Citizens' Assembly on Social Parenting

On the 19th and 20th of October in the Aula Magna of University of Milano "La Statale" in via Festa del Perdono, 7 Eumans in collaboration with Associazione Luca Coscioni will hold a prototype of a sortition based citizens assembly on topics related to Social Parenting. Discover what it means and discuss with the help of experts how it could be regulated in Italy and in the EU. 

You don't need to be Italian to participate: people from all over Europe are very well welcome to be involved in this process, in order to ensure the participation of a variety of european citizens, as requested by the Transnational European Assembly project.





Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan
Prof. Ssa Marilisa D'amico
Marco Cappato, Co-president of EUMANS 
Filomena Gallo, Secretary General of Associazione Luca Coscioni 


9.15 - 9.30: Samuele Nannoni And Lorenzo Mineo: CIVIC ASSEMBLY AND RULES OF WORK

9.30 - 9.50: Francesca Re And Alessia Cicatelli: CHOICE OF THEMES AND PRESENTATION OF THE SESSIONS 


10.00 - 10.40: SESSION 1 - ADOPTIONS. Moderated by Chiara Ronzani (journalist)

Irene Pellizzone - Associate Professor of Italian and supranational public law at the University of Milan;

Melita Cavallo - Former president of the Juvenile Court of Rome

Marina Mengarelli - Sociologist

Monya Ferritti - President of CARE Coordination - Coordination of adoptive and foster family associations


10.45 - 11.25: SESSION 2 - ASSISTED REPRODUCTION. Moderated by Sonia Montegiove (journalist)

Benedetta Liberali, - Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Milan and cassation lawyer

Filomena Gallo - Supreme Court lawyer and National Secretariat of the Luca Coscioni Association for freedom of scientific research

Marilisa D'Amico - Vice-Rector and Full Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Milan, Supreme Court lawyer

Benedetta Vimercati - Associate Professor of Italian and supranational public law at the University of Milan

Filippo Ubaldi - Former President of the Italian Society of Fertility and Sterility, Gynecologist and Scientific Medical Director of the Genera group and Clinical Director of the Genera Roma, Genera Veneto and Genera Napoli centers


11.30 - 11.45: COFFEE BREAK 


11.45 - 12.35: SESSION 3 - PREGNANCY FOR OTHERS. Moderated by Chiara Lalli (journalist)

Silvia Mazzoni- Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Dynamic Psychology and Health at Sapienza University of Rome

Massimo Clara - Lawyer of the Milan Bar

Stefano Bissaro - Researcher in Italian and supranational public law, University of Milan

Carlo Bulletti - Former President of the Italian Society of Fertility, Sterility and Reproductive Medicine (SIFES-MR) and Associate Professor Adjunt Dept Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science. Yale University, New Haven (Ct), USA

Francesca Re - Lawyer and PhD in Criminal Law, University of Rome, Tor Vergata


12.35 - 13.20: SESSION 4 - RECOGNITION OF THE LEGAL STATUS OF THE CHILD. Moderated by Alessandra Pellegrini De Luca (journalist)

Alessia Cicatelli - Lawyer and member of the Board of  Associazione Coscioni

Gianni Baldini - Lawyer, Associate Professor (qualified) of Private Law and professor of Biolaw, he carries out research at the Universities of Florence and Siena

Alberto Gambino - Full Professor of Private Law and Vice Rector at the European University of Rome. President of the Scienza&Vita Association and of the Italian Academy of the Internet Code (IAIC)





8.30 – 9.00: REGISTRATION

9.30 – 10.30: Working groups 

10.30 – 10.45: COFFEE BREAK

10.45 – 12.15: Working groups 




What is a Citizens’ Assembly

Citizens’ Assemblies are spreading all over the world as the ultimate best practice in deliberative democracy.  They encompass a process through which citizens can draw policy recommendations on public issues, such as climate change, social justice, civil rights, etc... Its members, who sit in these temporary decision-making bodies alongside elected institutions at various levels of government, are selected by statistical draw with the aim of forming a representative sample of society. During the working sessions, participants learn in depth about the issues to be addressed, listen to experts and various stakeholders, deliberate collectively and finally formulate recommendations and proposals to be possibly adopted by governments.

Why social parenthood?

Social parenting is the expression standing for all those forms of non-biological parenting, linked with the use of various practices and techniques including, i.e.:, adoption, assisted fertilization with heterologous technique and surrogacy. 

It’s a complex subject about which it is important to provide both scientific and legal information, addressing its various aspects. Thanks to the in-depth analysis and reflection of experts, the Citizens’ Assembly aims to submit recommendations and proposals to Italian and/or European institutions.

Who organizes the Assembly?

The Assembly, funded by the European Union, is co-organized by Eumans, a pan-European movement of popular initiative, which has made innovation in democracy the heart of its activities, and by the Associazione Luca Coscioni for the freedoms of scientific research, which in Milan on 21 and 22 October will hold its XX National Congress to celebrate 20 years of activity in the field of civil rights and scientific research and has the patronage of the University of Milan

The University of Milan and the Association of Social Promotion Prossima Democrazia are also taking part in the project as scientific advisers. 

Random selection of participants

The Citizens’ Assembly aims to match the demographic and social profile of the community. For this reason, among the criteria for its composition, often are age, gender, place of residence, ethnicity, social group, etc. The goal is to create an assembly that, on a small scale, can "think, feel, reason and act like the rest of society" (Van Reybrouck). A "small society" or "minipublic", as the scientific literature calls it. The size of the group should allow a wide variety of points of view to be included.

The sortition process

Registration closed on Saturday 30 September, thus designating the participants of the first day. Through the support of the Sortition Foundation, an audience as representative as possible from a social and demographic point of view was sorted, building on the following criteria: gender, age class, area of residence, level of education, professional status, belonging to ethnic minorities, degree of prior knowledge of the topic and propensity towards the theme itself,  on a scale of 1 to 5 between very unfavorable and very favorable.

This way, the number of people who will take part in the second deliberative day of the Citizens’ Assembly is sorted  from the participants in first day activities. Randomly sorted participants are contacted by e-mail and telephone during the first days of October.

Participants' working groups

The 50 randomly drawn, on the day dedicated to the deliberation activity, the 20th of October, will work in thematic groups. Each group will address one of the following topics:

Assisted reproduction technologies

Pregnancy for others (surrogacy)

Institution of adoptions 

Circulation of filiation status

Each working group, on the basis of the results of the panels of the previous day, will discuss and draw recommendations related to its specific topic with the help of a facilitator.

Expert involvement

In order to guarantee a better and more complete experience, we foresee the production of ad hoc documents that will be sent before the Assembly sessions to the participants. Participants will also receive videos in which experts or interested parties will give information on the topics and possibly share their experience on the subject.

Who are the facilitators

Facilitators are people who have already had experience in facilitating and moderating discussions and working groups. Their task is to support the participants along the discussion and deliberation process, taking care that everyone has equal opportunities to express themselves. 

Deliberation of recommendations

At the end of the group work, each group will produce recommendations to be presented in plenary, discussed, possibly reformulated and finally voted. The Assembly will have to make recommendations and policy proposals, which will then be approved by vote.

Voting on the recommendations on a digital platform

The recommendations elaborated by the Assembly will be made available to a wider audience of voters through a digital platform. The individual recommendations, preceded by an introductory and explanatory text, will be presented in a clear and concise way, respectful of the form in which they were expressed by the Assembly and accompanied by illustrative elements of the various positions, so that they can be the subject of individual deliberation before the vote. The results, accompanied by a comment text and consultation statistics, must be available on the same platform as the vote.

Ending of the works. Reading the recommendations

After being amended and voted, the final text of the recommendations will be drawn up and read.

Transparency of work

The works will be streamed, recorded and made available for the future so that they will stay as an archive from which civil society organizations, institutions and all citizens will be able to draw.

The works are open to the public, until the maximum capacity of the room is reached. It will therefore also be possible to follow the work in presence, without actively taking part, subject to prior announcement of one's presence by sending an email to the address with the subject: Pre-announcement of the presence as an observer of the Civic Assembly drawn by lot in matters of social parenting.

Results submission to Institutions

Once the final recommendations have been drawn up, the Assembly will submit them to the Italian and European institutions. The aim is to identify common bases that, within the limits of the competences of the Member States, can effectively guarantee a minimum protection – common to the various EU countries – of the interests involved, especially with a view to protecting the best interests of minors.

The European project "Transnational European Assembly"

This Assembly is part of an overall framework of trans-European assemblies within the framework of the EU-funded project "Transnational European Assembly" and coordinated by European Alternatives, which has seen similar deliberative experiences organized by other countries. You can have a look at the outputs of the Transnational Assembly on end of life decisions (Brussels) and the presentation of the Transneuropean Assemblies Project by Niccolò Milanese (Founding Director of European Alternatives) and Ophélie Masson (Deputy Director of European Alternatives). 

* The random civic assembly on social parenting is funded by the European Union. In any case, the views and opinions expressed belong solely to their authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. The European Union cannot be held responsible for these.