To comply with new EU regulations, Polish local authorities are gradually assuming responsibility for local activities related to climate change. Guidelines on the implementation of local low-emission economy plans put emphasis on the necessity to engage citizens in this process. Unfortunately, according to the results of the ‘Role of Local Community in the Development of Low-Emission Economy’ report, not all local authorities respect this requirement.
We will address this problem by engaging inhabitants of mid-sized cities (from 10 to 100 000 residents) from various parts of Poland in co-deciding on the climate policy of their towns. Our experience shows that smaller locations do not have the same resources as larger ones, which is why we have decided to support them. We will join forces of participative practitioners and climate experts to come up with civil councils tailored to needs and abilities of smaller districts. We will run a pilot in four communes – inviting local authorities and residents to jointly design local climate policies. Based on that we will prepare a programme supporting the organisation of such councils in the entire Poland, including expert consultations, educational materials on participation and climate change, as well as tools supporting inhabitant inclusion. We will recruit 20 people who will organise such councils across Poland, with our support and will compile a report summarising councils featuring inhabitant-generated recommendations for local climate documents.
The first of our partners, Norsensus Mediaforum of Norway, has rich expertise in media and informational education, so it will help us launch a promotional campaign. The second partner, the Instytut na Rzecz Ekorozwoju Foundation, will play the role of an expert supervising the factual aspect of councils thanks to its experienced staff.