01 December, 2022

Climate Assembly on Spanish island of Mallorca

In February 2022, it was announced that Mallorca would hold a climate assembly, with the support of the regional government. The assembly was an initiative of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory on Climate Change at the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB); Sortition Foundation worked with academics at UIB to recruit the 60 people who are to take part in the assembly. We detail how we did this below.

Stage 1

The first part of the recruitment procedure was conducted by people at the UIB. They sent out 10,000 letters inviting people to register their interest in participating in the climate assembly. At the end of this process 484 people, from across the Balearics, had registered as potential participants.

Stage 2

As part of registering their interest, all potential participants were required to share some basic information about themselves. We asked them to share their sex, their age, their level of education, the region where they lived and their income. 

We then used this information as input into a "sortition algorithm"; this is a process of randomly selecting our 60 assembly members from the pool of 484 potential members in such a way that we have a representative sample (so, for instance, the age profile of climate assembly members is broadly similar to the age profile of the Mallorcan population as a whole). Details of the specific algorithm we use, including information about the fairness of the algorithm, can be found here.

Details of the selection process for this assembly are summarised using the following pie charts, with further information following.

The way to understand these pie charts is as follows:

  • Column 1 (Target): These pie charts give information about the Mallorcan population as a whole, using various publicly available statistics. As an example, in the second row, you can see that 25.9% of the population in Mallorca is aged 60 or over. 
  • Column 2 (Respondents): These pie charts summarise the information that was provided to us by the 484 people who registered their interest as potential participants. There is some skewing in statistics here compared with our target, most notably in the education criterion on the third row. On this row, the blue slice corresponds to people with lower levels of education; the red slice corresponds to people with medium levels, and the yellow slice corresponds to people with higher levels of education. It is clear that a very large proportion of potential participants had higher levels of education, as compared to the population of the Mallorca as a whole.
  • Column 3 ( Confirmed Selected): These pie charts summarise information about the 60 people who were finally confirmed to participate in the assembly. Notice that, thanks to our use of a sortition algorithm, the pie charts in this column are very similar to the target charts in the first column. In particular, the third pie chart in the education row is very similar to our first target chart, indicating that our algorithm was able to correct for the skewing in respondents.

What happened next?

The assembly concluded with 56 recommendation on 18 February 2023. A total of 32 of these proposals received the support of more than 90 percent of the citizens' assembly participants. The island government and Mallorca City Council have committed to implementing all proposals that receive a majority of at least 90 per cent. The remaining proposals, which were also approved by a large majority, will now be examined individually before they are possibly also implemented. If this does not happen, the government and authorities must justify this.

Proposals included limiting access for people, ships and cars to Mallorca, reducing overnight accommodation on the island by 40 per cent by 2030, increasing the size of marine protected areas, the use of rainwater, the reduction of waste in all sectors of the economy and the promotion of packaging take-back systems, as well as a strong commitment to raw material production and the promotion of local products.

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