The UK charities the WWF, the RSPB and National Trust have engaging in a unique collaboration with the public to produce The People’s Plan for Nature to protect and restore nature in the UK. The public engagement strategy combined a National Conversation with The People’s Assembly for Nature. The People’s Plan for Nature is another example of the emerging trend for civil society organisations to commission climate and other citizens’ assemblies (see also, for example, the German Citizen’s Assembly on Climate and the Polish Citizens’ Assembly on Energy Costs).
The National Conversation generated around 30,000 responses within four weeks, offering ideas and stories from the public about what nature means to them and how it can be protected. This fed into the second step – The People’s Assembly for Nature – which brought together 103 people selected through a democratic lottery. Over four weekends they learned about the nature crisis and found common ground to create The People’s Plan for Nature. The Assembly was delivered by the participation charity Involve, with members recruited by the Sortition Foundation.
The Plan offers recommendations across a range of themes: vision and leadership, regulation and implementation; nature-friendly farming; food production and consumption; marine protection for coastal waters; waterway and catchment management; local access to nature; and using evidence effectively. One of the most striking recommendations calls on government to introduce legislation that enshrines an Assembly for Nature as a permanent regulatory body. The Assembly would comprise appointed representatives from NGOs, industry and members of the public to scrutinise, challenge and hold to account government leadership and action that impacts on nature.