Citizen participation as part of everyday life in the city of Canoas


By Alessa Bennaton, ​Project ​of improving the ​capacities of Local Authorities ​ and associations​  of Brazil and Mozambique as actors of decentralised cooperatio​n, UCLG World Secretariat

In 2009, the current administration of Canoas began an innovative project within the city management department, based on transparency, citizen participation, social inclusion and the qualification of public services. The Popular and Citizen Participation System is a set of 13 projects that contribute to more decentralized, systemic and democratic management, with closer relations between public authorities and civil society. Since 2009, more than 95,000 citizens have made use of many interaction spaces in the city, confirming that participation is now part of the everyday life of the people of Canoas.

Canoas is one of the most important industrial poles of Brazil, with the second highest GDP of the Rio Grande do Sul State. The city covers an area of 131,097 km² and concentrates 338,531 inhabitants.

The current municipal administration of Canoas initiated the implementation of an innovative management project that has significantly impacted not only public planning but the overall management system. The system of popular participation was developed and implemented through the creation of means of communication and interaction with the population, and developing 13 innovative instruments of citizen participation, recognized nationally and internationally.

These tools are organized into five different areas:

  1. Tools for collective demands,
  2. Tools for individual demands,
  3. Tools for strategic elaboration,  
  4. One collaborative tool,
  5. Tools for consultation.

Click here to find out more about the tools for collective demands.

Canoas is also a dynamic member of the UCLG Committee of Peripheral Cities. The Mayor of Canoas is aware of the need and benefit of sharing experiences and to evaluate them politically. For this reason, the city is also an active member of the International Observatory of Participatory Democracy (OIDP) and hosted its 14th Conference in 2014. Since 2010, the city has been involved in a Decentralized Cooperation project with the city of Matola, along with other cities in Mozambique and Brazil, which is focused on planning, management and Participatory Democracy.

Read the full case study

Further information is available on the Canoas and UCLG websites:

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