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Organisers of climate assemblies have often worked within stable political systems in which conflicts remain mostly civil and very rarely pose a serious challenge to participants or organisers. But what happens when you organise assemblies in areas characterised by social and political polarization, where politicians are accustomed to fierce confrontations or worse; where ​democracy is backsliding or ​the rule is authoritarian or some of the key stakeholders are willing to resort to fake news, threats, or outright attacks to get their way? 

KNOCA advises on the most important questions to ask when organising climate assemblies, but we have yet to face the implications of serious conflict on the practice of organising assemblies.  

We believe that deliberative processes are the types of processes that can advance democracy. We need them. But what are the minimum requirements that ensure their independence and legitimacy in outright hostile or challenging environments? How do we introduce and embed deliberative processes in countries where there is a low level of trust not only towards democratic institutions but also between citizens or where there is historically no tradition of active citizenship? How do we react when populist voices try to discredit deliberative processes? 

In this workshop, organised in collaboration with DemNet, we will hear various perspectives on this topic from experts and stakeholders with a varied background and experience with assemblies, that have faced different challenges. These cases will bring us to Hungary, Poland, and Bosnia. We will be hearing stories and working together to draw out lessons on what are the ethics and standards of legitimate practice that must and can be defended.