We seize the opportunity of this new year to review what has been cooking recently in the kitchen of climate assemblies and what our network will monitor and should be able to learn from.
A busy period for several European nations
In Spain, the 100 members of the Asamblea ciudadana para el clima (website in Spanish) are expected to resume working with their second session to be held online on the 15-16 January. Due to the pandemic, the Austrian Klimarat is also expected to move online – at least for its initial session planned for the 22-23 January. Its website will soon have an English version. Finally, the last weekend of January will see the kick-off of the Luxembourg Klima Biergerrot that was presented to the press a week ago. All three assemblies are due to adopt and publish their proposals by summer.
These processes are of diverse quality but we look forward to sharing more news as they progress and obviously, learning from them and other completed climate assemblies as we did in 2021. Don’t forget that you can catch up on last year’s learning calls on Scotland’s Climate Assembly, the Bürgerrat Klima and the French Convention citoyenne pour le climat and Climate Assembly UK, with events soon to take place on the Finnish Citizens’ jury on climate action and the Danish Borgerting på klimaområdet which has just completed its second phase.
We will also keep in mind the recently announced development in Ireland of a “Deliberative Dialogue, similar to the Citizens’ assembly model” in the words of its commissioner, the Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity. The aim of the Dialogue is to review the country’s forest strategy, hence expected to include climate change considerations. The Land of Saints and Scholars is in some ways the birthplace of climate assemblies and we remain grateful for the ground-breaking work that has been done by some of these assembly saints and scholars…
Assemblies without borders
The U.P.O. (unidentified political object) that are the European citizen panels of the Conference on the Future of Europe took a step forward as the year began with the adoption of the recommendations of the panel dedicated to climate change, environment and health. They will be presented and discussed, along with proposals from the 3 other panels, at the Conference Plenary later in January. The recipe for the creation of the final report of “COFOE” remains quite opaque but we hope to get the chefs’ insights when published some time in March.
The members of the core Global Assembly met online for the last time in December but the process continues to run with Community Assemblies organised across the world. The report of the Global Assembly will be published in March and should give an indication of the next steps for what has been designed as the prototype of a long-term process.
We will of course organise opportunities for the network to reflect upon both of these trans-national assembly processes and their outcomes when the dust settles later in the year. We will also look forward to hearing about efforts developed on and with other continents to further citizen participation in the shaping and implementation of climate policies.
Innovation must go on
Looking in the rear-view mirror, 2021 has had its fair share of innovation when it comes to climate assemblies. We intend to review some of this during the year looking at issues such as their impacts, the degree of integration of their outcomes into policies but also the framing of climate issues when assemblies are commissioned and designed.
Hence, we will certainly monitor more local level innovations where practice continues to develop as illustrated by the Amsterdam Climate assembly that adopted a set of concrete and innovative proposals for Netherlands’ biggest city (Bürgerrat.de published a useful overview here). As the latter is discussed by the City Council in February, we will continue to assess if the follow-up of climate assemblies remains a weak spot. When doing so we will be sure to look at France, where the Mayor of Rouen has committed to establish a long-term citizens’ assembly to be renewed every two-years, entrusted with following up its Citizens’ Convention due to start on 14th January. As the principal town of Normandy is still dealing with the consequences of a large industrial fire in 2019, a representative sample of its inhabitants has been asked to develop proposals for the city to adapt to climate, health and industrial risks and crisis.
With the Danish Borgerting på klimaområdet completing its second phase, 2022 will bring an interesting development with the organisation by the Danish Board of Technology of a climate assembly to advise Denmark’s second largest municipality, Aarhus, linking directly to the national Climate Assembly. In a similar fashion, the organisers of the recently greenlighted Balearic Islands Climate Assembly also intend to connect the work of their participants with those of the 100 members of the national assembly.
Apologies if we have missed crucial information or processes, and join one of our calls to share your knowledge to the benefit of our community or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org