â€˜WWViews' stands for â€˜World Wide Views'.
â€˜World Wide Views' is a groundbreaking methodology for global citizen deliberation created by The Danish Board of Technology and our partners, among which are some of the most experienced organizations active in citizen consultation.
A â€˜World Wide Views' project is a way of giving a nuanced and in-depth picture of what people from different parts of the world think about key issues affecting their lives. The methodology can thus also be used for other subjects than global warming.
World Wide Views on Global Warming was the first-ever, globe-encompassing democratic deliberation. It focused on what has been called the biggest common challenge for mankind: global warming.
The purpose was to give citizens around the world the possibility to contribute with their views on issues that were up for discussion at the climate summit COP15, and to influence these negotiations and the future global climate policy.
The concept of citizen deliberation covers a host of methods used to involve citizens in political decision-making processes. The main point of citizen deliberation is that a plurality of perspectives on political issues makes for more thorough and well-grounded decisions.
Having evolved since the 1970's and 80's, citizen deliberation is now an integrated part of many countries' democratic models. Still, in many parts of the world, citizen deliberation is a very new thing and only exists at a grass-roots level.
The national and regional WWViews meetings took place during one full day and involved roughly 100 citizens at each meeting. The citizens had been presented in advance to written information material and were briefed at the meetings by information videos. The participants were put into smaller groups of 6-8 people with a moderator connected to each group.
The moderator guided the discussions at the table through four consecutive sessions of debating and voting on different issues related to the COP15 negotiations. Towards the end of the meeting, each group of citizens formulated one recommendation for negotiators at the COP15.
These recommendations were gathered and put to a general vote that determined the priority of the recommendations produced and the prominence, which they were given in the following communication to politicians.
Results from the national and regional WWViews meetings were immediately available for comparison with results from other the meetings through the WWViews website. Afterwards the results were analysed and the main results were presented in a policy report.
The Danish Board of Technology is an independent body established by the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) in 1995 and is the successor of the Technology Board, which was set up as a statutory body in 1986. The Danish Board of Technology was brought into being in order to assess technology, its possibilities and its consequences on people, on society and on the environment.
The Danish Board of Technologys purpose is to promote the ongoing discussion about technology, to make technology assessment and to advise the Danish Parliament (Folketinget), the government and other political decision makers in Denmark. www.tekno.dk
The idea was to introduce citizen participation, which is normally used only as a national tool, on a global level. National meetings with around 100 citizens each were held during one day, and their answers to a set of questions were reported into a web-tool.
The results could then be seen by anyone as they were produced at the meetings all over the world. The web-tool presents national results in national language and in English. It compares results between the meetings, countries, continents, economies etc.
The strength of this concept lies in the relation between nationally well-coordinated citizen meetings and trans-national analysis.
Usually, a survey will result in â€˜reflex' answers in terms of answers with only little background information and a short time for considering the answers. The WWViews went for â€˜reflected' answers, which meant that the participants received balanced information on the technical, scientific and political sides of the issue and had time to discuss the issues with other citizens before answering.
Guidelines for selecting the participating citizens were made in order to ensure the reliability of the results: The citizens at each meeting should reflect the demographic distribution in their country or region with regards to age, gender, occupation, education, and geographical zone of residency (i.e. city and countryside).
A further criterion was that they should not be experts on climate change, neither as scientists nor stakeholders. Where appropriate, national partners added additional demographic criteria, which were relevant to their national context; for example race or ethnic groups. Based on reports from the partners, the guidelines have been followed, though with some local variations due to economic or practical limitations.
A tendency towards under-representation of the lowest educated can be seen in many countries. Some countries ended up with fewer than 100 citizens (a few considerably lower). Some countries or regions recruited citizens from their entire geographical area, whereas others recruited from a smaller area in order to cut expenses.
The sample of citizens consulted in WWViews is, however, large and diverse enough to give a sense of general trends in national and international public opinion.
One of the key concerns for the coordinators was to ensure a good distribution of participating countries, with regard to geographical, economical or political diversity.
It was a priority to get countries from all parts of the world to participate, regardless of their economical capabilities; the coordinators sought external funding in order to support those countries for which conducting a World Wide Views meeting would be too costly.
The WWViews method has the potential to include all countries in the world, if partners with relatively high independence and some experience in participatory methods can be found.
The project was structured as a so-called WWViews Alliance, embracing different kinds of partners who actively supported the project. Some did so by undertaking national WWViews meetings, others by contributing to media work, fundraising, communicating the results in policy-making arenas, being ambassadors for the project, sponsoring, or simply writing support letters.
The criteria for being invited to be a national partner in the project were that the partners should preferably:
We needed partners who would take a role as active advocates for the political and public relevance of the WWViews activities and results.
However, building balanced consortia or national alliances solved many problems with regarding the role of the national partners.
The WWViews was funded from many sides. The Danish Board of Technology ensured the funds for the international project management, infrastructure and development of methodology, questions, and information materials.
Most national partners ensured their own funding for national project management and the national WWViews event. The Danish and the Norwegian Foreign Ministries have both sponsored the participation of several partners from developing countries.
The citizens will have to live with the consequences from the decisions taken in international climate negotiations. Consulting citizens from all over the world will give a stronger foundation for making political decisions.
It will present a diversity of views on how to deal with global warming that relates to the daily lives of citizens all over the world. And consulting citizens may lead to results not expected by the politicians who ideally represent them.
We see it as crucial that the meetings were face-to-face. For several reasons:
A web tool was developed. It was used for coordination of the WWViews meetings and to publicise the results. The tool:
The Danish Board of Technology coordinated WWViews. For further information, please contact:
Bjoern BEDSTED, Mr., project manager and WWViews coordinator email@example.com
The Danish Board of Technology - winner of â€™The Jim Creighton Awardâ€™ 2010 for: random selection, deliberative processes, innovation and creative approaches, international reach and courage in public participation.
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