The Citizen Assembly for Climate to make recommendations regarding the climate emergency
The assembly will be made up of a hundred citizens reflecting the country’s diversity and supported by experts in the field. It will start operating in autumn.
Involving citizens in addressing the effects of climate change is one of the needs included in the legislation being developed in that regard. The recently passed Spanish Climate Change and Energy Transition Act takes this need into account and, therefore, fosters the setting up of the Citizen Assembly for Climate, which will be rolled out in autumn.
The assembly, which already exists in other European countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden, will consist of citizens reflecting the country’s diversity and who will be helped by experts in the field. It will make non-binding recommendations regarding the climate emergency.
During the presentation, the Director of the Spanish Climate Change Office, Valvanera Ulargui, explained that the aim is “to strengthen the existing participatory processes in order to let citizens be directly heard on how to change production and consumption habits or day-to-day behaviour and to lobby public authorities”.
The Assembly also seeks to be an instrument to reinforce the citizen participation and dialogue avenues to establish a social debate on the search for solutions to the climate crisis.
“Highest level” of participation
“We are seeking the highest possible level of engaged discussion”, stressed the OECC Director. She pointed out that sociological studies had paved the way for setting up the Assembly. Those studies reveal citizens’ “distress and concern” about climate change and the need to act quickly: “It is the right time to channel those feelings and work together”, she asserted.
As the OECC director explained, the members of the Assembly will be selected “independently and at random”, using a methodology that ensures the quality and representativeness of the sample based on criteria such as age, gender, educational level, geographical origin and attitude towards climate change.
Five work sessions
The Assembly is expected to meet in five sessions from next autumn. The sessions will preferably be held at weekends and, initially, virtually, and will do so under the umbrella of the governance bodies on a Coordination Panel, a Group of Independent Experts and Ambassadors who will act as spokespeople.
There will also be an independent technical team to select the citizens and another specialised in deliberative processes to energize the Assembly sessions, whose conclusions, along with those of the group of experts, will be published on a website to be launched after the publications of the final Ministerial Order.
The MITECO (Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge) has activated the email@example.com address, with the subject ‘Legislation. Citizen Assembly for Climate’ so any citizen who so wishes can submit their opinion in this open public information and hearing process, which will end on 16 June 2021.