Usually e-participation is closely linked to e-government and e-governance, referring to any Information and Communication Technology (especially Internet) resources used to involve citizens in government processes.
This may be as simple as making a passport application or paying your taxes online, or involve an e-petition, remote participation in a meeting or conference, or a Twitter or other Web 2.0 advocacy campaign.
What are the advantages?
- Improved government services, faster response time;
- Better communications, access to more detailed and updated information and
- Greater citizen engagement.
This last point: greater citizen engagement, in my opinion, is by far the most significant development that e-participation can offer, as it supports democratic principles of involvement and the opportunity for government to harness the ideas and resources of its citizenry. And where better to emphasize this participation, than in the governance of the Internet, with the (e) participation of youth?
I invite you to take a look at HUWY, a project sponsored by the European Commission under the eParticipation preparatory action. HUWY’s mission, according to the website is ” … to get young people talking about policies and laws which affect the Internet and channel their ideas to governments and parliaments, national and EU.”