Using Citizen consensus conferences to communicate risk

The Danish Board of Technology introduced a new form of public involvement in which a small group (6-10) of citizens are invited to study a risk issue and provide the legal decision-maker with recommendations at the end of the process. It is good to use an equal number of men and women and representatives from different age groups and cultures. The team is given all the materials they need to make a decision and are encouraged to share ideas with the decision-makers. After much discussion the team meets in private and makes recommendations, which are presented to the decision-makers.

At the end, the team prepares a document of recommendations and presents this to the media. This is a good technic because it allows for the values of the public to be included in the decision-making process.  Negatively, this technic puts a lot of pressure on a small group of people.



Adapted from OECD Guidance Document on Risk Communication for Chemical Risk Management

Consensus conferences appear to yield a compelling legitimacy effect within countries that are small and emphasise consensus over conflict
Source: Hatfield Consultants
Hatfield Consultants The World Bank funded by the Canadian POPs Trust Fund through the      
Canadian International Development Agency
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