Phase 2 : Citizens’ summit
After the phase of public consultation, the second part of the project consisted in a process of citizen deliberation, the G1000 itself. Through a mix of random selection and targeted recruitment, 1000 citizens were invited to participate in a deliberative event in Brussels. On 11 th November 2011, sitting at 81 tables, the participants were invited to reflect, discuss and argue their positions on the three issues that were put on the agenda.
The discussion at each of these tables was facilitated by experienced volunteers who received proper training in the weeks before the event. They received the briefing materials and the scenario for the discussion beforehand and they received training in group dynamics. Moreover, 32 tables at the G1000 were bilingual, and a translator was assigned to each of these tables. 30 tables were made of only Dutch-speakers, 18 of French-speakers and the last one was a mix of German-speakers and French-speakers.
The G1000 event in Brussels was flanked by two side projects: G-Home and G-Offs. The G-Home was a software application aimed at online discussion, whereas the G-Offs gathered citizens all over Belgium to discuss the same issues as in Brussels but at local tables. The participant pool of these G-Homes and G-Offs was based entirely on self-selection, but the possibility to take part in local initiatives or even at home did lower the threshold for participation, and they did allow a much larger group than those gathered in Brussels to gather and simultaneously discuss the same issues. To this end, the event in Brussels was live streamed on the website.