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Navigating Challenges in Citizen Participation for Climate Neutrality

Social media event card with the webinar's titel "Citizen Participation for Climate Neutrality", the project name " Ready4NetZero" and the logos of the involved institutions.

Ready4NetZero project


Navigating Challenges in Citizen Participation for Climate Neutrality


On the way to climate neutrality, the role of citizen involvement and participatory planning is crucial for a variety of reasons such as ensuring transparency in decision-making, governance openness and ownership over the decisions given to the public. Engaging the community in climate action helps building trust, inclusiveness, and accountability in the pursuit of net zero solutions. Yet, many municipalities struggle with realizing citizen involvement and participatory planning, as well as with meeting expectations for integrating public feedback into strategies and measures.

Featuring experienced speakers from three German municipalities, Landkreis Osnabrueck, Landkreis Ahrweiler and Kempten, this webinar offered an in-depth exploration of how participatory elements can be integrated in the development and implementation of long-term climate neutrality strategies. The speakers shared their firsthand experiences, illuminating both the challenges and successes of engaging citizens in the journey towards a net-zero future.

Andreas Witte studied public management, law and economics in Hanover, Osnabrueck and Brunswick. He is the spokesman of the interdisciplinary team for climate and energy in the strategic planning department of the district of Osnabrueck, which he built up since 2008. He has extensive experience in the entire field of municipal climate protection activities, which encompasses not only technical aspects, but also, notably, the involvement of the public.

Wilhelm Schulz is Climate Protection Manager in the Ahrweiler district, responsible for designing and overseeing the implementation of specific measures to reduce public and private GHG emissions and adapt to climate changes. The near-total devastation of the Ahr valley in 2021 impacted his work significantly, as it focuses on supporting efforts in sustainable reconstruction, while still managing emission reduction in the rest of the district. Previously, he worked on European climate, security and tech policy for a Brussels-based NGO, before returning to his hometown after witnessing the 2021 flood in Ahrweiler. Wilhelm Schulz has studies political sciences in Berlin at Freie Universität and the Hertie School of Governance.

Thomas Weiß has been Climate Protection Manager in the town of Kempten since 2012. His prior experience includes a key role in sustainability management at an organic brewery in his hometown of Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, beginning in 2003. Educated in Biology and Chemistry at the University of New Mexico and Environmental Sciences in Virginia USA, he has been instrumental in coordinating climate protection measures for Kempten, both within the municipal administration and the broader community for the last decade.

Linda Mederake hosted the webinar and gave a short introductory presentation. A recording of the webinar and slides of the presentations are available here.


The event was organised in the framework of the Ready4NetZero project, an initiative coordinated by the Association of Municipalities Polish Network "Energie Cités"/PNEC (Poland), in partnership with Ecologic Institute (Germany), EnergiaKlub Climate Policy Institute and Applied Communications (Hungary), The Romanian Network of Energy Cities/ OER (Romania), North-West Croatia Regional Energy and Climate Agency/ REGEA (Croatia).

Citizen participation is key to achieve climate neutrality in towns and cities!


More content from this project

Project ID
climate mitigation, climate neutrality
Central and Eastern Europe, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Landkreis Osnabrueck, Landkreis Ahrweiler, Kempten, Germany