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Participation and citizenhood in the City of Geneva

As part of its municipal policy in favour of diversity, the City of Geneva wants to offer every person living in the municipal territory the possibility of participating to the full in the life of the city, regardless of their origin, nationality or residence status.

Des personnes qui écoutent un homme parler, dans la rue

Adopted by the administrative council in 2014, the municipal policy in terms of diversity includes a field of action devoted to participation and citizenhood for all residents of the municipal territory. With 48% of its population not holding Swiss nationality, the municipal authorities have set themselves the goal of informing and enhancing the awareness of people who have obtained the right to vote, as well as promoting other forms of civic commitment.

Since 2005, people who do not have Swiss nationality, who are aged 18 and have been resident in Switzerland for more than 8 years have had the possibility of voting and electing their municipal representatives. They also have the right to sign municipal initiatives and referendums. They do not, however, have the right to stand as a candidate. Like the under 30s, electoral participation levels among this section of the population is below average, which itself is not very high.

Instruments designed to encourage people to vote

To encourage residents to exercise their political rights, the municipal administration has published a brochure entitled “Voter dans ma commune. Un guide pour mieux comprendre les droits politiques”, available for download below. This brochure, which has since been modified, was sent to foreign nationals who have the right to vote for the first time in 2015. This initiative was organised in the wake of the motion “For a City of Geneva leading the way in encouraging the integration of foreigners”, adopted by the municipal council in March 2014.

Since 2017, as part of Democracy Week coordinated by the Canton of Geneva, the Agenda 21 – Sustainable City service has organised the “Qu’importe mon passeport, je vote en Ville de Genève!” event (see video below). Through a living visit to a district of the city, the event is a fun and interactive means of presenting municipal political rights as well as the tangible effects of civic participation on life in the city. An invitation, accompanied by the “Voter dans ma commune” brochure, is sent to all foreign nationals who have been granted the municipal right to vote over the past 12 months.

For the purposes of the municipal elections 2020, the City of Geneva joined forces with the Bureau of Integration of the Canton of Geneva to organise an information evening on 25 February 2020 intended for voters of foreign nationality. This event welcomed 600 people in the grand hall of the Palladium. During the previous municipal elections held in 2015, the City was already a partner of the State Chancellery and the Bureau of Integration of the Canton of Geneva as part of the launch of the “J’ai 8 ans, je vote dans ma commune” campaign.

In November 2014, the City joined forces with the Université populaire albanaise, which launched a project entitled “Vivre sa citoyenneté à Genève” (living citizenhood to the full in Geneva. The project involved a visit to City Hall during a session of the municipal council, as well as two information sessions at the Palais Eynard attended by representatives of the different political parties.

Every year, the City of Geneva’s Youth Department organises a civic evening to celebrate all young people reaching the age of civic majority in the Canton of Geneva, regardless of their nationality.

Participatory instruments

In addition to encouraging people to vote, the City of Geneva supports and promotes the participation and citizenhood of its residents by means of innovative participatory democracy mechanisms.

To this end, the Department of Social Cohesion and Solidarity coordinates community contracts with a view to improving the quality of local life, as well as the “Paroles de quartier”, enabling the inhabitants of the City of Geneva to meet their elected representatives.


Service Agenda 21 - Ville durable - Diversité

Bertrand Cassegrain

Chargé de projet

5, rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville




Tél. 022 418 23 89


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Article modifié le 10.02.2023 à 08:15