A global citizen consultation
Conserving and sustainably using the oceans is a top priority of the United Nations and its new Sustainable Development Goals. Beginning with a high-level UN Conference on Oceans and Seas in June 2017, the international community will convene a series of meetings to address challenges confronting the ocean system and its governance, including overfishing, pollution, climate change, acidification, and biodiversity. In advance of these meetings, the World Wide Views Alliance will host a global citizen consultation to inform these discussions with the views and values of lay citizens from around the world. The Expert & Citizen Assessment of Science & Technology (ECAST) network, headed by Arizona State University, will coordinate citizen consultations in at least 15 countries in North and South America and the Caribbean.
What is World Wide Views?
WWViews is a method of citizen consultation that closes a widening gap between international policymaking and ordinary citizens. Through structured, daylong, public deliberations, WWViews raises awareness of critical issues, promotes citizen participation in global governance, and offers an effective method by which citizen voices can be heard at the national and international levels. Citizen perspectives are a necessary but often-inaccessible input for robust decision making, as demonstrated in WWViews and ongoing projects with NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other US agencies.
WWViews organized public deliberations on global warming (2009), biodiversity (2012), and climate and energy (2015), providing citizen input to landmark international conferences. The ECAST network has been a key partner for all of these programs. After each worldwide consultation, the method has been refined in order to increase its relevance and impact. As a result, WWViews is becoming a vital component of the international decision-making process, with tangible policy outcomes.
How can you get involved?
For the upcoming WWViews on Oceans and Seas, the ASU-led ECAST network will coordinate the consultations for the Americas, in partnership with France’s Missions Publiques and the Global Coordinator of WWViews, the Danish Board of Technology Foundation. ECAST, which brings together academia, informal science education, and nonpartisan policy analysis, has been at the forefront of innovative public engagement in the United States. By combining ECAST’s experienced network with new and existing WWViews partners throughout the Americas, we will leverage a hemispheric network capable of engaging citizens on critical topics.
In order to build on the successes of the previous WWViews and grow the network of national and regional partners in the Americas, ECAST seeks support for its coordinating responsibilities. Critical areas of support include forum materials development, facilitator training, site hosting, participant recruitment, results analysis and dissemination. Although each of these tasks is relatively modest in scale, the intended outcomes—for improved citizen engagement, democratic deliberation, science and technology policy, and international policymaking—will be of enormous benefit to the billions of people who depend on the sea as a vital resource.