The North of Tyne Citizens’ Assembly will report its findings in May 2021. The Citizens Assembly involved 50 people from the region in the North East of England. Their role was to help shape the region’s response to the climate crisis.
Through the Sortition Foundation, the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) sent out 10,000 letters in December 2020, inviting randomly selected residents of Newcastle, North Tyneside, and Northumberland to take part. From those who responded 50 people were selected to reflect the diversity of the population in the region.
The NTCA set up the process to help come up with radical actions to slash the area’s carbon footprint. Jamie Driscoll, Mayor of North of Tyne, recently said about the Citizens Assembly:
“The climate emergency is real and urgent. But we need to take people with us if we are to tackle it effectively. A Citizens’ Assembly is a different way of doing things. It’s an opportunity to engage meaningfully with a representative sample of the public and listen to what they have to say.”
It was important that the Assembly comprised a range of people who have different experiences or opinions. Making sure there was a diverse range of people in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, and where people live and attitude to climate change. No specific qualifications or skills were needed. Residents just had to be willing to share views and opinions and listen to the views of other people.
Between February and April 2021, Shared Future facilitated around 30 hours of online meetings. During these meeting members heard from a range of commentators (experts) to help them answer the question:
“What should we do in the region to address climate change and its causes fairly, effectively and quickly?”
At the end of the process, the Citizens Assembly developed a set of recommendations for the NTCA and others in the region to consider. Those recommendations will be made public soon.
Find out more about this important process, watch the commentator presentations given to inform the deliberation and read the soon to be released recommendations on the dedicated NOT Climate Assembly webpage.