Citizen participation, a way of life in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert

The code of citizen participation, a tool for everyone!

Woluwe-Saint-Lambert was the first Brussels municipality to adopt a municipal participation code in 2008. It has three chapters:

  • Consultation: all important decisions concerning the development of public space or the life of the inhabitants are taken only after information and consultation of the citizens.
  • The right to be heard: people over 16 years of age who live in the municipality have the possibility to put an item on the agenda of the Municipal Council and to question the College.
  • The municipal ombudsman: a single point of contact for residents regarding questions or problems relating to the functioning of the municipal administration. This service also allows the authorities to have a better vision of the functioning of the services and thus to optimise them.

Regular meetings with residents

In application of the Citizen Participation Code, meetings with residents have been held for over 10 years. The municipality organises some 60 to 80 meetings each year. These concern projects relating to the development of public space and green areas, mobility, parking and, more generally, the quality of life in our municipality. An invitation is sent by letterbox notice to residents particularly affected by the project to be discussed at the meeting. In addition, all meetings are listed on the municipality’s website, so that everyone can participate.

Thanks to the participatory budget, citizens are even more involved in their living environment

Since 2019, the municipality has decided to allocate 200,000 euros from the municipal budget to carry out improvements proposed by the inhabitants. Each year, residents, groups of residents, associations, neighbourhood committees, etc. can submit proposals to improve public space or to enhance the community’s heritage for collective purposes. After receiving the opinion of the municipal administration on the technical feasibility of the projects, they are submitted to the Council for Associative Life, an independent body of the municipal authorities, which determines the admissibility of the projects and submits them to the votes of the inhabitants of Woluwe-Saint-Lambert (aged 16 and over). The projects which receive the most votes are then implemented by the municipal administration (unless they are not feasible for compelling reasons, such as a refusal of planning permission or an authorisation to be issued by a higher authority). This budget is therefore fully participatory, because each citizen has the right to present a project and the final choice is made by all the inhabitants after a secure, anonymous and free vote. The Council for Community Life guarantees the successful completion of the procedure. Transparency and fairness characterise this process of citizen participation in community life. This represents a great democratic step forward.

Take part in the municipal elections: foreign residents are also concerned

All citizens of EU member states have the right to vote (subject to certain conditions). To do so, you must register on the electoral roll of your municipality of residence within the deadline set by law (by 31 July of the year of the municipal elections). Your registration remains valid if you were registered in a previous election. In addition, any national of a non-EU member state who has been resident in Belgium for at least five years may vote in municipal elections by registering on the voters’ list of their municipality of residence.