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Bringing Citizens Along – Inclusive Pathways to Climate Resilience and Net Zero

The Global Science Partnership

We are delighted to be launching a key, strategic global project at COP27 that aims to catalyse action and drive change through evidence-based science engagement and deliberative, citizen engagement. Evidence-based engagement with diverse publics and impacted stakeholders on a complex and future facing issue is important because it ensures more inclusive and effective policy that considers a wide range of stakeholders’ values and needs. Furthermore, the project is facilitating the development of a public mandate for climate action which is key for delivering effective and inclusive change.

This project builds upon the Glasgow Climate Pact, as part of the UK’s COP26 Presidency legacy and climate leadership. The aims are to:

• Advance global knowledge on how best to combine scientific evidence with citizen views and perspectives to inform the development of climate policy.

• Develop a scalable methodology for research and citizen engagement on climate that can be deployed across the world and

• Establish impact and legacy for both climate policy and deliberative engagement globally.

As the video above illustrates, the Global Science Partnership is a partnership of countries
worldwide, which brings together research communities, policymakers, and the public to
develop and pilot an innovative methodology to spark effective and more inclusive climate action. Three pilot countries – Seychelles, Colombia and Kenya are currently working to explore the application of this methodology, sharing learning from the process for wider, global use and impact.

The feedback loops operate across citizen engagement, science and knowledge, and policy making, and the overarching aim of these three strands working together is to contribute towards a global, more effective and just climate transition to a resilient and Net Zero world.

What does success look like? Our approach to learning and developing a scalable methodology

As the pilots progress, research partners Ipsos and Ricardo are gathering learning and evidence about what works on the ground in different countries, to help shape legacy research and materials for a methodology that can be scaled anywhere in the world. We have taken this approach by developing a Theory of Change and undertaking a light touch, formative and summative evaluation. The below diagram illustrates the key success indicators we are measuring progress by:

- Citizens are engaged in climate science and policy, have a greater awareness of the issues, and are more willing to act in relation to the climate agenda.
- Science is better understood and valued by a broader range of stakeholders, including citizens, with climate science built more effectively into the evidence base and public narrative.
- Policymakers have access to better evidence, with an increased understanding of the public’s mindset ultimately shaping more inclusive and effective policy.

What methodology have pilot countries been using to approach these challenges?

Working with different countries, recognising different contexts, scope and challenges, we have identified three key steps in developing and piloting these approaches:

  1. Step 1: Problem definition with policymakers: The methodology starts with policy makers in each country identifying a challenging problem that requires wide societal input, where there is currently a gap in the evidence base. This process also ensures that the issues are defined and led by the countries’ own knowledge and expertise of these issues.

  2. Step 2: Stakeholder input and engagement: Through stakeholder input, the science and other expert and specialist communities are invited to provide and signpost to existing evidence and highlight where further research is needed. This process ensures that a wide range of stakeholders and specialists are bought into the process and help shape the question for definition. At this stage, scientists and policymakers are also engaged in discussions about which issues will require wide societal buy in and public confidence, for effective change.

  3. Step 3: Citizen engagement: Citizens are then engaged in workshops to explore their insights into the challenge, as well as how they are impacted by them. All three perspectives are combined to create policy and research recommendations that have the support of scientists and citizens themselves, while being actively helpful towards policymakers’ current challenges. We see this stage as the final step in the feedback loop that responds to the problem and policy question as defined by policy makers in step 1.

What policy topics and areas have been identified?

As the project has evolved, the pilot countries have been refining their own priority issues and policy areas, as set out below:
Kenya - Data Governance in Climate Smart Agriculture
What are the barriers to sharing data with regards to climate smart agriculture interventions in Kenya?

How can we establish accurate baselines to plan, monitor and evaluate effective climate smart agriculture interventions?

Colombia – The Sustainability of Livestock Landscapes

How can we combine citizen and science insights to support the construction and adoption of an integrated management system that achieves sustainable livestock landscapes - considering greenhouse gas emissions neutrality, food security and resilience to climate change?

Seychelles – The role of technology in shaping climate resilient food systems

What climate proof technologies can be adopted to build resilience in Seychelles food production system?

Which climate proof technologies building resilience exist elsewhere, and could apply to the Seychelles, and what challenges have farmers in particular faced in implementing technologies for resilience? What support and incentives will they require to overcome the challenges?

Can Citizens Really Navigate Complex Issues? The Potential for Deliberation

We recognise that policy challenges can be both technical and complex requiring a multitude of stakeholders to engage in these conversations. Initiatives such as the UK Climate Citizens’ Assembly, or the numerous Sciencewise public dialogues on climate adaptation and net zero futures, demonstrate how the public care and can express important views about the present and future, provided their engagement is fully supported and resourced. Some issues will require support and buy-in from a range of stakeholders to be truly successful. Citizen engagement, when resourced and done well, can bring the ‘whole system’ together in a room to tackle complex problems. With the right methodology, experience has demonstrated that citizens can and already do provide insight into complex policy questions. All three pilots use deliberative public engagement – taking people through several hours of understanding, discussion and exploration of the key themes before coming to a conclusion or advisory steer on the issues or questions at hand.
In developing and sharing learnings from this work, policymakers worldwide will be supported to consider broadening the conversation so that policymaking in climate contexts and beyond can be both more inclusive of diverse forms of expertise, and more effective as a result.
You can contact the team here for more information.


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