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if you ask me

Two years ago, hardly anyone in the Netherlands had heard of a 'civil deliberation', now this new form of democracy is on the rise. In more and more places, residents are able to participate in the discussion and decision-making on topics that politics alone cannot solve.

Together with a coalition of dozens of organizations (including the CHE) and thousands of residents, Bureau Burgerberaad has been advocating a national citizens' consultation on climate policy since 2020. And successfully: last July, Minister Rob Jetten asked the House of Representatives to take a decision on a climate-citizen consultation.

Some problems are so tough that politicians can't handle them on their own. A multi-headed monster like the energy and climate crisis requires a multi-headed approach. Many countries around us therefore organize national citizens' consultations. In a citizens' deliberation, 150 citizens drawn by lot come up with solutions for the most complicated problems. The participants meet for a number of weekends, receive all the information they need, discuss the possible solutions in detail and then decide together what the best approach is.

And guess what? Ordinary people are quite capable of jointly devising measures that are feasible, adequate and just.

Bureau Burgerberaad consists of a group of residents who want to strengthen democracy so that it can withstand the challenges of the twenty-first century. Think of climate change and loss of species diversity, but also unequal access to basic services (such as energy and water), polarisation, geopolitical tensions and disinformation. Since 2020, they have strived for a strong democracy in which politicians and citizens put their shoulders to the wheel together on complex social issues, so that they no longer lead to division, but to policies that are effective, inclusive and future-proof. The first step: proper national citizens' consultation on the climate.

In October, national politics will take a big step. Then the House of Representatives will discuss whether a national citizens' consultation will be organized and under what conditions the results will be adopted.

That is why Bureau Burgerberaad e is launching the campaign: if you ask me to allow everyone in the Netherlands to participate in the discussion about the national citizens' deliberation.