Participatory governance is realized by creating deep and meaningful connections between citizens and the policy community, thus ensuring that citizens are active partners in policy and governance innovation, not merely a source of data.
In this context, WeObserve aims to foster the use and acceptability of citizen science and Citizen Observatories within the policy community, stimulating a gradual uptake of these novel socio-technological and methodological approaches in domains such as environmental and disaster risk and emergency management.
Knowledge collected from Citizen Observatories, the WeObserve Communities of Practice, and the other related initiatives has been consolidated in two policy briefs with recommendations for policy makers on how to foster Citizen Observatories to address environmental challenges.
The first policy brief entitled ‘A Roadmap for Citizen Science in GEO – The essence of the Lisbon Declaration.’ aims to secure the integration of Citizen Science and Citizen Observatories into Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). The relevance of Citizen Science and Citizen Observatories has only recently been considered in GEO activities. In order to advocate its importance and significance, this policy brief summarises three key messages from the Lisbon Declaration for European policy makers and describes how best to connect and integrate Citizen Science communities as well as their activities and outputs into GEO.
The second policy brief, entitled ‘Mission Sustainable: Fostering an enabling environment for sustainable Citizen Observatories’ provides recommendations that can contribute to the generation, execution and sustainability of Citizen Observatories. Citizen Observatories face a number of challenges unique to their particular characteristics, such as the longer period of time over which an engaged community of participants is built, and the use of innovative data collection tools and technologies. European policy makers and funders can improve the conditions that allow Citizen Observatories to thrive and sustain their activities. Based on a range of inputs from practitioners, the policy brief makes four specific recommendations to European and national funding bodies and policy makers for fostering an enabling environment that can contribute to the generation, execution and sustainability of Citizen Observatories and therefore maximise their impact.