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Workshop on Climate Assemblies Commissioned by Civil Society: a New Trajectory?

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What is behind the emerging trend of climate assemblies commissioned by civil society organisations?

Do they face different challenges than the more familiar government-commissioned assemblies?

Since the German Bügerrat Klima organised in 2021 to influence the federal election campaign, government coalition negotiations and the formation of the parliament, we have seen a number of assemblies on climate and ecological issues commissioned by civil society organisations. Examples include the Citizens’ Assembly on Energy Costs in Poland, the People’s Assembly on Nature in the UK, the Climate Assembly in Skopje and the Global Assembly. A civil society coalition has announced its intention of commissioning an assembly to consider Norway’s growing oil and gas wealth in times of climate crisis, and the responsibilities, risks and opportunities that Norway’s common resources brings with them. The aims of these assemblies vary from demonstration projects to put pressure on governments to organise assemblies or take action on the climate and ecological crisis, to the desire to create an alternative democratic climate architecture independent of the state.

In this workshop we reflected on the challenges and opportunities of commissioning assemblies within civil society, with a particular focus on competing agendas and how civil society commissioners deal with issues of integrity in terms of mandate, governance and impact pathways.

We were joined by civil society practitioners and activists with direct experience, including Percy Vogel, one of the architects of the German Assembly, Marie Harbo Dahle from SoCentral, who leads the Norwegian Assembly, Agim Selami, the Executive Director of the ZIP Institute in North Macedonia, and Kathryn Machin, the Head of Community Engagement Campaigns at WWF-UK.


Kathryn Machin
Head of Community Engagement Campaigns
Marie Harbo​ Dahle
SoCentral, Norway
Percy Vogel
BürgerBegehren ​Klimaschutz
Agim Selami
Executive Director
Zip Institute, Skopye
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