Climate Assembly in Sweden

09. March 2024

In Sweden, 60 randomly selected residents are to develop proposals for climate protection measures in a citizens' assembly. The mini-public began its work on 9 March 2024.

In a total of nine sessions, the 60 participants will learn about climate change and possible measures to combat it, discuss solutions and make proposals on how Sweden can fulfil its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement. The first and last sessions will take place in person, while the sessions in between will be held online.

Agreement on global warming

The Paris Agreement is a treaty under international law concluded by 195 parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with the aim of protecting the climate as a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

The agreement was adopted on 12 December 2015 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP 21) by all parties to the UNFCCC, at that time 195 states and the European Union, and provides for global warming to be limited to "well below" two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times and for efforts to be made to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Participants randomly selected

The members of the Citizens' Assembly were selected at random, so that the assembly is a reflection of the Swedish population. To this end, invitations were sent out to 7,000 residents of the country based on data from the state address register. All residents aged 15 and over were in the lottery pot.

Register entries on gender, age, place of residence, social class and residence in urban or rural areas were used to recruit participants. 490 randomly selected people expressed an interest in participating in the Citizens' Assembly. Of these, 60 people were selected using an algorithm.

Representative sample

As part of their registration, potential assembly participants completed a questionnaire in which they answered questions about their level of education, possible migration background, their concerns about climate change and the party they would vote for if elections were held today. This information was used to ensure that the final sample was representative of the diversity of the population. Previously, the sample data had been anonymised.

The assembly participants receive an allowance of 8,000 Swedish kronor (around 715 euros) per person for attending the meetings. Participants are also reimbursed for travelling expenses and, if necessary, additional costs such as childcare.

"A high level of commitment"

"I am delighted that so many people were interested in taking part in the Citizens' Assembly. This indicates a high level of commitment, which paves the way for valuable discussions where different experiences and perspectives come together," says Tim Daw, sustainability researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and project manager of the Citizens' Assembly.

The participants will be supported in their deliberations by experts. Their presentations and further information will be published on the Citizens' Assembly website. At the end of May 2024, the mini-public members will vote on their recommendations and present their conclusions. The climate policy spokespersons of the parliamentary groups will be invited to listen to the assembly proposals. Decision-makers at national, regional and municipal level will also receive the recommendations.

Advisory board and mentors

An advisory board made up of people from a broad political spectrum will advise and monitor the preparation and implementation of the Citizens' Assembly. During implementation, the mini-public has two mentors. The quality of the process is also reviewed by an independent evaluation team. The results are documented in an evaluation report.

The mini-public has been requested by both civil society actors and researchers. In 2022 and 2023, the Swedish government's national coordinator for the 2030 Agenda proposed the establishment of a national citizens' assembly on sustainable development.

12th national climate assembly

The Citizens' Assembly is part of the FAIRTRANS research programme, a collaboration between Stockholm University, Gävle University, Uppsala University, Lund University and the Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL. Fairtrans is funded by Mistra and Formas. The mini-public is partly funded by the European Climate Foundation.

The Climate Assembly in Sweden is the 12th national citizens' assembly on climate change. Climate assemblies have previously been held in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Spain and the UK. To date, there have been more than 140 climate assemblies worldwide.

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