UN climate consultation to take place in over 80 countries

June 03, 2015

The UN recently adopted a new citizen consultation and deliberation process, aiming to increase people's awareness of global environmental policy questions, as well as to mainstream the related solutions and make them more effective.

The third global citizen consultation, based on the World Wide Views methodology, will be held on 6 June 2015 in preparation for COP21, the Climate Change Conference in Paris. Consultations will be organised in over 80 countries. During the day-long event, groups of 100 randomly selected citizens in each country will discuss many of the key issues to be dealt with at the Conference.

"The World Wide Views methodology seems better suited to discussions on environmental matters than traditional surveys or focus group studies," says Docent Mikko Rask of the University of Helsinki.

Ignorance of environmental matters poses something of a challenge. According to the Eurobarometer, less than half (44%) of Europeans know the meaning of biodiversity.

"If citizens lack sufficient information, how can you survey their opinions about complex environmental issues," Rask wonders.

The World Wide Views method solves this by providing the members of the citizen panels with comprehensive information about the topics handled.

Complex environmental issues require new approaches

In Governing Biodiversity through Democratic Deliberation (Routledge, 2015), edited by Docent Mikko Rask and Professor Richard Worthington (from Pomona College, Claremont, California), an international group of 30 researchers evaluates the role of new deliberative processes in international environmental policy.

To date, international politics have proved ineffective in preventing global environmental problems, such as climate change and the loss of biodiversity. International organisations established after World War II - the UN, World Bank, OECD, WTO, IMF, EU and NATO - have retained their position at the core of international decision-making, amid mounting accusations of them being ineffective and distant from ordinary people.

The World Wide Views method has been used at the UN's Conferences of Parties (COP) on climate and biodiversity questions since 2009. The first global consultation was organised in Copenhagen in 2009 leading up to COP15. Citizens were consulted again in connection with COP11, the Conference of the Parties to the UN Biodiversity Conference, in Hyderabad, India. In the final report, the participants encouraged the use of the World Wide Views methodology.

The new method is not without its flaws. In the new book, researchers criticise it for focusing too heavily on numerical information and ignoring local perspectives.

"Since the UN is interested in more democratic decision-making, the local perspectives of different countries should be integrated more closely into global policymaking," Rask notes.

The book comprises 15 scientific articles, which evaluate the role that citizen deliberation processes based on the World Wide Views method play in the UN's climate and biodiversity conferences, the democratisation of international politics and the mainstreaming of environmental issues.
Link to the book's website: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415732185/

Information on the World Wide Views process: http://wwviews.org/ and http://climateandenergy.wwviews.org/

University of Helsinki

Related Climate Change Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Mysterious climate change
New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.

Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.

Read More: Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.