Written evidence submitted by the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission (CAUK0003)
This is the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission’s organisational response to Climate Assembly UK’s call for evidence.
The FFCC Chief Executive, Sue Pritchard, was an expert witness at Climate Assembly UK. We were encouraged by the quality of questions and debate from participants, and the overall organisation of the process. While the Climate Assembly is not the only demonstration of participative and democratic processes, this was a particularly well structured and rigorous example, which had benefits in its ability to be deployed in different places and contexts. We were also encouraged to see many of our recommendations from Our Future in the Land, being adopted in the Climate Assembly recommendations.
Climate Assembly UK has demonstrated (again) the willingness amongst citizens to engage with deep and complex issues. Climate Assembly UK provides further evidence that, given a range of differing opinions, topics or issues, citizens are quick and ready to engage in complex topics, disproving assumptions that citizens are not interested in these matters. As such, the Climate Assembly process backs our work at FFCC, by showing the kinds of approaches, messaging and language that citizens are receptive to. These include citizens’ concerns in connection to notions of fairness, transparency and balance, which have helped us consider how we conduct our work on framing narratives for more sustainable food systems.
Beyond impact on the sector, Climate Assembly UK could help government make braver choices for climate and nature, in the knowledge that with the right information, citizens respond overwhelmingly positively to necessary interventionist measures. We have also noticed that there are discrete climate assemblies emerging throughout the country in local regions, for instance in Wales where they are being set up on a county basis. This is encouraging news to see the assembly model being adopted.
The FFCC recommends that a follow up monitoring and review mechanism is now established between the Climate Assembly, its commissioners and government. The Committees should reconvene involved citizens, to comment and feedback on government response to the initial assembly, thereby establishing an engaged and iterative process on matters of national importance.