Citizens Assemblies Around the World
Backed by evidence, powered by people
“People are really appreciative of this. For their whole lives they have been citizens, but they have never been asked to do anything significant to contribute. This feels important.”
—Marcin Gerwin, an expert on citizens’ assemblies and coordinator of the Gdansk citizens’ assemblies
In July, 2020, the OECD has released a phenomenal report called “Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions: Catching the Deliberative Wave”. (Summary of the report here).
The OECD project brought together an ironclad team of practitioners, designers, academics, researchers, civil servants. It examined an awe-inspiring 289 cases around the world of citizens assemblies and citizens juries―to find out what we can learn from their success.
When to Use a Citizens’ Assembly
The experts recommended using deliberative processes for:
- Value-driven dilemmas. Policy issues where there is no clear right and wrong―the goal is to find the common ground.
- Complex problems that require trade offs.
- Long-term issues that go beyond the short-term incentives of electoral cycles. Citizens’ assemblies take political self-interest out of the equation. Participants make decisions based on the public good.
Deliberative processes have been used for decades, but are exploding all over the world since the success of the Irish Citizens’ Assembly. The past year alone, governments in Scotland, Ireland, the UK and France convened assemblies on challenging national policy issues such as climate change.