Citizen Observatories – A voice for citizens in environmental monitoring

A policy brief based on the experiences from Citizen Observatories

Even though citizen science has a long tradition, it has only recently experienced an increasing trend fostered by the age of big data and new developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Such advances have led to the establishment of Citizen Observatories (COs), in which citizen-powered science addresses key issues in the monitoring of our dynamic environment.

While the European Union is supporting this endeavour within the FP7 and Horizon 2020 programmes, there are still obstacles that need to be tackled in order to pave the way for citizens to have an active role and voice in environmental decision-making.

One of the main obstacles for the successful implementation of citizen science and COs in the policy agenda is the readiness level of policy and decision makers in terms of awareness, acceptability, and sustainability.

Our policy brief addresses this issue, providing dedicated recommendations that highlight the need for citizen participation in environmental policy-making; stress the fact that citizen science initiatives should be actively supported; outline the need to reduce the gap between bottom-up and top-down approaches and directly address the concerns of policy makers on citizen science.

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