Participation – Citizen dialogues are a must in handling today’s societal problems

Hans Abrahamsson is a peace and development researcher at the University of Gothenburg, and is currently working on a project that aims to learn more about how to create socially sustainable and equitable towns and cities.  

Globalisation, migration, and urbanisation are local challenges that are not only becoming global ones, but also ones that are common to communities in different parts of the world. As segregation grows in towns and cities, social sustainability is becoming an increasingly urgent issue. 

Citizen dialogues are, however, a means of resolving complex societal problems and of increasing locals’ political engagement between elections.
Swedish municipalities also have a great deal to learn from ICLD’s partner countries, many of which have laboured with weak political institutions for decades now and which have consequently been obliged to address societal challenges through unofficial networks and dialogues outside the classic democratic groupings and organisations.