GC Australia is the final stages of developing a new initiative designed to give ordinary Australians the opportunity to influence public policy. The People Powering the Future initiative is based on GC Australia’s 2008 National People’s Assembly, a deliberative democracy project consisting of 14 citizens, who worked with experts to investigate the issue of displacement due to sea-level rise in order to provide recommendations to policy makers.
As such, the inspiration behind this new initiative comes from the recommendations of the Assembly to establish a south-south capacity building network in the Asia Pacific region. The initiative is also a response to severe scientific weather predictions forecasting that 145 million people, mostly in the Asia-Pacific region, will be displaced if seas rise by 1 metre.
The project plans to bring people together to build a network of participants using internet based social networks and conventional communication tools. The aim to is to instil an understanding of the effects of climate change and to exchange ideas on ways to cope.
The network will look to target women and youth especially, as they are often excluded from decision-making processes but are the groups most deeply and disproportionately impacted by climate change. Furthermore, the involvement of faith communities is also planned.
GC Australia will use a partnership model, seeking to raise funds through AusAid (the Australian Government Overseas Aid Programme) and the federal government to build capacity with partners to achieve results. Partners include Oxfam International Youth Partnerships (youth leadership in development); IWDA (faith based women’s leadership in development); Australian Conservation Foundation (climate change drivers) and the Red Cross (disaster preparedness and response). Additional partnerships with the nature conservancy and conservation international are opportunities currently being explored to ensure maximum network collaboration.
GC Australia expects a robust participation across Asian and Pacific nations in order to augment preparedness with local and regional responses, especially building on the power of women and youth.