First climate assembly in Estonia

26. November 2021 Uhr
Kliimakogu

Estonia is not missing out on the global citizens' assembly wave. From 20 November to 5 December 2021, the country held its first randomly selected citizens' assembly on climate change. The Climate Assembly was aimed at young people between the ages of 16 and 29 in Ida-Viru County. Participants were randomly selected from the population register.

By the end of October, about 3,500 young people from Ida-Viru County had received an invitation to participate in the Climate Assembly. Those who wanted to participate had to apply via an online form. An algorithm was then used to select around 40 young people from the applicants who were a reflection of the population in terms of male/female ratio, place of residence, employment and mother tongue.

Why only young people were able to participate

Only young people were invited to this Climate Assembly because studies show that their values and needs regarding decisions about the future and the environment differ from those of older people.

The Climate Assembly took place because Ida-Viru County is in the process of transitioning from the oil shale industry to a greener and more diversified economy. A Fair Transition Fund is being set up to transform the county's emissions-intensive industry and support the retraining of people, small businesses, local authorities and communities. The transformation is being led by the Ministry of Finance and the Ida Viru Communities Association. The transformation plan, which is the result of several years of discussions, will be completed no later than early 2022. Young people from the district were expected to contribute to the plan through the Climate Assembly.

Citizens' Assembly evaluates plans on climate action

The Youth Climate Assembly evaluated the district's plans on climate action and will suggest improvements to make the transition to a climate-neutral future fair from the perspective of young people. In doing so, participants listened to representatives from government, industry and environmental associations. The suggestions will be presented to the state government and municipalities in the county so that they can be taken into account in the national plans and the county's strategy in the best possible way.

The Climate Assembly took place over three days: on 20 and 21 November to gather knowledge and listen to stakeholders, and on 5 December to formulate recommendations.

Recommendations handed over to government

On 10 December 2021, the proposals formulated by the Climate Assembly for making the country more climate-friendly were handed over to the Minister of State Administration Jaak Aab. According to the young participants, it is important to expand education in the region, to match labour market needs and workforce skills, to ensure social security for people affected by change and to create new opportunities, as well as to promote entrepreneurship. The proposals are intended to complement the country's transformation plan.

The organisers from Estonian Wildlife Fund and Rohetiiger wanted to offer young people with the Citizens' Council a unique opportunity to influence one of the biggest social changes in Estonia in recent decades.

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