The ‘Palermo Climate Declaration’ is the culmination of a participatory process involving more than 20 local citizens assemblies and events held across Europe in 2021. The events - which have put climate change at the heart of discussions about the future of Europe - were organised by the coalition Citizens Take Over Europe, including Democracy International as a member.
Citizen representatives from the local citizen events, which took place in over 14 countries, joined in Palermo to follow a democratic approach in drafting a pan-European series of key recommendations for avoiding climate catastrophe.
Participants included youth representatives from the age of 17 who were key in shaping the final Palermo Climate Declaration, presented to a panel including the former Member of European Parliament Marco Cappato.
Cappato, who is currently a campaigner for the European citizens' initiative on carbon pricing, said: “We have shown that when citizens come together to address practical problems, including huge practical problems on a global scale like the climate crisis, they can agree on radical changes”.
Erwin Mayer, Board Member of Democracy International, was invited to Palermo as a democracy expert. He said: "Combating climate change needs more, not less, democracy as state representatives fail to take the necessary decisions to limit global warming to 1.5°C. People are ready to take responsibility for the planet in a combination of deliberative democracy by citizens' assemblies and direct democracy by binding referenda on climate change policies."
The Palermo Climate Declaration was created in the context of the Conference on the Future of Europe. Ophélie Masson, Brussels-based representative of European Alternatives and one of the organisers of the Palermo Citizens' Assemblies, said: “The Palermo Climate Declaration shows a different approach to environmental governance. Participatory and direct democracy is crucial in ensuring the fight against climate change is truly a global one. Climate related policy proposals and actions must be led by citizens to define what are our global urgent steps towards avoiding climate catastrophe are. We know we can help strengthen the trust between institutions and citizens, but only if democracy is at the heart of the process”.
Read the full Palermo Transnational Declaration Against Climate Catastophe here.
The Conference on the Future of Europe is a proposal of the European Commission and the European Parliament, announced at the end of 2019, with the aim of looking at the medium to long term future of the EU and what reforms should be made to its policies and institutions. More information.
Citizens Takeover Europe is a group of civil society organizations, citizens and residents from across Europe, joined in a common effort to promote a forward-looking and citizens-centered European democracy. More information.
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Democracy International fights to strengthen direct democracy and citizen participation worldwide. Our work centres around fostering direct democracy, citizen participation, and transparent decision-making, as well as supporting activists around the world.