Municipal Development
Councils

We bring together politics, administration, civil society, and local businesses in Municipal Development Councils, cultivating collaborative solutions for complex societal challenges. Our firm belief is that inclusive and sustainable development is best achieved when all interest groups engage in dialogue and collaboratively shape ideas.

Currently, we are supporting five German municipalities in the implementation of Municipal Development Councils. In In five additional municipalities concrete recommendations for action have been successfully developed and presented to the local political decision-makers.

Fostering Inclusive Policy Making for
Sustainable Development

What strategies can be employed to achieve a just green transition? How do we tackle the repercussions of the pandemic and navigate migration and refugee movements? The pressing challenges we face require creative and inclusive strategies for sustainable development. In this endeavor, democratic structures must not only address societal polarization but also underpin the success of these transformative processes.

Municipalities play a pivotal role in this context. They directly face these challenges, as diverse interests and needs emerge as conflicts within their communities. Therefore, they require strategies that are not only applicable today but also uphold justice for future generations.

To support local communities in tackling these challenges, we've developed Municipal Development Councils. These councils work collaboratively to devise solutions for complex issues that are both inclusive and rooted in community engagement.

What is a Municipal Development Council?

  • Municipal Development Councils (Kommunale Entwicklungsbeiräte) bring together municipal politics and administration with representatives from civil society and local businesses to discuss a specific issue that impacts the community. They facilitate participation and assist political decision-makers in developing socially equitable and widely accepted strategies for complex challenges.
  • The approach is rooted in the insights and expertise of Prof. Dr. Gesine Schwan, as first put forth in her work, Politik trotz Globalisierung. In close collaboration with our multidisciplinary team, the concept has been refined and put into practice.
  • The 25 to 30 council members are either specifically approached or selected through a lottery. A local steering committee assesses which community groups can contribute to the topic. Moreover, around a quarter of the spots are available for voluntary applications. Unlike citizens' assemblies, Municipal Development Councils prioritize inclusivity over direct representation of the entire population. Their invitations extend to participants from municipal politics, administration, and those whose voices are often marginalized. Together, they engage in a transparent and collaborative process.
  • In four full-day sessions council members work together to establish a foundational consensus and generate actionable recommendations for local politics. The process is facilitated by both a local moderator and one appointed by the Berlin Governance Platform. The Chatham House Rule applies to all sessions..
  • The formulated recommendations are presented to the municipal council or city council. Municipal Development Councils do not replace elected politicians; instead, they serve as an advisory body within representative democracy without decision-making authority. Despite this, through the active involvement of political decision-makers and local administration, the aim is to develop recommendations that are as concrete and easily implementable as possible.

Multi-Stakeholder Approach

In Municipal Development Councils, representatives from municipal politics and administration collaborate with local business owners, organized civil society, and citizens.

Clear Objectives

Meaningful participation requires clear objectives: A Municipal Development Council begins with the collaborative formulation of a specific, realistic question relevant to the community.

Expert Guidance

Through seasoned moderation, we create an open, trusting atmosphere, providing all participants with space for their perspectives. This establishes a constructive framework for the exchange of diverse views and interests, fostering an conducive environment for dialogue.

Sustainable Integration for Local Impact

Our goal is to complement municipal democratic structures with Municipal Development Councils in the long term. Therefore, we provide training on the approach, fostering local expertise on participation.

Partnering Municipalities, Funders & Supporters

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