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21st Century Advisory Committees

Page history last edited by Elizabeth 9 years ago

Civil society organizations seek to participate in government policy formulation and decision-making which has an impact on their lives.   Both the US and Russia have Presidential Advisory Committees permitting civil society to share its views. 

However, more needs to be done to enhance transparency and substantially broaden participation in the work of these committees to ensure that government receives and responds to objective recommendations from a variety of perspectives and stakeholders in a manner that is transparent and accessible to the public.  The selection of those serving on such committees should not to be unduly influenced by the appointing authority and should not have financial conflicts or any other special interest.  Public participation should be ensured through open access to meetings with agendas announced in advance through a public platform. Committee papers and records should be maintained for availability to the public, including minutes of meetings.  Regular updates should be provided on the implementation of recommendations and to set  new milestones.


Information technology can assist significantly in creating 21st-century advisory committees, thus, assisting in promoting accountability. Social media and blogging could be used to cast a wider net and solicit public suggestions for committee member nominees and issues.   A website should be available for posting webcasts, transcripts and records of meetings, information about current members, the process used to select members, committee charters, official actions taken in response to committee recommendations, and other important information such as meeting notices and reports.   Webcasting meetings and hosting virtual online meetings and discussions to complement and supplement in-person and phone meetings would broaden participation. A blog on the website and other social media also should be used to increase public participation. Utilizing other innovations for opening meetings, increasing collaboration, and soliciting input from the public and providing mechanisms for the public to express support or opposition to proposals being considered by the committee or to the committee's recommendations.


Such steps would contribute to relieving many of the frustrations civil society groups and citizens have had with limited public awareness of the opportunities for participation and collaboration.  


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