"Cooperative pacts", where Italian citizens collaborate with municipal authorities in managing public goods, is an emerging innovative form of citizenship. In the long term it may help rebuild Italians' trust in politics.
Italian political life is notorious for dissolved parliaments and a history of corruption. Italians' trust in politics is still low according to recent national statistics (Istat, 2016).
However, active participation in political life is increasing in Italy (Demos report, 2016), fueled in part by the grassroot activist networks of social media and a national tradition of volunteering.
Yet a new form of active citizenship is emerging in Italian municipalities: cooperative pacts, "patti di collaborazione". Teresa La Marca reports on pacts in the latest issue of Elm Magazine, an online media focusing on lifelong learning.
Cooperative pacts are concrete collaboration plans between citizens (individuals, groups, firms, associations) and municipal authorities to co-manage public places, monuments, schools and other public spaces. A good example of a pact´s goal would be the regeneration of an abandoned building or the upkeep of a park.
-Pacts give citizens the chance to take care of common goods without having to become a permanent member of any kind of association, says Gregorio Arena, an expert and facilitator of pacts, in the interview with Elm Magazine.
-Pacts promote the principle of horizontal subsidiarity which is actually part of the Italian constitution, Arena points out.
The effect of the pacts on Italian political life may be long-ranging, Arena believes. At best pacts create social capital through rebuilding trust between citizens and local institutions and a sense of shared responsibility.
In the long range this might lead to a renaissance of active citizenship and trust in politics.
Read the whole article in Elm Magazine: Freeing citizens´ energies: Cooperative pacts in Italy (Teresa La Marca)
More information: Elm Magazine, Editor-in-chief Markus Palmén, [email protected]
Elm Magazine (European Lifelong Learning Magazine) is a free online media on lifelong learning and adult education. It is the only journalistic medium of adult education with a European scope and with a continent-wide correspondent network. Elm supports the work of the adult education professional by keeping its reader up-to-date on the trends, good practices and phenomena of the adult learning world.
Elm is published by the Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation.
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