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Introductory session summary Citizen’s Forum – 27 October 2020

The agenda for the evening was as follows:

  • Welcome
  • Introductions
  • About the forum
  • Contracting
  • Survey
  • Background - the journey so far
  • The future

The Citizens’ Forum on Climate Change met for the first time on the 27 October 2020 for an introductory session. The session was designed to set the foundations for future sessions and give members the opportunity to interact with each other and share thoughts and opinions. It was also a chance to discuss and agree the best approach to make the forum a worthwhile experience for everyone.

Thirty-one of the 36 members were present, the remaining five will have a separate introductory meeting as three were unable to attend and the forum has two further spaces for members selected at random from the electoral register.

The session, co- chaired by Mr Ralph Peake MHK and Mrs Jane Poole-Wilson MLC, began with introductions and an exercise to give each member the opportunity to speak briefly to the group. This involved members imaging a future they hoped to have.

The word cloud below represents the key thoughts from the exercise: 

Word cloud - Citizens' Forum session 27.10.20

Mrs Jane Poole-Wilson MLC gave some further detail on the selection process for the forum that each group [invited, advertised and randomly selected] had followed, as well as stating the core principles of the forum. The forum will provide insight and feedback to the Climate Change Transformation Board on climate action work from a community perspective as well as providing views and information on specific topics as requested.

We had an open discussion around the question ‘what will make attending the citizens’ forum a good experience and a good use of your time?’

Conversations around openness, respect, feedback loops, freedom to express views and tangible outcomes were had in small groups and as a forum-wide exchange of ideas.

During a brief coffee break, members were invited to complete a shortened version of the public consultation on climate actions held in the summer of last year.

Following the break Mr Ralph Peake MHK gave an overview of the work on climate change to date and government’s journey so far. This included the most recent work on the independent report from Professor James Curran and the government’s action plan phase 1.

Before closing the session Mr Peake looked to future sessions and invited members to share their thoughts on some of the areas they were passionate about discussing.

The Climate Change Transformation Team and citizens’ forum co-chair will use the outcomes from the introductory session and use these to build a foundation for future meetings to make a forum that is inclusive, worthwhile and above all committed to zero carbon emissions by 2050.