Home Institution

Barnard College of Columbia University

Publication Date

Spring 2023

Program Name

Portugal: Sustainability and Environmental Justice


As the social and ecological effects of climate change intensify, governments across the globe must evaluate how best to deal with the climate crisis. Likewise, increasing citizen participation in decision-making processes has been a key strategy for dealing with such issues. Theories on the benefits of citizen participation inform real practices such as democratic mini-publics and citizens assemblies. In Lisbon, Portugal, the Câmara Municipal de Lisboa implemented the first edition of the Conselho de Cidadãos de Lisboa (CCL) in May 2022. The CCL is a citizens assembly designed to directly involve residents in city policy-making, with the first edition focusing on the climate crisis. This paper seeks to evaluate the CCL in two ways: how has the CCL impacted Lisbon climate policy, and how has it affected citizen’s internal and external political efficacy? Research conducted to answer these questions consist of interviews with government officials, personal surveys of Lisbon residents, and a survey of social media. The data collected shows that although small steps have been taken to implement CCL proposals, the council had no significant impact on Lisbon climate policy. The data also reveals that while citizens overarchingly support the CCL, it had little to no impact on their internal or external political efficacy due to a lack of concrete evidence of CCL influence.


Civic and Community Engagement | Climate | Energy Policy | Environmental Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social Influence and Political Communication


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