A European exploration on how citizens can help us strengthen democracy and fight climate change

Our parliamentary democracies have fallen short in solving one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century: climate change. The dominance of party politics, short-term thinking, the commercial lobby of multinationals and polarization has not only lead to insufficient climate policies but has also weakened our democracies. Meanwhile, various European examples with Climate Citizens’ Assemblies have shown how a group of randomly selected citizens offer more inclusive political representation, receive more public support and come to more effective solutions to complex challenges as climate change.

From April – July 2021, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Bureau Burgerberaad, Extinction Rebellion NL and De Transitiemotor join forces in the international research project “Climate Citizens’ Assemblies: learning with, from and for Europe”. Through LIVECAST sessions and on this public knowledge platform, the project brings different European practices and keyplayers of Climate Citizens’ Assemblies together to exchange knowledge, enhance collective learning and develop guidelines for effective and just implementation.

Want to get in touch?
If you are actively involved in (the organisation of) a Climate Citizens’ Assembly in Europe, and want to get into touch about the project: please send an email to programmaker Charley Fiedeldij Dop (she/her) on charley@dezwijger.nl

Samengesteld door
Charley Fiedeldij Dop
Programmamaker Democratisering, Tegenlicht Meet Up's en WeMakeThe.City
Eva Rovers
Biographer, author and co-founder of Bureau Burgerberaad
Yadira de Jong
Tegenlicht Meet-Up’s en talkshow Nieuw Amsterdam
LIVECAST sessions

Join the conversation by tuning in during these 4 freely accessible, online conversations with keyplayers from Europe about the future of Climate Citizens' Assemblies.

April 28 | A gift to democracy: an introduction to Climate Citizens' Assemblies
May 19 | Designing for legitimacy: on representation, inclusive deliberation & public trust
May 26 | From people to politics: on mandate and political follow-up
June 23 | Round-up: towards a European Climate Assembly?

Fight climate change

Even though we are ‘nowhere close to the level of action needed to fight global warming’ (according to a recent report by the United Nations), climate policy has become a polarising topic, sparking protests all over Europe -from the yellow vests movement in France to resistance towards wind turbines in The Netherlands. Radical change in the way climate policy is being developed is necessary, and Citizens' Assemblies offer a way out.

Various European countries are experimenting with Climate Citizens’ Assemblies: a form of deliberative democracy, in which a group of randomly selected citizens formulate recommendations for climate policy. Experience has shown that they often manage to come to better and more effective solutions. What is a Climate Citizens' Assembly, and how can it help fight climate change?

Group 565 Klimaatneutraal
Group 565 Klimaatneutraal
Make it inclusive

The 100-150 citizens that partake in a Climate Assemblies are chosen through a random selection process, offering an inclusive representation of society. By taking more different perspectives into account, the recommendations of Citizens' Assemblies often gain trust and public support.

What is key when setting up the selection process of a Citizens' Assembly? How can be made sure that everyone is able to participate equally throughout the process, despite age, gender, profession, cultural background and/or level of education? And how can a Citizens’ Assembly ensure its democratic legitimacy and remain connected to society?

Watch the LIVECAST
How to organize a Climate Citizens’ Assembly that is representative, inclusive and trusted by both society and politics?
Strengthen democracy

Climate change is not only a threat to our environment, but also to our democracies: it deepens inequality, fuels civil unrest and leads to political deadlock. The answer? Put citizens at the center of the climate policy making process.

The model of Climate Citizens' Assemblies offers possibilities, but which mandate do these assemblies hold? What political consequences are connected to its outcomes? And how can this model be added sustainably to our democratic structures and institutions, without turning into glorified public hearings?