Chile’s Environment and Foreign Affairs Ministries want to hear what citizens have to say about sustainable development! The Consultas Ciudadanas online platform allows users to share their feedback on various initiatives led by both ministries.
In July 2017, the Ministry of the Environment used the platform to ask citizens for feedback on a project proposal to make cities more resilient to climate change. Its request received over 50 responses. Citizens shared valuable suggestions on how to evaluate the impact of the programme, and on introducing climate education programs in schools.
In April 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked citizens to name their priorities for the Sustainable Development Goals. According to Chile’s 2017 Voluntary National Review (VNR) on progress towards the SDGs, citizens responded by calling for stronger institutions, the eradication of poverty, and more partnerships for sustainable development.
In the VNR, Chile emphasises the importance of designing online programs to “collect opinions, concerns and proposals from citizens regarding sustainable development.” As the VNR explains, “this type of information, based on real citizen experiences and ideas about the future, is key for reflecting as a society about the best path forward to achieve the SDGs.”
On the Consultas Cuidananos platform, the Ministry of the Environment declares that “citizen opinions and observations constitute an important feedback process, which broadens the understanding of different key elements and contributes to the final instruments.” The ministry also promises to respond to every comment within 45 days.
The Environment Ministry has also created a video to educate citizens about the importance of community organization and citizen participation in the fight against climate change. Using colourful cartoons and animation, the video gives viewers step-by-step instructions on how to participate in the online consultation platform. The video even includes a sign language interpreter to encourage greater participation also from hearing-impaired citizens.
At the 2017 DevCom Annual Meeting, many participants agreed that communications today needs to go further than providing information. It also needs to provide citizens with the tools they need to participate in sustainable development.
Chileans are particularly vocal about climate change: according to the 2017 Latin American Barometer, 78% of Chileans think that priority must be given to the fight against climate change, no matter what the economic consequences. Chile ranks third out of all countries in the region when it comes to prioritizing climate change. The average for all Latin American countries is 71%.
Header Image: Ministerio del Medio Ambiente de Chile