Deliberative democracy

About the National Peoples Assembly 2008

Programme for the National People's Assembly 29-30 August 2008
Download the official programme
Download the Citizens' Panel Report from The National People's Assembly on sea level rise and population displacement in the Asia Pacific region
A detailed report with recommendations for the federal government
Andrew Ash's (CSIRO) presentation on adaptation initatives for the Asia Pacific Region
Presented at the National People's Assembly
Alison Green's (The Nature Conservancy) presentation: Designing Networks of Marine Protected Areas to be Resilient to Climate Change
Presented at the National People's Assembly

2008 National People's Assembly - Democracy in action

In Europe and North America, citizen's juries pay influential roles in informing public policy debates especially where controversial science is involved.

In 2008 Green Cross adopted a Scandinavian Consensus Conference model to enable a group of ordinary Australians to advise our Federal government about humanitarian climate adaptation policy. The 2008 National People's Assembly was supported by a Steering Committee of academic, science, business and community development experts. To learn more about the topics covered and recommendations made - keep reading.

The Issues

Communities in developing countries across Asia Pacific, Africa and South America need to build their resilience to shifting climatic patterns and other environmental stresses. Just like Australia, less developed nations are likely to confront more intense bushfire, flood, cyclone and drought conditions based on predictions of climate scientists.

Unlike Australia, developing countries have scarce funds to support activities that build local community resilience.

Real and present risks of climate change include gradually rising sea-levels, more intense extreme events such as cyclones and drought, freshwater shortages and contamination, depleted fisheries, spreading water-borne diseases, species extinction and crucial agricultural implications for food security.

We must boost the ability of social and ecological systems to adapt to climate change because they are our community lifeline.

Green Cross works in the interface between humanitarian and environmental stresses. Our international offices and partners support communities in Asia, Africa, South America and Eastern Europe that lack clean drinking water and seek to repair and replenish their local environments.

In Australia we work to influence our overseas Aid program and we encourage Australian students to support Green Cross and partner projects in developing countries such as Green Cross Ghana's clean water for green schools effort.

Shaping Australia's overseas aid program

Since we opened our offices in late 2007, Green Cross Australia has addressed a pressing local concern: How should Australia respond to the humanitarian challenges posed by climate change impacts on our Asia Pacific neighbors? We chose a democratic method to address this question by convening a deliberative democracy project in 2008 called "The National People's Assembly"

The project used a Danish model of deliberative democracy similar to a "citizen's jury", but with extensive briefing with dozens of eminent experts over a three month period culminating in a deliberation which input from sixteen leading academic, business and community leaders. Climate Change Minister Penny Wong welcomed their recommendations via video, sending Howard Bamsey, Australia's Envoy on Climate Change to witness deliberations and receive recommendations.


National People's Assembly
Citizen's Panel recommendations

for Climate Adaptation Action

The panel advocates that Australia must prioritise adaptation research and planning in areas that address the topics of water and food security, biodiversity, conservation and health. Research and planning should be comprehensive, locally based, and include local peoples in areas throughout the region, and must incorporate all of the principles outlined above.


We recommend the development of capacity building relationships across the region that include women, indigenous people, young people, faith-based groups, and local and international NGOs. This can be done through student exchange and volunteer programs, climate change adaptation and disaster training, agricultural demonstrations, professional development and resource and technology sharing.


We recommend that Australia play a significant role in assisting communities in the region to plan appropriate sustainable adaptation initiatives and technologies e.g. whole systems analysis.


In August 2009, we were delighted that Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith announced that the "International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative" would fund $2.7 million in community led adaptation projects for the Pacific and Timor-Leste. The 2010 Federal budget includes more funding for regional adaptation. Green Cross has worked hard to influence these important Aid commitments.

As Green Cross grows in Australia, we aim to support new initiatives such as our proposed "TLResilience" partnership to support adaptation efforts in Timor Leste.

We also work to support the World Bank's climate adaptation program.

In 2010 we will raise funds to support provision of clean water to students in drought affected areas of Ghana as part of our commitment to climate resilience in the developing world.

This work is led by Green Cross International and Green Cross Ghana, and will link into our green education and green schools activities in Australia. We will encourage Australian students and schools to support communities in Ghana to make their schools more healthy and sustainable.

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