Engaging Communities in Public Consultations to mitigate Climate Change
Started 8 months ago
In any climate action, one of the prime concerns is to engage communities to mitigate climate change. Whether it is a large organization, small collective or even a civil society organization, facilitating dialogues between citizens and governments and mobilizing communities to increase their participation in climate consultations is a challenging task. In middle and low income countries, lack of awareness about the process and difficulty in understanding policy documents limits community participation in climate consultations. Raising awareness about public consultations ensures that communities are engaged in the decision-making process. Generally, communities don’t participate in public consultations as they aren’t aware that their participation plays an important role in the process of policy implications. Disseminating information on how to participate in public consultations through flyers, posters, social media and WhatsApp helps the community people and opinion leaders in sharing their experiences which can further help the policy makers in developing well rounded policies. Another hurdle in understanding policy deliberations is the language of the policy document itself. Often it was observed that the language of the draft policy document is technical and complex and the research and data sets are difficult for the community people to comprehend. Institutional interventions are required to simplify the language of the policy draft with a clear description of how it has socio-economic impact on the people. Allowing people to discuss in their native language can make the process more participatory. Environmentalists were using Instagram providing summaries of climate action plan supported by short videos explaining the important provisions of environmental laws and police open for public feedback on websites and social media handles and found useful in encouraging community people to participate in public consultations to help shaping climate policy decisions. Hosting town hall meetings, creating public forums for people to share their thoughts and ideas about climate change can help to build consensus around climate action. Organizing educational campaigns about the effects of climate change and importance of taking actions is also effective in mobilizing communities. Use of social media platforms in promotion of events, sharing information and encouraging people to participate in consultations can be useful to promote sustainable practices. Showcasing of successful public consultations will help the advocacy groups to convince the government about the importance of positive and sustainable community engagement in climate policy-making. Government partners need to be encouraged to publish the results of public consultations regularly to promote transparency, accountability and legitimacy in the policy making process. Publishing explainer blogs, opinion pieces and small narratives based on learning from experiences will help the common people to understand the impact of the proposed changes on their lives in reality thus allowing them to respond on policy documents. Mediums beyond text-based communications of blog and opinion pieces, such as videos, podcasts are also useful to take the policy concerns to a larger audience. The new social concepts like live reporting, narratives and conversations between domain experts and stakeholders will be useful in understanding the different aspects of climate policies. All these collaborative actions are useful in mobilizing communities to effectively participate in climate consultations.