Citizens must be more involved in climate policy and this can best be done by forming a citizen forum with a representative group of people. They must be able to participate intensively on issues related to the climate transition.
This is the conclusion reached by the Brenninkmeijer Committee, which, at the request of the cabinet, looked at citizen participation. In the advice issued on Sunday, chairman Alex Brenninkmeijer emphasizes that it must be clear in advance what will be done with the input of the citizens. “A citizens’ forum should not be without obligation,” said the former ombudsman.
He advises politicians who will form a new cabinet in the near future “to seriously involve citizens and thus gain experience with the citizens’ forum to strengthen our democracy”.
Consequences of climate policy
Many citizens have the impression that they are not being heard enough when they are confronted with the consequences of climate policy. For example, with the arrival of windmills, solar parks or the natural gas-free neighborhoods. According to Brenninkmeijer, the citizens’ forum makes it easier to bridge contradictions about climate measures.
The Brenninkmeijer committee was established last year after the House of Representatives asked for an investigation into the use of citizen forums on climate policy. According to the chairman, a citizens’ forum must be composed in a representative manner, which can be done by drawing lots, for example. Preferably, the advisory forum should change composition every six months.
Citizen forums are already being used in other countries. In France, for example, a citizens’ parliament of 150 people was set up, which came up with numerous concrete advice last year.
‘Set up a citizen forum on climate policy’, the Brenninkmeijer committee advises:
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