Invitations have been sent to 2,800 randomly selected residents of Berlin over the past week. “I invite all those who have been contacted to submit an application to participate in the Citizens’ Assembly on Climate. The more people who wish to participate, the more representative of our city this assembly will be," said Berlin’s Senator for the Environment, Mobility, Consumer and Climate Protection, Bettina Jarasch, at a presentation of the project on 3 February. The assembly will bring together 100 residents of Berlin aged 16 and older and its composition will reflect Berlin’s population mix as closely as possible. The 100 participants will be selected from the pool of respondents using an algorithm to apply a range of criteria, including age, gender, educational qualifications, place of residence, and migration experience.
The Citizens’ Assembly on Climate was planned as part of the new state government’s coalition agreement and is an important element of the Senate's 100-day programme. The nexus Institute, which designs and moderates participative processes, has been tasked with supervising the process. Scientific advice will be provided to the assembly by the IASS, and some public relations activities will be managed by the initiative "Klima-Mitbestimmung JETZT". The assembly enacts a resolution adopted by Berlin’s House of Representatives last year following a campaign by the citizens’ initiative "Klimaneustart Berlin".
The first meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly on Climate is scheduled to take place in late April and will be broadcast online. The assembly, which will meet nine times to discuss topics such as mobility, buildings, and energy, is expected to present its findings in late June. Policymakers will then have an opportunity to respond to its recommendations. In order to ensure that the assembly is broadly representative of Berlin’s population, the initiative is aiming to reach people who are otherwise rarely involved in participation processes.
Christine von Blanckenburg, who leads the Civil Society Unit at the nexus Institute, emphasizes that the composition of the assembly is a key concern: "In previous participation processes, we found that people with lower levels of education attainment, lower household incomes or immigrant backgrounds were less likely to respond to a postal invitation. In light of this, a more personal approach may be needed to recruit participants from these groups."
IASS Scientific Director Ortwin Renn, who will lead the scientific advisory effort, said: "The Citizens’ Assembly on Climate is about involving citizens who will be affected by policy decisions in shaping their future. We need to do this because it will take more than technical solutions to tackle climate change – we also need to change our lifestyles and patterns of behaviour. It is commonplace for policymakers to draw on scientific expertise to support their decision-making. The Citizens’ Assembly on Climate will give policymakers the opportunity to better understand the views and wishes of the people of Berlin."
This article is based on a press release of the Senate Department for the Environment, Mobility, Consumer and Climate Protection.