In both the North and the South there is increasing awareness that citizens should be able to play a more active part in life-affecting decision making. The authors propose that both participatory democracy and responsive government should be developed and become mutually reinforcing. Thus, this article explores the challenges faced in attempting to ensure citizen - in particular poor citizen - participation and institutional responsiveness and accountability. The authors advocate that participation should be considered a fundamental right, with the making of new spaces and transforming of old ones, in which participation can take place. The challenge of true participation concludes the article.
International Institute for Environment and Development