A comprehensive action plan
to tackle climate change challenges

he Icelandic pilot explores public engagement in policy-making on land use and ecological restoration in the Icelandic highlands, focusing on territories that during the last 25 years have been put under direct governmental administration as public lands (Icel. Þjóðlendur). The public lands are traditionally “commons” in Iceland and have, at least since the 19th century, been used as summer grazing areas for sheep. With time however the use of the highlands has become more diverse and complex. Large scale sheep farming is not seen as sustainable anymore and concerns about how summer grazing in the highlands may endanger vegetation are playing a larger role in land management. But the sheep are not the only danger to Iceland’s arctic vegetation and unspoiled highland territories. Hydropower plants have e.g. been built in some of the great glacial rivers, transforming the natural environment.

Tourism has also grown exponentially. Thousands of tourists visit the highlands annually for hiking, horseriding and other activities. Revegetation of the highlands has for decades been widely considered a priority issue and with global warming it has also been seen as one of the areas in which Iceland could contribute substantially to the global effort to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere.
The pilot has two parts. The first part, a pre-pilot, was conducted last summer with participation from three rural municipalities in Iceland. An online game was used to give participants an opportunity to propose different kinds of land use in the highlands. This summer and fall the pre-pilot will be followed up on through a mixture of an online platform and face-to-fcae meetings to consider further policy proposals in citizen-government collaboration in creating policy proposals for the future of the highlands. Following the advice of a TCCD which was created after the pre-pilot, the focus will be on trust-building measures rather than direct policy proposals from citizens.

Pilot Details

  • Country: Iceland
  • Administrative level: National
  • Local Partner: Unviserty of Iceland
  • Topic: Climate, Transport, Agriculture, Environment
  • Main Objectives: Build a local 2030 agenda to promote sustainability for the territory
  • Pilot website: cm-odemira.pt

Cover copyright: Municipality of Odemira

Unpacking the Szeged’s Citizen Assembly