The deliberative sessions of the Gipuzkoa Citizens’ Assembly come to an end with the presentation of the recommendations to the General Assembly
The Gipuzkoa Citizens’ Assembly is, together with the one already held in Tolosa, the second deliberative democracy initiative promoted by Arantzazulab in the territory. Promoted by the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, Arantzazulab and Telesforo Monzon eLab, the initiative was launched in November 2022 following the OECD’s principles of good practice and with the support of Deliberativa. After almost a year of design work, between September and October last year, 32 Gipuzkoa citizens were chosen by a civic lottery, according to specific criteria (age, gender, education level, language knowledge, place of residence and the importance they give to buying local products) to ensure that the diversity of the territory was represented among assembly members.
The 32 selected citizens participated in a 40-hour deliberative process. Between November and December 2022, the participants, who met for 4 weekends between November and January, had to answer the following question: ‘How can we guarantee agricultural activity in Gipuzkoa in order to face the climate emergency?’
The 32 citizens participating in the Citizens’ Assembly have learned about the topics related to the question and have developed their knowledge on the subject through the presentations of various experts as well as practitioners. Afterwards, the assembly deliberated on the basis of the information received and drafted collective recommendations to respond to the question posed by the regional institution.
At the session on the14th of January, the members of the assembly presented their 9 collective recommendations to the provincial council representatives, headed by Eider Mendoza, Governance Deputy of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa:
- Return economic compensation to rural landowners based on their contribution to ecosystem services and disseminate these values to society.
- Promote forest management through R&D and by making it a strategic sector.
- To turn the primary sector into a strategic sector by moving from an economic to an ecosystemic valuation through the participation of the different stakeholders involved.
- Raise awareness in society from childhood about the world of agriculture and climate change.
- To study measures for the rejuvenation of the primary sector.
- Promote KM.0. from the 1st phase of production.
- Promote strategic organic farming through the creation/expansion of bodies responsible for increasing competitiveness, productivity and comercialisation.
- Promote local produce by adjusting tax rebates.
- Encourage professional mixed farmhouses (“baserri” in Basque).
Prior to the presentation, the members of the Assembly voted on their support for each recommendation. Support was over 80% for all proposals except one, where the degree of consensus was 78%. For each of the recommendations, a description is included detailing the proposal and the reasons for proposing it. The document is available on the assembly’s website.
In addition to handing in the written proposals, a total of 9 participants took the floor to explain each of the recommendations to the representatives of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the institutions promoting the initiative. Likewise, 4 other members of the assembly shared their experience of the process.
“As you can see, we are a group of different ages, from different economic and social backgrounds, and from different parts of Gipuzkoa. And I am very proud to belong to this group. We have been able to do all this”, assembly member
“The experience has been satisfactory. We have reached the end very well. I have learned a lot and I am looking forward to learning more”, assembly member
In accordance with the commitment made when the Assembly was convened, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa will prepare a written response to each of the recommendations, and the responses will be presented in public at the Provincial Council on the 14th of March. Thus, the public representatives will explain for each recommendation that will be implemented how they are going to be carried out, and for those that won’t be implemented the reasons for it. However, the process will not end there. The members of the Assembly and the promoting entities will follow up on the implementation of the recommendations in the coming months. In addition, two further milestones are planned: one in the autumn of this year, and one at the end of 2024. This will measure the positive impact of this process, the empowerment of citizens and its influence on public policies.
In addition, in the coming weeks, a video will be published, sharing the project’s journey through the testimonies of the participants, the lessons learned and the reflections of the promoting team, and the voices of those who have worked in the implementation and facilitation of the process. This video will show the details of assembly members and internal team experiences. We will keep you posted!