahead of time, using modern ideation platforms. Summit organizers should commit to posing the top questions and petitions to world leaders, with anti-corruption experts present to provide honest feedback after. A publicly stated expectation that hard public questions will be asked prior to the Summit and answered at it will help make the “main event” more meaningful – and it would drive public awareness and civic participation, should global media outlets and tech companies host be involved in hosting those dialogues.