Open Government action plan 2021 to 2025 - commitment 4: climate change

Overview of the climate change commitment, including milestones and their co-creation process, alongside progress reports submitted throughout the action plan.

Commitment overview

Commitment title

Establish an Open Government stakeholder network to deliver on participation and engagement requirements across key milestones for climate change policy


September 2021 to August 2025

Lead implementing directorate

Directorate for Energy and Climate Change

Civil society stakeholders

  • Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Inclusion Scotland
  • Keep Scotland Beautiful
  • Zero Waste Scotland
  • University of Strathclyde
  • climate outreach
  • other organisations (SCCAN, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland)


The Scottish Government has set climate change ambitions to become a net zero greenhouse gas emitting nation by 2045, with interim targets of 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040, against 1990 baseline levels. It has also committed to doing this in a way that is just and fair for all people across Scotland. These are ambitious targets and require a collective effort from all corners of society to play their part, including governments, businesses, organisations, communities and households.

To achieve the system-wide transformation needed to become a net zero nation, it is crucial that stakeholders, communities, and people are aware of the global climate emergency and Scottish Government climate change policy, understand how it relates to their lives, and are able to participate in its delivery. Participation is key to ensuring all groups are bought-in to Scotland's climate ambitions and are part of the collective effort required.

Reaching a diverse audience and different sections of Scottish society to enable participation and engagement in climate change policy will require collaboration with the many and varied organisations across Scotland best placed to deliver these activities. There is currently no singular forum to bring together current engagement involving climate change policy makers and stakeholders with a reach across the public that can support and streamline this.

In line with the Just Transition approach and the principles of the Public Engagement Strategy for Climate Change (PES) there is a need to consolidate and widen the existing pool of stakeholders regularly consulted on policy, streamline consultative processes on climate policy, and use these connections to maximise opportunities to develop new options for and drive public participation and engagement.

Status Quo

The latest data released in June 2021 showed that Scotland had missed its greenhouse gas emissions targets for the third year running – with a reduction of 51.5% against a target of 54% for 2019. This highlights the urgency needed over the next few years to catch-up to targets in order to meet the 2030 interim target.

In recent times, the Scottish Government has developed and delivered a range of policies and initiatives to respond to the climate emergency and support the transition to net zero. These include Scotland's Climate Assembly and the Just Transition Commission – both of which provided recommendations to be responded to this year – as well as the Climate Change Plan update (2020), the new PES (2021) and the second Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme (2019). In addition to responding to recommendations and delivering against strategies, the implementation of planned Community Climate Action Hubs is now underway, building from the now-closing Climate Challenge Fund. We have responded to the Just Transition Commission's recommendations (including Just Transition sector plans) and recently announced plans for a new Commission. The focus over the next four years is therefore to deliver against these policies.

Currently, our stakeholder engagement involves consulting a wide range of stakeholders from individuals, business, local authorities, parliament and NGOs on specific policies, where often inputs overlap with other related climate change policy work. This leads to multiple inputs from the same organisations whilst limiting engagement outside established networks/groups. Some activity involves stakeholder organisations in implementation, though this tends to be focused on the delivery of the policy rather than on participation and engagement elements or ensuring inclusive representation of the Scottish public.


In line with OGP values, an initial core group of stakeholders will be set up to co-create the terms of reference for the network, set out governance and initial plans for the selection and membership process. This will ensure a clear understanding of the network's remit, and a solid basis on which to begin a process of co-creation.

The Open Government Partnership will then co-create a four-year action plan for the commitment, with additions and revisions during delivery. This will contain the activities and targets for the network to advise on, as well as key milestones, plus practicalities like the resource ask of the network and the method of participation (online/in-person).

The partnership will undertake as its initial milestone establishing a stakeholder network to support in delivering on participation and engagement requirements across delivery of aspects of climate change policy. Given the established climate change policy landscape, the network would be focused on implementation rather than policy design. During the four years of the Action Plan, there will be collaborative reflection to revisit this and refocus as required.

It is anticipated that the network will include a broad range of stakeholders, from the public, private and third sectors and civil society. The network would act as a pool from which to draw advice via different methods on a range of climate policy issues, rather than acting as a "steering group".

The network will be drawn on to convene relevant organisations to advise on key policy milestones in the action plan, seeking to bring in a wide range of views and expertise across climate, equality and inclusion, policy participation, community engagement, etc. The expected result from the network is advice that supports more participation/engagement in implementation on key climate change policies, including delivering against objectives in these policies.

Initial milestones

(Milestones will be updated accordingly)

Core group development and activity from autumn 2021 – spring 2022

  • stakeholder mapping
  • establishment of core group
  • co-creation of action plan, including activities, targets and key milestones

Running and management of network spring 2022 – autumn 2025

  • establishment of wider network
  • gathering network input during key milestones
  • reporting back to the network

Overall management and co-ordination of the network.

How the commitment will contribute to solving the problem described above

Having a stakeholder network to support delivery on participation and engagement activities will provide advice, accountability and transparency on Scottish Government actions. It will also provide a robust and representative basis for co-creation of new opportunities for applying principles of openness, transparency and accountability throughout the four years of the Action Plan.

We expect the outcomes of this commitment to be:

  • expert advice to support on and deliver key climate change policy
  • greater transparency and accountability of government activities and performance
  • increased participation in policy delivery
  • rationalisation of existing steering groups
  • contribution to net zero targets

Open Government Partnership value this commitment is relevant to

  • access to Information
  • civic participation
  • public accountability
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