Spotlighting the Backstage Governance of Citizens Assemblies

Most attention on citizens assemblies understandably focuses on what happens on stage. What do the participants discuss and how deliberative are their interactions? But what happens on stage is in large part shaped by what is happening behind the scenes – for example, who decides what the agenda for discussion is, and how? In a new report from the Global Citizens’ Assemblies Network (GloCAN), we examine these backstage governance practices in cases from across the world and ask what they tell us about how to organise a global assembly.

The research was carried out by three teams, one focused on cases in Europe, one on South East Asia, and one in Latin America.

Together we examined 14 cases across these three regions, investigating:

  • how their governance was structured,
  • how key design decisions about elements of the process (such as participant selection, agenda-setting and post event follow-up) were managed;
  • what values drove the governance and how they were implemented.

What we found then informed ten recommendations for organising global assemblies:

  1. Create transparent governance structures.
  2. Open the commissioning process to a range of stakeholders.
  3. Make space for mutual learning between decision-makers.
  4. Govern with sensitivity to the local context.
  5. Use global citizens’ assemblies for deliberative capacity-building.
  6. Transparently communicate the rationale for process design decisions.
  7. Agree on a clear plan for participant involvement.
  8. Develop an impartial system for expert selection.
  9. Plan for impact.
  10. Develop and apply an ethical code of conduct for governing assemblies.

To read the recommendations in full and how we arrived at them, you can download the full report from the GloCAN website.

Similar Posts