Counting on citizens’ voices, not just counting votes
January's Forum talk
TUESDAY, 19 JANUARY 2021 - 2.30-4.00 PM (CET)
Talk introduced several experiences with Citizens Assemblies at a national level and considered more generally what their main advantages are in the decision-making process and why they can play a crucial role with facing both the climate crisis and the crisis of trust in democratic institutions.
The moderated discussion took place online on 19 January from 2.30 to 4.00 p.m. (CET) and had an empirical input with the speakers that participated in the citizen’s assemblies in France, UK and Ireland and an analytical input from speakers working on deliberative democracy from an academic perspective.
Questions which were raised include: What are the limits that these citizen’s assemblies are currently facing? Is it possible to have a deliberative democracy initiative within a representative democracy system? Why are these initiatives in a top-down dynamic? Should these initiatives only be able to issue recommendations?
Alex Taylor is a European journalist. He has produced and presented TV and radio programmes for 30 years, mainly on French TV and radio (France Télévisions, France Inter), but also for international broadcasters (Euronews, TV5 Monde, ARTE, BBC). He was Programme Director for Radio France Internationale in charge of implementing the current 24 hours news format. Parallel to journalism, he has hosted some 1 500 international conferences on a wide variety of topics, especially environmental issues. He has also written a best seller on his passion, languages, of which he speaks (more or less) 7. He also once worked as a camel trainer in a circus.
You can follow his twitter account @AlexTaylorNews
Dr Jane SUITER, Ireland
Director, Institute for Future Media and Journalism (FuJo) and Associate Professor, School of Communications, Dublin City University
Dr Jane Suiter is director of the FuJo research institute at Dublin City University, with a focus on the public sphere and in particular on scaling up deliberation and tackling disinformation.
She is the senior Research Fellow on the Irish Citizens' Assembly on gender equality and is co-PI on the Irish Citizen Assembly (2016-2018) and the Irish Constitutional Convention (2012-2014) and a founder member of We the Citizens (2011), Ireland’s first deliberative experiment. She is a member of the Stewarding Group on the Scottish Citizens’ Assembly and a member of the OECD's Future Democracy network. She is also the RIA nominee on ALLEA's 'Fact or Fake' project on scientific disinformation.
She was the joint winner of the Brown Democracy Medal in 2019 and the President's Award for Research and the Irish Research Council’s Researcher of the Year 2020.
You can follow her twitter account @JaneSuit
Karl-Heinz LAMBERTZ, Belgium
President of the Parliament of the German-speaking Community, Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Bureau member of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and President of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR)
After working as an assistant at the law faculty at UCL (1976-1981) and as a consultant at SRIW (1981-1990), Karl-Heinz Lambertz, a qualified lawyer, was minister from 1990 and Minister-President of the German-speaking Community of Belgium from 1999 to 2014. Between September 2014 and September 2016, he already held the function of President of the Parliament for a first time. Since June 2019, he has been in the office of Parliament president again. In the meantime, he represented the German-speaking community in the Belgian Senate.
On the European level, Karl-Heinz Lambertz is member of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) since 2001 and held the positon of its First Vice-President from February 2015 to July 2017. On July, 12th 2017, he was elected President of the CoR for two and a half years. Currently, he is member of the bureau of this European institution. He is also member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe since 2000 and its Vice-President since October 2016. From 2010 to 2017, he was President of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR). Since November 2020, he is back in this position again.
Claire MELLIER WILSON, United Kingdom
Facilitator and Researcher, Center for Climate Change and Social Transformation (Cardiff University)
Claire Mellier is a facilitator and researcher. She was part of the facilitation team at Climate Assembly UK and one of the accredited researchers who observed France’s Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat. She is currently working with the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation (CAST) at Cardiff University on a comparative analysis of the two climate citizens’ assemblies.
Claire’s core interest is to enable people to play an influential part in decisions that affect their lives.
Over the last few years, she has facilitated several deliberative processes on climate change and other topics, both at the local and national level. Most recently she’s been involved in the Scottish Climate Assembly, Kendal Climate Citizens’ jury and North of Tyne Climate Assembly.
In 2020, in collaboration with other partners, she launched the Global Assembly for COP26.
She is the author of a recent Carnegie Europe article entitled “Getting Climate Citizens’ Assemblies Right”.
You can follow her twitter account @clmellier
Mathilde IMER, France
Member of the governance committee of the Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat in representation of the association Démocratie Ouverte and the Gilets Citoyens
Mathilde Imer is co-president of Democratie Ouverte and co-founder of the movement Gilets Citoyens (Composed of “yellow vests”, environmental activists and professionals from democratic innovation) that is at the origin of the Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat. She is currently member of the government board of the Convention. Previously, she co-founded several youth movements for climate, and she worked at the Foreign Affairs Ministry during the COP21 in the cabinet of the ambassador- Laurance Tubiana- charged of negotiations. She is profoundly persuaded that ecological transition will not take place without changing our democracy before.
You can follow her twitter account @MathildeImer