Published in


Public deliberation in the Basque Country

The OECD’s Open Government Unit is supporting the social innovation lab Arantzazulab to promote the use of public deliberation in the Gipuzkoa region in the Basque Country, Spain from autumn 2021 to spring 2023.

On December 1, 2021, we will officially launch the project between the OECD and Arantzazulab to design and implement the first representative deliberative process in Tolosa, Spain. The objective of this project is to implement a pilot, which can provide the learnings and foundation to institutionalise the use of public deliberation in Gipuzkoa and the Basque Country.

Watch the livestream of the launch event

The event will take place on Wednesday December 1st at 10AM (CET) and will be held in Basque and Spanish.

Invitation for the official launch (in Basque)

Why Arantzazulab and Tolosa?

Arantzazulab is a social innovation lab located in the Basque Country in Spain. It is considered as a hub for citizens to achieve a fairer and more egalitarian society, which promotes research, experimentation and socialisation geared towards social and competitive transformation. As part of their work, Arantzazulab aims at promoting collaborative governance in the Basque Country, through research, exploration and experimentation with innovative trends and tools that promote deliberative and participatory processes.

The municipality of Tolosa has been at the forefront of citizen participation in the Gipuzkoa region, being one of the few Councils with a specific department working on citizen participation and a dedicated legal framework to support its institutionalisation. Tolosa Council has conducted various initiatives regarding participatory democracy, including participatory budgeting and its Open School initiative aiming at empowering citizens through civic education.

As part of its efforts to increase citizen participation in public decision making, Tolosa Council will implement a representative deliberative process.

The OECD’s work with Arantzazulab

The joint work between both organisations has already begun. The OECD has interviewed key regional stakeholders to identify pressing needs and potential challenges for implementing such a pilot project.

Additionally, the OECD and Arantzazulab organised a learning session with public officials and civil society stakeholders, where the OECD presented the key findings from the Catching the Deliberative Wave: Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions report.

As part of this session, participants were able to exchange good practices with officials from Cantabria, Spain as they recently organised the Citizens’ Jury in Besaya as part of a collaboration between the OECD and the European Commission’s Department for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO).

Learning exchange organized by Arantzazulab and the Tolosa Council

In 2022, the OECD will support Arantzazulab and Tolosa Council throughout the stages of design, implementation, and evaluation of a representative deliberative process. The learnings from this pilot process will support other municipalities interested in implementing deliberative processes and move towards an institutionalised use of public deliberation in the Basque Country.

Theory of change to institutionalise deliberative democracy in the Basque Country

Throughout the process, the OECD will share good practices from its Database and ensure that the Tolosa deliberative process follows the OECD Good Practice Principles for Deliberative Processes for Public Decision Making, and draws on the details provided on the recently published OECD Evaluation Guidelines for Representative Deliberative Processes.

Stay tuned for further updates!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mauricio Mejia

Mauricio Mejia


Open Gov@OECD Advocating for openness, citizen participation & digital rights. ❤latam & mexican politics🌵🌈 teaching @Sciencespo ex @paulafortez a@etalab