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​French Citizens’ Convention on the Climate (La Convention Citoyenne pour Le Climat)

​Purpose: To submit laws, regulations and referendums on climate action to the President and Parliament. ​

Website: Convention:‍

​Commissioning: The French President announced the Convention. Formally constituted by the Prime Minister, through an official mission letter to the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC).

​Task:To define measures for France to achieve a cut in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990, in a spirit of social justice.

​Commitment to respond: President committed to ensuring the Convention’s proposals are submitted "without filter" to a referendum, a vote in parliament, or direct regulatory application.

​Governance: A Governance Committee comprising 15 representatives of government, think tanks, unions, business and experts in climate science, policy, and democracy. The Committee was joined for each meeting by two citizens randomly drawn from the Convention. Three independent Guarantors tasked with ensuring the Convention’s independence and good working conditions.

​Delivery bodies: Missions Publiques, Res Publica (facilitators). Expert Support Group provided technical advice. Legislative Committee provided legislative transcription support.

​Technology: Zoom. Jenparle platform (to house information, exchange ideas and document results). Decidim platform (external contributions). Provote system (voting).

​Participant recruitment: Quota sampling undertaken from a pool of 300,000 randomly generated phone numbers, using the following selection criteria: age (as of 16 years-old), gender, education level, geographic origin, settlement (urban versus rural) and employment. The selection and participation of two members in very precarious situations was organized by the association Les Petits Frères des Pauvres. A pool of 190 citizens selected with the aim of ensuring at least 150 citizens attended sessions. 104 citizens participated in all sessions. Members received the same compensation as for jury service (around €84 per day).

​Duration: Originally scheduled for six two-and-a-half-day weekend sessions from October 2019 to February 2020. However, a national public transport strike and then Covid-19 delayed sessions and the members requested a seventh session. Two interim sessions were held online; and the final session, with social distancing measures, was held in June 2020. Additional weekend session organised online in February 2021 to review government and parliamentary response.

​Structure: Combined plenary sessions and thematic sessions in smaller groups. During the first weekend, the Convention heard from experts on the science of climate change. Members were then randomly assigned to 5 thematic groups defined by the Governance Committee: housing (Se loger), labor and production (Travailler et produire), transport (Se déplacer), food (Se nourrir), and consumption (Consommer). Each thematic group heard from and questioned experts, deliberated and developed recommendations in small groups. A transversal workstream on finance and governance was created for two sessions but was suspended due to tensions generated amongst other members of the Convention. During the final weekend, the Convention voted on proposals, in plenary.

​Facilitation: Self-organised within workstreams, lightly overseen by facilitators.

​Evidence base: Expert witnesses presented to the plenary and thematic groups. The Governance Committee mostly selected the expert witnesses, at times responding to requests from Convention members. The Expert Support Group was not established until third session).  

​Developing recommendations: Recommendations were developed within small working groups within thematic workstreams, and in plenary for cross-cutting issues (e.g., finance and governance). The Expert Support Group worked closely with members to develop recommendations. The Legislative Committee drafted legal transcripts of the proposals to ensure legal appropriateness, but Convention members had the final say as to the integration of the transcripts in their final report. During two dedicated sessions, proposals could be reviewed by members working on other themes with amendments adopted asynchronously through online votes before the final session. Final proposals required support from two thirds of the members of each working group to be considered by the full assembly.

​Decision-making: Simple majority voting. 149 draft laws, regulations and three referendums were agreed.

​Final report: The 460-page report containing 149 measures was adopted on 21 June 2020. A summary of proposals in English is available. An interim communication was issued on 9 April 2020 on Covid-19 and climate change. At the same time, members shared a third of their proposals with the government ahead of voting as they identified them as key for the national recovery plan.

​Communication: The Convention’s website provides details of organisation and results. Some plenary sessions and group hearings were broadcast on YouTube or podcasts. Observers and media were able to attend sessions. Strong social media presence, including dedicated Twitter and Instagram accounts as well as live commentary on the sessions by a Twitch influencer. Access was granted to several film crews and led to a number of films/reportages broadcasted on TV channels (see further resources). Extensive media coverage of the Convention, especially after some proposals were leaked to the media in April 2020, around its final session and in response to the official reception of the report by the President. Media reporting remained high on the debates about the presidential and parliamentary response.

​Official response: In an official address held at the Elysée Palace a week after the final session, the French Macron committed to supporting 146 of the 149 proposed measures. Members were invited to join government workshops to discuss implementation of their measures. The President meat again with the members in December 2020 to update them publicly on the progress made and ahead of the presentation of proposed law inspired by the CCC proposals.

​Oversight of official response: The Environment Ministry hosts and regularly updates a website tracking the implementation of the proposals. An additional session of the Convention was organised online in February 2021 to review government response; the Convention published its verdict on 2 March 2021. Les 150, L’Association des Citoyens de la Convention Climat, a non-profit organisation established by members, continues to monitor progress of measures.

​Impact: The Climate and Resilience Bill adopted by parliament in 2021 translates a number of the measures into law - many in a modified form following changes made by the government in the draft bill and then further revisions by Parliament. The referendum proposal (to modify article 1 of the Constitution) was blocked by the French parliament. The Convention stimulated broad public debate on climate transition as well as what Macron meant by an “unfiltered” response to the proposals. Knowledge of the Convention is high amongst the broader population. Several mayors have committed to implement relevant measures. Several members of the Convention have become high profile figures on social and traditional media, some even ran in regional and local elections.

​Evaluation: Around 40 accredited researchers were given access to the Convention.

​Budget: The original budget of €4.5 million was covered by the French State through the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (ESEC). Final total costs were €5.4 million.

​Further resources. Video of KNOCA’s learning call on the UK and French Climate Assemblies. A group of researchers published a study that compares the opinions of the randomly drawn citizens with those of the general population, while polling institute Elabe assessed (in FR only) the support for the proposals among the French population. The climate-focused think tank IDDRI published an analysis of these proposals. Public Senat TV channel produced a 30-minutes reportage (in FR only) presenting the work of the CCC, while LCP TV co-produced a 50mn documentary on the “afterlife” of participants once the Convention had ended. Arte broadcasted a documentary film (with EN subs) capturing behind-the-scene moments and testimonies from participants.  

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