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.