The Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly is one of the first Climate Assemblies in Wales. In March 2021, it will bring together 50 people from the Blaenau Gwent area to address the question:
What should we do in Blaenau Gwent to tackle the climate crisis in a way that is fair and improves living standards for everyone?
The participants will hear evidence, discuss the issues, and produce recommendations for what local public service organisations, communities and individuals can do to address the climate crisis. The recommendations made will be considered by organisations including Blaenau Gwent Council and will help to shape the climate plans of local housing associations.
The Climate Assembly will explore the overarching question through learning about, and discussion of related sub-themes including housing, nature / green space and transport.
Lead Experts will present information on climate change and the sub-themes to provide context for the discussions.
The main sessions will take place online (using video calls) in March 2021.
There will also be shorter introductory sessions and a mid-point check in at dates to be confirmed.
Frequently Asked Questions
A citizens’ assembly is a group of people who are brought together to learn about and discuss an issue or issues, and reach conclusions about what they think should happen. In the case of a Climate Assembly, the issue being discussed is climate change.
From the UK Climate Assembly site:
‘The people who take part are chosen so they reflect the wider population – in terms of demographics (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, social class) and sometimes relevant attitudes (e.g. their views on climate change).
Citizens’ assemblies give members of the public the time and opportunity to learn about and discuss a topic. Participants hear from, and question, a wide range of specialists.
These can include, for example, academics, researchers, people with direct experience of the issue, other stakeholders and campaigners. Through this process, they hear balanced evidence on the issue, before discussing what they have heard with one another and deciding what they think.
Citizens’ assemblies usually last for two or more weekends and have forty or more participants. Independent facilitators are there at all times to help ensure everyone’s voice is heard. The conclusions of the citizens’ assembly are written up in a report that is presented to decision-makers.’
Solutions to the climate crisis need to take into account the challenges and opportunities of different places.
Welsh Government, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and the local Housing Associations believe that local people have an important role to play in deciding on actions that will also improve lives in Blaenau Gwent. We want to hear your views and recommendations on how our local area can tackle the climate crisis.
The recommendations decided on by the Climate Assembly will be:
- Considered by the Council as part of its follow up to declaring a Climate Emergency, which also includes a climate plan to become a Carbon Neutral Council by 2030.;
- Inform the work of local public service organisations working together as the Blaenau Gwent Public Service Board (PSB) (including Police, Health Board and Fire Service).
- Shape the Housing Associations’ climate plans, including how changes to current houses (‘retrofitting’) are made to ensure they fit with individuals lives and provide benefits to the community;
- Sent to Welsh Government to help shape their Decarbonisation strategy and next Programme for Government; and
- Discussed with community groups in the area to make sure citizens’ are better able to shape local plans.
Participants are being selected at random from the general public through a process called sortition, like a jury. Sortition allows the selection of members to be stratified by local demographics, for example, gender, age, ethnicity, geographic location and social background. This random selection combined with representative sampling means that the wider community can be confident that assembly members are fellow citizens, like them, and are not representing special interests.
The Sortition Foundation has been sub-contracted to support with recruitment of participants. Invitations have been sent to 10,000 people across Blaenau Gwent and 50 participants will be selected from those interested in participating.
We will ensure that all participants are able to participate via a tablet or computer and will be providing these where necessary.
We will also be stating in the invitations that support can be provided on a case by case basis for any disability, caring responsibilities and other factors that might otherwise prevent participation.
Participants will be able to participate in Welsh if they wish.
The Assembly is being organised by four housing associations in Blaenau Gwent in collaboration with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Electoral Reform Society, Cynnal Cymru.
A Steering Group has been established to oversee the organisation and format of the Assembly.
ABC Swansea University
Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council
Carbon Literacy Cymru
Digital Public Service Board
Electoral Reform Society
Natural Resources Wales