Citizens’ Jury tested in Finland to support climate policy preparation
The first Citizens’ Jury on Climate Actions was convened in Finland in 2021. The Citizens’ Jury, commissioned by the Climate Policy Roundtable and Ministry of the Environment of Finland, discussed the fairness and effectiveness of the national climate measures.
At the Ministry of the Environment, the involvement of citizens in policy preparation is an established practice . Traditional consultations are often targeted to people who are active in a certain field, and to the same people over and over again. In terms of the acceptability of climate measures, however, it is important to also give a voice to people who usually do not participate in consultations.
This is why Citizens’ Jury was tested in the preparation of climate policy as an alternative form of participation. The process was carried through by a group of researchers at the University of Turku who are specialised in citizens’ juries. They used random sampling to convene a Jury composed of 33 members. Factors taken into account in the Jury’s composition included regional aspects, gender, language and age.
The Jury was convened at the stage of the preparation process where the measures that might be included in the Climate Change Policy Plan had been structured into three sets of measures with 14 individual measures altogether. This made things easier for the Jury as its members could comment on concrete proposals, such as measures of support for climate-friendly mobility or eating.
With respect to the Climate Change Policy Plan, the Jury made important observations especially in terms of the further preparation of the general steering instruments concerning consumption.
What those involved in the preparation considered as a special advantage of the Citizens’ Jury was that its view on a certain matter was a carefully thought out opinion. The Jury received in-depth background information and engaged in dialogues that were led by professional facilitators. This ensured that the outcome was well matched with the matters that were being prepared.
Citizens’ Jury drew up a statement on the fairness of climate actions
The task of the Jury was to assess the measures to be included in the new Climate Change Policy Plan that extends until 2035. The focus in the discussions was on emission reduction measures concerning housing, mobility and food that are particularly relevant for individual citizens, and on how just and effective they are likely to be.
The members of the Jury learned about the topics to be discussed from background material and presentations by experts from different fields. The Jury deliberated on the information received and different perspectives on climate measures in small groups and joint discussions. The Jury convened three times in online meetings and drew up its own statement on the topics discussed.
Here is one example of the general observations made by the Jury:
“Consumers must be strongly and clearly informed about the measures concerning the economy so that people in all income classes know how to apply for support and deductions or otherwise take into account the new changes affecting their economy. Guidance by information must be offered comprehensively, e.g. climate education starting in primary and lower secondary education. This should include clear and brief justification for the measures concerning the economy to improve the citizens’ awareness of these matters. Especially people with lower income and older people should be duly taken into account in the provision of information concerning financial support.”
Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
tel. +358 50 414 1682
Senior Ministerial Adviser, Secretary-General of the Climate Policy Roundtable
tel. +358 295 250 185