FAQ

What does ‘WWViews’ stand for?
What is ‘World Wide Views’?
Why should we ask citizens about their views?
What is World Wide Views – on biodiversity?
What was World Wide Views – on Global Warming?
What is ‘Citizen participation’?
How will WWViews meetings take place?
How will WWViews on Biodiversity work?
How does WWViews differ from ordinary quantitative surveys?
Why is the citizen consultation not done on the Internet?
How about representativity?
Could all countries participate?
What is the WWViews Alliance?
What are the criteria for being a National Partner?
Who can’t be National Partners?
Who funds the project?
Who are we? – The Danish Board of Technology

What does ‘WWViews’ stand for?

‘WWViews’ stands for ‘World Wide Views’.

What is ‘World Wide Views’?

‘World Wide Views’ is a groundbreaking methodology for global citizen deliberation created by The Danish Board of Technology and our partners, among which are some of the most experienced organizations active in citizen consultation.
A ‘World Wide Views’ project is a way of giving a nuanced and in-depth picture of what people from different parts of the world think about key issues affecting their lives. The methodology can thus also be used for other subjects than biodiversity.

Why should we ask citizens about their views?

The citizens will have to live with the consequences of the decisions made in international biodiversity negotiations. Consulting citizens from all over the world will give a stronger foundation for making political decisions.
It will present a diversity of views on how to deal with biodiversity that relates to the daily lives of citizens all over the world. And consulting citizens may lead to results not expected by the politicians who ideally represent them.

What is ‘World Wide Views on Global Warming’?

World Wide Views on Global Warming was the first global citizen deliberation project world wide and took place 2009.
World Wide Views on Global Warming involved roughly 4,000 citizens in 38 countries spanning six continents. The citizens gathered in their respective nations to deliberate about the core issues at stake in the December 2009 UN negotiations on climate change. They received balanced information about climate change, discussed with fellow citizens and expressed their own views. They did so in daylong meetings on September 26, 2009.
Read more about WWViews on Global Warming

What is ‘Citizen participation’?

The concept of citizen deliberation covers a host of methods used to involve citizens in political decision-making processes. The main point of citizen deliberation is that a plurality of perspectives on political issues makes for more thorough and well-grounded decisions.
Having evolved since the 1970′s and 80′s, citizen deliberation is now an integrated part of many countries’ democratic models. Still, in many parts of the world, citizen deliberation is a very new thing and only exists at a grass-roots level.

How will WWViews meetings take place?

The national and regional WWViews meetings will take place during one full day and involve roughly 100 citizens at each meeting. The citizens will be presented in advance to written information material and be briefed at the meetings by information videos. The participants are put into smaller groups of 6-8 people with a moderator connected to each group.
The moderator guides the discussions at the table through four consecutive sessions of debating and voting on different issues related to the COP11 negotiations.
Results from the national and regional WWViews meetings will immediately be available for comparison with results from other the meetings through the WWViews website. Afterwards the results will be analyzed and the main results will be presented in a policy report.

How will WWViews on Biodiversity work?

The idea is to introduce citizen participation, which is normally used only as a national tool, on a global level. National meetings with around 100 citizens each will be held during one day, and their answers to a set of questions will be reported into a web-tool.
The results can be seen by anyone as they were produced at the meetings all over the world. The web-tool presents national results in national language and in English. It compares results between the meetings, countries, continents, economies etc.
The strength of this concept lies in the relation between nationally well-coordinated citizen meetings and trans-national analysis.

How does WWViews differ from ordinary quantitative surveys?

Usually, a survey will result in ‘reflex’ answers in terms of answers with only little background information and a short time for considering the answers. The WWViews want ‘reflected’ answers, which means that the participants receive balanced information on the technical, scientific and political sides of the issue and has time to discuss the issues with other citizens before answering.
Read more about the WWViews method.

Why is the citizen consultation not done on the Internet?

We see it as crucial that the meetings are face-to-face. For several reasons:

  • The WWViews should build upon deliberation, and that is best done face-to-face.
  • There is still a social distortion in the access to the Internet, which we can’t accept in the project.
  • Internet consultations will to a very high degree be written consultations, which will also introduce a social distortion.
  • The projects around the world should be comparable with regard to their results, and we could not trust online consultations to work anywhere on the globe.
  • The WWViews project should attract attention by being an event, and online meetings are much less visible than face-to-face meetings.

We are, however, examining new ways of involving more participants in WWViews through the internet.

How about representativity?

Guidelines for selecting the participating citizens are made in order to ensure the reliability of the results: The citizens at each meeting should reflect the demographic distribution in their country or region with regards to age, gender, occupation, education, and geographical zone of residency (i.e. city and countryside).
A further criterion is that they should not be experts on biodiversity, neither as scientists nor stakeholders. Where appropriate the national partners add additional demographic criteria relevant to their national context; for example race or ethnic groups.
The sample of citizens consulted in WWViews aims to be large and diverse enough to give a sense of general trends in national and international public opinion.

Could all countries participate?

Yes! One of the key concerns for the coordinators is to ensure a good distribution of participating countries, with regard to geographical, economic or political diversity.
It is a priority to get countries from all parts of the world to participate, regardless of their economical capabilities; the coordinators seek external funding in order to support those countries for which conducting a WWViews meeting would be too costly.
The WWViews method has the potential to include all countries in the world, if partners with relatively high independence and some experience in participatory methods can be found.

What is the WWViews Alliance?

The World Wide Views (WWViews) Alliance is a global network of organisations with the skills and competences required to organise large scale citizen consultations. They are public councils, parliamentary technology assessment institutions, non-governmental civil society organizations, science museums and universities.
The WWViews Alliance also includes Supportive and International partners who can help find more National Partners or financial support. UNESCO, for example, is such a partner.
Members of the WWViews Alliance have collaborated to organize World Wide Views on Global Warming in 2009 and World Wide Views on Biodiversity in 2012. The WWViews Alliance is now looking into the possibility of organising WWViews citizen consultations on Biodiversity on a more regular basis, i.e. every two years in connection with the biodiversity COP’s.

What are the criteria for being a National Partner?

To become a partner in the WWViews Alliance an organisation should have the following qualities:

  • Independence of specific interests – may these be stakeholder interests, political parties, social groups etc. – in the issue of biological diversity. Organisations that cannot live up to this must form an alliance with other organisations in their region/country in order balance it out.
  • Have the professional skills necessary to perform a national citizen participation process in a fair and methodologically consistent manner, following the guidelines developed by DBT
  • Based on non-profit – meaning that there are no owners who profit from any kind of overhead. We accept institutions, which may seek an overhead from external funding, if this overhead stays in the institution to support other non-profit activities.
  • A reputation as serious, professional, trust-worthy and effective organisation.

Who can’t be National Partners?

  • Academic institutions, if they only want to join in order to do research.
  • Consultancy firms, who can’t work non-profit
  • NGO’s that are unwilling to provide participating citizens with unbiased background information

We need partners who will take a role as active advocates for the political and public relevance of the WWViews activities and results.

Who funds the project?

The coordination of the project is sponsored by the VILLUM Foundation and The Danish Ministry of the Environment. It is further supported by in-kind contributions from The Danish Board of Technology and the CBD Secretariat.
National Partners will have to pay for their own participation. However, fundraising efforts are made by the Danish Board of Technology and other project partners in order to include as many countries in the project as possible.
Fundraising efforts will also be made by the Danish Board of Technology in order to include additional web-based awareness raising activities in the project and to develop a school kit with a mix of role-play and education in biodiversity.

 

Japan Biodiversity Fund United Nations Decade on Biodiversity CBD UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

Velux Foundation The Danish Board of Technology Foundation Danish Ministry of the Environment

Who are we? – The Danish Board of Technology

The Danish Board of Technology is an independent, non-profit public organisation in Denmark established by law in 1995 in order to spread knowledge about the possibilities and consequences of technology for the individual, society and the environment. We are internationally renowned for our methods and commitment to involving citizens in political decision-making processes, and we were awarded the 2010 Jim Creighton Award by the International Association for Public Participation (iap2) in recognition of the enduring and significant contribution to the practice of public participation and for innovative and creative approaches, international outreach and courage.

For further information, please contact:

Bjørn BEDSTED, project manager and WWViews coordinator, phone: +45 3078 5171, e-mail:bb@tekno.dk

Read more about The Danish Board of Technology here.