European Citizens’ Consultations ran from April 17th to October 31st, 2018, in France. They were held in 97 French départements, bringing together 70,000 participants at 1,082 events, 54% of which were held in small towns or villages. This new initiative was launched by the President of the Republic and organized by Minister Nathalie Loiseau, and was an opportunity for French citizens to freely express their views and proposals for Europe. Each consultation was presented transparently and publicly, then analyzed by the National Commission for public debate. The final report details 14 major themes and will be compared with results from 26 other EU countries who also participated in this process.
Throughout the process, project leaders were supported by the team of the General Secretariat for Citizens’ Consultations on Europe (SGCCE)*, as well as tools, including a dedicated website bringing together useful information and the results of the Consultations in real-time. A hotline was also provided to answer organizers’ questions, both in terms of substance and format. Methodological toolkits were also provided to help consultation facilitators to hold discussion workshops or interactive citizen forums without imposing a specific format.
* “a General Secretariat for Citizens’ Consultations on Europe was created for the Minister for European Affairs. Two entities were also created for governance purposes: an Advisory Board with qualified experts specialized in European Affairs and a Supervisory Committee which included one seat per political party represented in the National Assembly.” (https://ue.delegfrance.org/consultations-citoyennes-remise)
The worldwide debate was initiated to encourage citizen participation at a global level on key issues, including climate change, as we believe this can add value to international negotiations. The project had two aims: demonstrate that deliberations at this scale are possible, and help set up a participatory process at the Paris Agreements to include citizens. This debate also follows the spirit of Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which encourages governments to promote “Public participation in addressing climate change and its effects and developing adequate responses.” WWViews on Climate and Energy has been the largest global citizen consultation in history, and has proven that this process is not only possible, but yields relevant results. The objective was to give a voice to citizens from around the world during the Paris negotiations.
WWViews was based on 4 cornerstones:
- launching a coalition to coordinate and fund the project and ensure that it is included in the official negotiation process.
- deploying, in as many countries as possible, a day of deliberations following the same template.
- implementing an impact strategy in order to influence negotiations.
- a training and follow-up program for all national partners leading dialogue in the various countries.
The day of deliberations itself was divided into 4-5 thematic sessions. Each thematic session begins with an introductory video, and every citizen was asked to answer a multiple choice questionnaire. Groups of 5-8 citizens debated before providing their answers, with the support of a facilitator at each table. At the end of each session, each citizen cast an individual vote.
As the meetings progressed, results were coded on an online platform for immediate publication. This platform made it possible to compare results within a country but also between countries and groups.
The WWViews debate provides data on informed opinions of citizens around the world for international negotiations. It makes it possible for decision-makers and those who will be impacted by such decisions to create dialogue, and offers a long-term vision outside national barriers or election cycles. Unlike traditional polls, it produces qualitative data that identify key issues and reveal citizens’ expectations. The credible results provide political players with a concrete basis for dialogue with their national and international colleagues and increase public awareness of the stakes and opportunities. The debate also gives citizens an opportunity to play an active role in decision-making processes and lends more legitimacy and transparency to global governance.
From January 2013 to December 2016. The Debate was launched by Missions Publiques at the end of 2013, and was co-led by Missions Publiques, Particip-Action, the Danish Board of Technology Foundation, the board of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the French National Commission for Public Debate (Commission Nationale du Débat Public, CNDP). The project was supported by an international commission of high-level players.
The Franco-German dialogue on the strengthening of cross-border cooperation in the context of COVID-19 aims to bring together 40 citizens from each side of the Franco-German border in online working sessions in order to make recommendations to the public authorities to strengthen Franco-German cooperation on the cross-border territory and to make the cooperation arrangements more resilient to crises.
In 2019, the Treaty of Aachen was signed to strengthen relations between Germany and France. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a different impact on the inhabitants of the regions surrounding the border between the two countries and has had a strong impact on the dynamics of Franco-German cooperation. In order to gain better understanding of this situation and make recommendations to public authorities, 40 citizens were recruited to take part in Franco-German discussion sessions. They discussed their experiences of the COVID-19 crisis, their experience of cross-border cooperation between France and Germany and their hopes for the future of this cooperation. The participants submitted recommendations to improve Franco-German cooperation in the cross-border region and make this cooperation more resilient to health crises.
This initiative is part of a more general desire to strengthen Franco-German links through participatory democracy and the involvement of citizens of both countries, either on a one-off basis or through long-term initiatives. It is also a bilingual Franco-German approach, with all the challenges and richness that this entails in terms of technical aspects, team coordination, communication with participants, moderation, etc. For example, each session includes a team of Franco-German interpreters to ensure that everyone understands each other.
- Strategic framing: development of the terms of reference of the approach and the content of the sessions in cooperation with all partners, to ensure that the approach meets the specific needs of the cross-border territory.
- Preparation and facilitation of the sessions: preparation and facilitation of the sessions in accordance with the established mandate and with the partners involved. The preparation of the sessions includes the search for speakers, chosen for their expertise and on the basis of the desires/needs expressed by citizens at the previous session. Alongside Mission Publiques, we also provide moderation for these (online) sessions and facilitate breakout groups with the support of our partners.
- Preparation of session summaries, in German and in French, recounting discussions between participants and speakers.
- Communication on the process: communication work, in close cooperation with Missions Publiques and with the Franco-German Citizen Fund (interviews with citizens and partners, dissemination on social networks, etc.).
The cross-border cooperation project involving citizens yielded recommendations that were presented to regional and national elected officials. These recommendations were added to the regions’ strategic roadmaps and were also transmitted to national Ministries. The project was also presented at the World Democracy Forum of the Council of Europe in order to strengthen the perception of the cross-border area as a laboratory for European integration. The full report including citizen recommendations is available online.
From December 2020 to December 2021 with our partners: Missions Publiques, Franco-German Citizen Fund, Grand Est region and the Land of Baden-Württemberg.
The Franco-German dialogue was the French winner of the 2021 European Citizen Prize, awarded by the European Parliament.
Driverless mobility is believed to be a major technological, economic and social revolution over the next few years. However, the voice of citizens remains largely ignored although it is increasingly important to bringing a sense of trust within our nations. To address this problem, we have worked with several partners to launch an international citizen dialogue on driverless vehicles, enabling non-expert citizens to express their views and make contributions to this complex issue. This initiative was successful in France and has since been replicated on a global scale alongside a coalition of international partners.
The exploratory phase was run in 2018, in five French cities and two US cities. In 2019, seventeen areas in nine countries also organized a second series of deliberations involving creating scenarios, discussing trust and policy. The third dialogue phase kicked off in 2020 and 2021, in Europe, North and South America, Oceania, Asia and Africa. The protocol for the dialogue was built by experts and public and private partners, and was tested and approved in various contexts and extended generally through partnerships that were built and nurtured over time.
To ensure high-quality dialogue, Missions Publiques trained over 20 national partners in citizen dialogue methods globally, creating a community of players. This new approach is a powerful starting point for richer conversations about driverless vehicles for private mobility companies and public authorities.
The outcomes of the consultation show that citizens have mixed feelings about autonomous mobility, with some wariness surrounding the technology, but they are also curious about it and interested in its potential benefits. Participants highlighted several concerns, such as safety, regulations, the impact on the environment and society, as well as responsibilities in the event of an accident involving an autonomous vehicle.
From January 2018 to December 2021, alongside many partners (groupings of conurbations of Sophia Antipolis and La Rochelle, the Grand Paris Seine & Oise urban community, as well as Rennes Métropole and Toulouse Métropole. The French Ministry of Ecological and Social Transition and companies including Autonomy, Airbus, Allianz, Kéolis and Vinci, through its Léonard institute).
Be a part of a decentralized, massive deliberation that will actively engage citizens worldwide in shaping ocean governance. In collaboration with Missions Publiques, CSPO, and Make.org, we’re committed to addressing the challenges our ocean faces through participation and deliberation.
Why this? Why now?
The ocean isn’t just teeming with life and biodiversity; it’s a lifeline that sustains our planet. Often described as the “lung of humanity,” it’s indispensable for our survival. Yet, our ocean is in grave danger. We stand at a pivotal moment, as the BBNJ treaty signals a clarion call for a radical shift in governance—a historic milestone! Our actions today will determine the future of our most precious resource and the fate of generations to come.
In response to this urgent call, the Global Citizens’ Dialogue on the Ocean empowers citizens worldwide to actively participate in shaping the future of ocean governance, fostering inclusivity, accountability, and the preservation of our planet’s ocean for generations to come.
- Universal Participation: We pledge to engage the voices of citizens worldwide, representing diverse perspectives from all 5 continents, all educational background, gender and age, and ensuring that they play an integral role in shaping ocean governance. We believe that the decisions about the future of the ocean, its protection, preservation as well as its just and ethical management should involve voices from every corner of the world.
- Propose 50+ concrete recommendations on 5 specific issues: We empower global citizens to actively contribute their perspectives and visions to influence decisions that will impact today’s humanity and future generations. The issues at stake are currently being discussed by a prefiguration of a Scientific Committee.
- Impact Ocean Governance: at all levels: By engaging citizens, we aim to influence high-stakes decisions and create an ocean governance model that is more inclusive, accountable, and sustainable. We aim for the final report of the Dialogue to be presented by citizens at UNOC 2025 in Nice and serve as a reference for discussions and decision-making at the conference. It will highlight the citizens’ priorities and concrete recommendations to enhance ocean protection on the long-run. Major issues and controversies will be at the core of the process.
A decentralized process to engage all 5 continents
A decentralized method towards global participation
Our approach is rooted in decentralization, made possible by our robust network of local partners spanning 100 countries. These partners are poised and prepared to conduct in-person dialogues tailored to their respective regions, languages, and cultural contexts. This is how we ensure that the often marginalized voices significantly contribute to shaping the recommendations for a better future, even without an internet connection.
Our goal is to capture citizen recommendations through decentralized dialogues across more than 100 countries, complemented by a large-scale, multilingual online consultation. This approach ensures diversity and inclusion, as we bring together a wide spectrum of participants, including indigenous communities, youth, and civil society.
With key inputs from indigenous people
Our protocols extend an invitation indigenous people who have a profound and centuries-old relationship with the ocean. Their traditional knowledge, passed down through generations, offers unique insights into ocean ecosystems and sustainable practices. By including these voices, we honor their wisdom and contribute to a more comprehensive and effective approach to ocean governance.
Join the Dialogue
To explore sponsorship opportunities, to become a member of our Scientific Committee, Governance Committee or Impact Committee, or a local partner, please contact us now.
By partnering with us, you are making Ocean governance more participatory, more inclusive and more just for today and tomorrow.
ParticipAction and the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University (CSPO) support the Global Citizen Dialogue on the Ocean, initiated by Missions Publiques. Make.org is a collaborator on the mass consultation phase.