Making a difference together, shaping political processes in our own regions, promoting active democracy across borders. All of this is Common Ground, a program by the Robert Bosch Stiftung to promote cross-border citizen participation processes.
As part of a public evening event on June 14 at 6:00 p.m. at the Robert Bosch Stiftung in Berlin, eight dedicated border regions were officially admitted into the new funding program. Included are projects working in favor of sustainable, cross-border energy supplies as well as projects examining the health impacts of climate change in flood areas or advocating for cross-border public transportation.
“A shared negotiation process opens up space for good ideas, promotes acceptance of political decisions, and strengthens trust in democracy. That’s why, through Common Ground, we want to support local participation processes in which citizens can exchange ideas across borders and look for and find common solutions to the challenges of their regions”, said Claudia Rolf, Program Director for Democracy at the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Border regions are special areas that pose special challenges: overcoming language barriers, taking different mentalities into account, and coordinating administrative frameworks. Along with representatives from the political, administrative, and civil society sectors, the nominated regions will also take part in an internal opening workshop to discuss how this can be achieved. How can we strengthen democratic processes in Europe? What role do local people play in this process? What special opportunities — and special challenges — does it present for border regions?
The goal of Common Ground is to establish structures for participation that can be sustainable beyond the program period. The selected regions are supported in their work by the nexus Institute for Cooperation Management and Interdisciplinary Research under the direction of Professor Christiane Dienel.