81 per cent of Britons believe that nature is under threat and action is urgently needed to protect it. That is why a citizens' assembly on nature conservation began in the UK on 11 November 2022. The idea: randomly selected citizens will jointly develop a plan to protect biodiversity.
Because species extinction affects everyone, anyone interested has been able to take part in an online discussion on nature conservation since September 2022. Those interested were also encouraged to organise their own citizens' talks and citizens' meetings to discuss what they think the peoples' plan for nature should look like. There were posters and guides in English and Welsh.
The questions asked are
- What do you love about nature in the UK? What would you miss if it disappeared?
- Imagine it’s 2050 and nature in the UK is thriving. What is different from now?
- What exciting examples have you seen of people working together to restore and protect nature in the UK?
The online comments to these questions will help shape the citizens' assembly. This assembly will bring together a randomly selected group of 100 people from across the UK between November 2022 and February 2023.
Plan with different recipients
The participants will be asked to consider contributions from the online debate and listen to conservation experts. Together they are to develop a set of recommendations and a plan for nature conservation in the UK. The Peoples' Plan for Nature will set out how government, businesses, NGOs and communities can protect nature.
The citizens' assembly is being run by participation experts from Involve and the Sortition Foundation. Other partners are 89Up and the New Citizens Project.
Meetings over four weekends
The online participation and citizens' assembly aim to ensure that the Peoples' Plan for Nature is rooted in the values, ideas and experiences of people from all parts of the country. Participants will meet over four weekends between November 2022 and February 2023. Two of these will take place in Birmingham, the other two online.
"UK’s biggest ever conversation about the future of nature" is supported by the nature conservation organisations National Trust and WWF as well as the bird conservation organisation RSPB. The initiators of the citizen participation want to work with government, businesses, organisations and communities to implement the recommendations of the citizens' assembly after it is over.
Read more: People's Plan for Nature