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This drawing illustrates e-participation in three concentric circles built around the two main trajectories of our study and conference: widening and deepening of e-participation.

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It starts with the inner circle of in situ meetings. Close to 20 000 face-to-face meetings are hosted in Geneva annually, from major conferences with thousands of participants to smaller consultations. All international organisations have conference and event sections. In addition to computer projectors which are standard facility in conference rooms, there are experiments with using verbatim transcripts (IGF, ITU) as well as different pooling software resources.

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In the second circle, labelled organised e-participation, tele-conferencing and remote hubs are used to connect e-participants to in situ meetings.

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Organised e-participation is particularly relevant for deepening e-participation through more substantive and engaged policy processes. Remote hubs are an emerging concept of facilitating organised e-participation. Through remote hubs worldwide, participants can link discussions at global meetings to their own local policy context. For example, participants can discuss the local input and consequences of global decision-making.

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Our research and interviews show that the most important questions for organised participation concern the adjustment of procedures (status of contributions from remote hubs) and acquisition of new skills for managing the emotional aspects of communication, conducting effective drafting, and chairing meetings by combining in situ and online dynamics. Currently, most Geneva-based organisations focus on the ways and means of deepening organised e-participation.

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Last, broader e-participation happens in the outer rim of our illustration. Here, meetings engage wider communities worldwide, mainly through ad hoc participation from their own computers or tablets. Ad hoc participation is particularly relevant for major international meetings such as summits and forums. For example, the Paris climate change meeting had strong ad hoc participation via Twitter and broadcasting. One of the main reasons was the high relevance of this topic for individuals and communities worldwide. Widening e-participation is particularly important for the engagement of individuals and groups who are marginalised in traditional policy processes (e.g. youth, women, persons with disabilities, and minorities) as the first step for awareness-building and more impactful involvement in policy-making.