The inaugural session of the Global Citizens’ Assembly kicks-off soon during the UN Ocean Decade

In April 2024, Barcelona is set to host the inaugural session of the Global Citizens’ Assembly on the Ocean. This initiative, organized and coordinated by Missions Publiques, is part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Its primary aim is to pilot a new citizen deliberation method, intended for implementation in over 100 countries. The assembly’s mission is to engage everyday citizens in the conversations of the United Nations Ocean Conference slated for 2025. This first session is realized through a partnership with the Consortium for Science and Policy Outcomes (CSPO), Participaction, Raons Publiques, and Platoniq.

Throughout history, the ocean has been a focal point of power struggles, from the dominance of shipowners in Roman times and the control by maritime lords in the Middle Ages, to a contemporary legal void in international waters. Now, amidst a pressing environmental crisis, it is vital to reassess the effectiveness of our governance models for humanity’s common goods, especially the ocean. The 2023 ratification of the UN Treaty on the High Seas marks a significant step in this direction, establishing the right (and duty) of every individual to participate in decisions shaping the ocean’s future, and thereby our planet’s.

The inauguration of the Global Citizens’ Assembly on the Ocean, within the framework of the United Nations Ocean Decade, marks the beginning of a practical exploration into this democratic revival for ocean governance. Forty randomly selected citizens, representing diverse backgrounds, will convene on April 8th at the Centre de la Platja in Barcelona to deliberate on ocean-related issues.


Experimenting a deliberative method that includes the living system, the voice of the current generations and the voice of unborn generations

This innovative experiment includes the voices of the living system, current generations, and those yet unborn. Also called the ‘Three-Thirds Method’, it aims to incorporate a wider spectrum of voices while tackling global challenges and justice criteria more holistically.

The setting at the Centre de la Platja, located by the sea in Barcelona, provides an ideal environment for participants to form a physical and emotional connection with the ocean, thereby deepening their understanding of the discussed topics.

Future generations are a fundamental pillar of this method. The decisions made today will have far-reaching effects, impacting not only the coming decades but also centuries ahead. This reality raises fundamental questions about ensuring our current choices benefit the long term, including future generations’ interests. Often merely symbolic in political rhetoric, future generations are typically represented by youth councils, a step that remains inadequate. Our method strives to transcend these limitations by adopting a more inclusive, forward-looking approach, giving a genuine voice to future generations in current deliberations.


A first step towards including 10,000 citizens at global scale

The upcoming inaugural session of the Global Citizens’ Assembly on the Ocean is a precursor to a larger project: involving over 10,000 citizens from 100 different countries across all continents. This session, contributing to the Let’s Be Nice to the Ocean platform organized by the Varda group and the Ocean & Climate platform, will lay the groundwork for a Global Citizens’ Assembly. This assembly’s scale is unprecedented: decentralized assemblies will be held locally in each of the 100 partner countries with groups ranging from 50 to 100 people. These local assemblies will convene for at least one day in diverse locations, from rural areas to coastal cities, island states, and landlocked countries. Every participant, including those from indigenous communities, will be invited to share their perspectives, experiences, and life stories in informed, deliberative discussions.

The consultation will extend beyond local assemblies; a vast, multilingual online consultation (supported by is also planned to engage millions of citizens globally. This combined approach ensures the inclusion of diverse perspectives, especially from individuals previously unfamiliar with ocean governance issues.

The outcomes of these discussions, compiled in a final report to be presented at the United Nations Ocean Conference in May 2025, will define clear priorities and formulate concrete recommendations for ocean conservation. This citizen-created report will become a tool for policymakers, prompting them to initiate a constructive dialogue based on citizens’ suggestions.

By seeking to transform traditional governance, this Assembly addresses major challenges of our time, such as climate change, sustainable resource management, and social justice. It represents a significant step towards a renewed ocean governance aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDGs 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. This initiative embodies the spirit of the UN agreement on the High Seas Treaty, translating a commitment to sustainable, inclusive ocean management in line with the SDGs.

This initiative’s scale and scope not only signify a major milestone in reshaping ocean governance but also serve as a model for future governance practices of global common goods.

We will also be holding another assembly testing the Three-Thirds method in the framework of the Université populaire de prospective, on June 4th in Paris, Epop&e.


This first pilot of the Global Citizens’ Assembly, an official Satellite Event of the United Nations Ocean Decade, is an initiative by Missions Publiques in partnership with the Consortium of Science and Policy Outcomes (CSPO), Participaction, Raons Publiques, and Platoniq. More information can be found on the official website here.

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