Why citizens – and especially the youth – are not involved in public consultations

Ioli Christopoulou presented the main findings of the report titled “12 years of public consultations on the environment through OpenGov: citizen participation and the opinion of young people”, which was conducted by The Green Tank in cooperation with qed social and market research, during the “Explainer” podcast by NEWS247 and Stavros Dioskouridis.

Some of the report findings she cited:

  • 30% of public consultations on OpenGov are about the environment.
  • The volume of comments on the environment in relation to the total number of comments is at 22%, indicating that participation in these consultations is low.
  • Regarding young people aged 18-34, only 8% say they have participated in a public consultation in general and only 3% on the environment.
  • The duration of public consultations is usually short (up to 14 days) and unpredictable.
  • 61% of public consultations on the environment are not accompanied by an explanatory report or a regulatory impact analysis.

Attempting to explain the fact that citizens – and especially young people – do not participate in public consultations, Ioli Christopoulou talked about the difficulty in participating, especially when the public is invited to comment on technical texts, combined with the lack of timely information and distrust as to their effectiveness.

However, the report shows that there is interest in environmental issues, which people consider important, while 30% of young people are willing to participate in a future public consultation on the environment.

The conversation with Stavros Dioskouridis concluded with comments on the importance of participation in the upcoming European elections, which are being held in the middle of the most crucial decade for tackling the ecological and climate crisis. In this context, it was stressed that policies can change if citizens participate both in the elections and in public consultations.

The report “12 years of public consultations on the environment through OpenGov: citizen participation and the opinion of young people” was carried out as part of the project “Learn-Participate-Protect the Environment”, implemented under the Active citizens fund project, by iSea and its partner The Green Tank

You can listen to the episode of the Explainer podcast series on Spotify in Greek.