Global Citizen Engagement

Global Citizen Engagement

In December of 2015, fifty volunteers, including citizen activists, NGO leaders, scholars and UN staff, joined the CCE-supported Pathway to Paris team during the COP21 UN Climate Conference.  Committed to bringing principles for efficient, effective, and equitable carbon pricing to the global process, they produced nearly 200 interviews, met with negotiators and peers from around the world, and supported the creation of the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition—a new global policy institution that includes governments, intergovernmental agencies, businesses and nonprofits.

Perhaps their proudest achievement was the establishment of the Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network (CCEN), a new global framework to ensure a role for citizens around the world in achieving the ambitions of the landmark Paris Agreement. Developed in collaboration with the UN Millennium Campaign and the World We Want platform, the CCEN is intended to ensure steady citizen input into ongoing climate negotiations in keeping with Article 6 of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which committed signatories to ensure “public participation in addressing climate change and its effects and developing adequate responses”—a clear imperative to provide citizens with a role in the design and implementation of climate policy.

The CCEN represents a major step toward achieving the goals of Article 6, which are based on the recognition that any lasting climate solution must include the participation of an informed global citizenry. Building upon a Governance Strategy introduced on October 25 in Minneapolis and adopted during the formal December 2 launch of the CCEN in Paris, the network provides citizens with the tools they need to form local networks of leaders and volunteers, connect with a global team, and offer consistent, actionable feedback to global policy makers.

The heart of the CCEN is the collaborative effort to maintain a connection between open local meetings, citizen-led policy Workstreams, and intergovernmental decision-making processes.

The Workstreams are always-active global venues that maintain open spaces for dialogue on Carbon Pricing, Adaptation, Citizen Participation, the Sustainable Development Goals, Human Health, Oceans, and the Polar Regions, in addition to restoring a healthy climate, reporting on national climate plans, and tracking the legal text that defines the implementation of the 1992 Convention and the Paris Agreement.

In addition to being an open venue for ongoing policy discussion, each Workstream will produce a regularly-updated report that will represent combined lay and expert citizen input into a specific policy realm. This engagement strategy will be supported, informed, and expanded through collaboration between the members of the CCEN Advisory Coalition, which includes UNICEF, the United Nations Environment Assembly, the Healthy Climate Project, the Global Challenges Action Network, the People+Planet Project, and other NGO partners, in addition to Citizens’ Climate Education. The Workstreams will help to ensure the genuine inclusion of stakeholders’ insights into the design of these vital elements of climate policy.

The CCEN also offers Citizens Voice TV, a streaming series that provides updates from global climate talks. During COP21, the Citizens’ Voice team produced nearly 200 short videos documenting and driving the global policy discussion. Now, they embark on various related projects tracking global action, engaging citizens, and preparing to produce an unprecedented level of coordinated citizen reporting from future climate talks.

CCE is also supporting the CCEN Text-Tracking Workstream’s development of a revolutionary online workspace for direct discussion of key negotiating texts. When fully developed, this text-tracking tool will allow for real-time updating, annotation, and interlinking of climate treaty text and other legal documents, and even for the hosting of live video conferences inside an electronic copy of the negotiating text, as it develops. This will allow citizens, scholars, and advocates from around the world to interact directly with decision-makers in a way that informs the legal process, strengthens the legitimacy of global decision-making, and ensures greater transparency on policy choices that affect everyone on Earth.

Rather than being committed to a single policy outcome, the CCEN is helping to build an expanded civic space for democratic citizen engagement—a goal which is both essential to climate action and worth pursuing in its own right. For more information about the Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network, or to join, visit engage4climate.org. The project is led by CCE’s Global Strategy Director, Joseph Robertson <jratcitizensclimatedotorg>.