International Observatory on Participatory Democracy [UCLG Decalogue]


The International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD) is an international network open to all cities, organizations and research centers interested in learning about, exchanging and applying experiences of participatory democracy at the local level. It was founded in 2001 within the framework of the European Commission’s URB-AL program for decentralized cooperation and its official constitution was in 2001 in Barcelona, during the 1st IOPD Conference. It has worked together with UCLG since 2006. Articulating an annual conference, an award on citizen participation, working groups and different publications, the IOPD aims at creating synergies between cities, organizations and research centers, producing knowledge and sharing experiences and innovations in the local participatory democracy field around the world, and define political recommendations with and for local and regional governments.


Over 1,000 members

With the support of:
Ajuntament de Barcelona
Ville de Grenoble
City of Valongo
City of Montréal
SKR Swedish Association of Cities and Regions


Local communities
Local and regional governments
The international community


The IOPD promotes participatory democracy as an essential tool of LRGs governance in the design and implementation of public policies. In this sense, co-creation in localising the SDGs has been placed at the core of the IOPD’s work as an opportunity to achieve better solutions, strengthen communities and build resilience in local cities and territories. In this context, the IOPD has taken a proactive approach by creating a virtual platform for dialogue, exchange, and international collaboration. This space allowed for the sharing of experiences and in-depth discussions on participatory and deliberative democracy practices as examples of how SDGs could be effectively localised through citizen co-creation. A primary objective of this initiative is to bring attention to the crucial role of local and regional governments in participatory democracy. By exploring their practices, the focus was on how these democratic processes expand citizen participation and improve policies at the local and regional levels, thus contributing to the achievement of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. The IOPD aims to inspire and empower local and regional governments to actively involve their citizens in the localisation of the SDGs, thereby fostering a more democratic and inclusive approach towards sustainable development. In this regard, on 5 July, 2023, the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD), with the support of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the City of Rio de Janeiro, facilitated "Co-creation in localising the SDGs: citizens and local governments co-create solutions to localise the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs”, a virtual session with local and regional governments to exchange knowledge, experiences and best practices on citizen co-creation in localising the SDGs. Rio de Janeiro, Yoff, Euskadi, Cuenca, São Paulo and Mezitli were the six local and regional governments (LRGs) that shared their experiences in our webinar, which over 120 participants attended. Also, the IOPD holds an annually International Conference to discuss and reflect on the state of participatory democracy in the world. The Conference is organized by the city that holds the presidency of the organization, and defines the issues according to their priorities in this area. The conference brings together local, regional and nationals politicians, facilitator, academics and political activists. These seminars consist of lectures, panel discussions around specific issues, parallel exchange sessions and multiple parallel meetings between participants. IOPD Conference is a gathering of experts in the field of participation and political leaders who advocate a more participative local democracy. It is also an opportunity to promote cooperation between cities and international organizations in the field of democratic innovations. Third, the IOPD Best Practice Award for Citizen Participation recognizes successful experiences of local and regional governments in the field of participatory democracy, citizen deliberation, community empowerment, open government, democratic innovation, and public participation.

Additional information

OIDP publications: OIDP conferences: OIDP award: Local and regional governments' participatory democracy experiences:

Goal 5
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 10
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Goal 11
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 16
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Goal 17
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development