Deliberative forums are spaces where a topic is brought up in a way that invites participants to carefully contemplate lock-ins, actions, and strategies forward to a problem in a constructive manner. In the context of climate-energy-mobility, topics may cover reducing dependence on fossil fuels, promoting alternative modes of transportation, just renewable energy transitions or climate mitigation/adaptation strategies. Forums are typically kept small and can either consist of a range of actors or a specific group of participants with knowledge on particular issues.

  • Enhances Participation: Increases participation in social change in an easy-to-implement and potentially low-cost way.

  • Policy Acceptance: Can support the acceptance of public policies through agency and ownership.

  • Promotes Understanding and Trust: By including a diversity of opinion in a constructive manner, can generate increased understanding, trust, and social cohesion.

  • Values Deliberation Process: Demonstrates the value of informed and respectful deliberation as an objective and process in itself without the need for reaching a consensus.

  • Good facilitation: Balancing interests and power relations between participants is needed, otherwise some topics or voices may dominate.

  • Participation: There is a risk of participants bringing their existing biases; lack of willingness of participants to take different points into account may also lock certain discussions in.

  • Ensuring impact: If not binding or linked beforehand to specific public policy outcomes, deliberation results may only have a limited impact.


SEARBO project: This three-day forum in the Philippines deliberated on disinformation and the spread of “fake news” regarding the 2022 elections. It involved 26 randomly selected Filipinos and came up with recommendations on a near-consensus See SEARBO reporfor more.


Explore our open library to find SSH-related resources that can help you with your project, initiative, or research.