Deliberative citizen participation

As a solution to the problem of short-termism, the PALO project aims to develop practices for deliberative citizen participation that better take long-term effects and future generations into account.

Studies on deliberative citizen forums have shown that facilitated group discussion between individuals with different views helps widen their political understanding. In addition, social psychological studies have demonstrated that requiring people to give justifications and providing them feedback are effective methods for correcting the distortions in a person’s train of thought. The principles of democratic deliberation are realised in some representative democratic institutions, such as the parliamentary committees. However, the benefits derived from this type of deliberation are usually greater when the participants are citizens who do not represent any specific group, such as a constituency or interest group.

The use of mechanisms of deliberation, i.e. discussion based on the merits of arguments, could represent a democratically justified method for strengthening the long-term nature of decision-making. The PALO project assesses how deliberative citizen participation could be used to promote future interests and how it could be fitted into current democratic practices.