At a glance

Policy stage: 
Level of involvement: 
Cost: 
High
Length of process: 
1 day (but lots of preparation)
Number of participants: 
500+ people
Participant selection: 
Representative sample
Online / Offline: 
Offline

The World Wide Views method is based on a deliberative approach to tackle complex policy issues at an international level. National-level partners recruit a sample of citizens that is representative of the country's demographics and invite them to  a one-day deliberative event, where citizens can access non biased information on the issue and deliberate together.

Events in different countries follow the same format and the day is structured into different sessions. At the end of each session – which can take between 30 minutes and 1 ½ hour, citizens vote individually on the questions. Votes are then collected and reported to the World Wide Views website. Comparisons can be made between different countries.

Description

The World Wide Views is a method developed by the Danish Board of Technology and based on a deliberative approach. The aim is to debate complex issues, such as the Environment and Climate Change, across different countries. Each World Wide Views Alliance partner organises the participatory event; citizens are recruited so as to represent a broad sample of the partner country’s demographics. Leading up to the meeting, every participant receives a thorough information pack, written by leading experts in the field and outlining the major themes and problems concerning the issue.

All meetings follow the exact same format: The day is divided into 4-5 thematic sessions. An information video introduces the thematic issue and citizens are then presented with a set of questions (3 to 5) with pre-prepared answering options. Groups of 5-8 citizens deliberate on the questions before them, assisted by a trained table facilitator. At the end of each sessionn, which can take between 30 minutes and 1 ½ hour, citizens vote individually on the questions.

Votes are then collected and reported to the World Wide Views website, where results can be compared as they arrive throughout the day – starting in Asia and finishing on the American West Coast. Comparisons can be made between countries, regions and continents.

The first World Wide Views (on Global Warming) also included a session in which citizens made up their own recommendations for policymakers. The second (on Biodiversity) offered partners the opportunity to to produce recommendations for policy makers both at the national and local levels. The results were subsequently analysed and presented to policymakers - both by the responsible partners at the national level and by the coordinators (the DBT) - at the global level (e.g.  UN conventions on Climate and Bodiversity).

Used for

Three main World Wide Views have been organised to date. One on Global Warming, one Biodiverity and a further one on  Climate Change.

A smiliar project but on a European scale was organised in October 2014 on sustainable consumption, the European Wide Views. More than 1000 lay citizens in Europe took part in the event. Citizens were invited to share their views on sustainable consumption and provide policymakers with important input for future political decision-making processes. The event was held in 11 EU member states. In each participating country, 100 citizens attended a day-long citizen consultation where they discussed and voted on issues relating to sustainable consumption. 

Participants

Participants are selected by partner organisation in different countries, so as to have a representative sample of the population in each case.

Costs

The WWV process is expensive to carry out. Accessing funding at a transnational level is difficult . The partner organisations involved have to fund their own meetings, which might exclude some organisations with limited financial capacity. 

Approximate time expense

According to the Danish Board of  Technology, the process requires 18 months of preparation to:

  • Choose the topic and design the process (month 1)
  • Select the partners (month 3 to 10)
  • Structure questions and produce information materials (month 5)
  • Develop a web tool (month 8)
  • Train partners to organise the event (month 10-13)
  • Select participants in each country (months 14 -17)
  • Contact the media (month 15 and following)
  • Event takes place (month 18)
  • Disseminate citizens' views (month 18 and following)

Following the event, reports are written and disseminated; outcomes should be fed back to all participants.

Strengths

  • The WWV method can help support and expand citizen engagement. 
  • The organisations and decision makers involved can develop new skills and build their capacity. Learning is exchanged and transferred from more experienced to less experiences organisations in different countries.
  • The method has already contributed to establishing an international network of organisations, which are experts in engaging the public.
  • The WWV events can help engage a large and diverse number of citizens in different contexts on discussions around a variety of policy issues with an international scope.
  • The method delivers a trans-national understanding of how citizens perceive the topic and how recommendations to policy makers might vary from country to country. 
  • The meetings in different countries are connected through Skype and digital media and facilitators in each country announce and compare results during the events. This may contribute to creating a global sense of community around shared issues and problems/ solutions.
  • The method can simultaneously address researchers and politicians at a national, regional and international level.

Weaknesses

  • The WWV process is very expensive.
  • It can be difficult to involve all relevant stakeholders and decision makers.
  • The WWV method is designed to address specific problems or projects that have reached a certain point on the policy agenda. It may not be suitable for projects in early stages of development and problems that do not have clear political options. 
  • The method has strict guidelines and citizens cannot help to frame the agenda but have to navigate a very structured process with clear rules.
  • Athough the method can be potentially applied to many different policy areas, there are strict guidelines and citizens have to navigate within the given rules.

Origin

This method was designed by the Danish Board of Technology.

External links

http://wwviews.org/

http://www.tekno.dk/?lang=en

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels