Back to news overview

The ECF launches KNOCA, a unique network dedicated to democratic climate action


As citizens’ assemblies on the climate crisis gain traction in Europe, governments are increasingly recognising the insights they can bring in shaping the measures needed to tackle climate action. In face of the growing importance of citizens’ involvement and the increasing need to build societal buy-in and ownership of action, the European Climate Foundation launches the Knowledge Network on Climate Assemblies (KNOCA). This new initiative will bring together learnings and expertise from different citizens’ assemblies, share and structure best practice knowledge, and foster further understanding and debate of how deliberative processes are and can be applied to address the climate crisis.

Join us on June 22 for the launch of KNOCA

The European Climate Foundation, together with key European organisations, will formally launch KNOCA on June 22, 2021, during an online event from 19.00 to 20:30 CEST. The event, which will include high profile speakers at the forefront of the fight against both the crisis of democracy and the climate crisis, will introduce the initiative and address the role of climate assemblies.

mikael kristenson 3avlwp 7bg8 unsplash

Citizen engagement – crucial for a just and fair transition

Achieving the targets laid out in the Paris Agreement, transforming high carbon economies and individual behaviours, and facing the consequences of Covid-19 will require unprecedented range and depth of action. The use of citizens’ assemblies to inform decisions around these challenges can make a big difference. Not only because they provide informed recommendations for robust and inclusive policies from the bottom-up, but because as an effective tool of democratic climate action they may help to build understanding and ownership of the necessary choices and thus pave the way for a smoother transition.

Recent developments have shown that appetite to involve citizens in the climate transition is growing, with high-profile assemblies in Ireland, France, Scotland, and the UK leading the way. These innovative approaches are increasingly being used in a variety of European countries at different scales of governance, but the knowledge they collect – from policymakers and academics to civil society and everyday people – is diffuse.

KNOCA aims to provide a visible, accessible, credible home to help structure and share learning and best practices on citizens’ assemblies and related participatory processes related to climate action. The aim is to create a ‘go to’ place for policy-makers, researchers, practitioners, climate activists and all stakeholders with an interest in the topic. As a focused meeting point for the climate and democracy communities, KNOCA should make it easier for those commissioning assemblies to find practical, relevant information and expertise, and provide a venue to advance thinking on how best to engage citizens in climate policy-making.

“Engagement of everyday people in the climate transition is critical. KNOCA aims to meet the increasing demand from policy makers and activists for evidence of the conditions under which citizens’ assemblies are an effective form of democratic climate action"
Professor Graham Smith, Professor of Politics and Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster
"The fair and successful transition to climate neutrality will only be possible if citizens reclaim their power and are engaged in shaping how it will happen. The European Climate Foundation decided to set up KNOCA to gather, structure and spread learning on how deliberative democratic processes like climate assemblies can be used as a tool to help achieve this.

Past experiences, like the French Convention, offered a strong denial to the prejudice that citizens no longer have an interest in public affairs. As the European Union and its Member states face the challenge of turning citizens into actors and not just voters or recipients of climate policies, this is no small matter.”
Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation

Find out more about KNOCA

KNOCA has been initiated and is funded by the European Climate Foundation, with support from the Swedish Postcode Foundation and Porticus Foundation. Its founding members include: the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster, the Danish Board of Technology, Climate Outreach, the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations at Cardiff University, Dublin City University, the Federation for Innovation in Democracy Europe, Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies of Potsdam.

Go to top