The project in English

Elevborgarråd för klimatet (Student Council for the Climate) is a democracy project in Karlstad that allows children and young people to speak up and develop clear proposals about how the municipality can reduce emissions. It is an initiative that gives voice to students who lack the right to vote but who are still affected by the decisions made today. The project not only aims to engage young people in climate and environmental issues, but also increase their confidence and feelings of being able to act. Karlstad municipality was the first municipality to have an Elevborgarråd. Children and young people in municipal pre-schools and schools submitted 967 proposals based on the questions:

1. How can the municipality reduce its emissions without harming any groups?

2. How can Karlstad become an environmentally smart municipality?

By including students in environmental and climate issues and listening to their ideas, this project creates opportunities for a fair climate transition. The Elevborgarråd is inspired by the concept of citizens’ jury, which is used in many countries across the world, where more people can have a say and more experiences can be taken into account when decisions are made. The Elevborgarråd is an unique initiative in Sweden and is an example of how a municipality can use the knowledge of civil society and the initiative and innovative ideas of young people to the benefit of its citizens.

About 40 student representatives met at a large student democracy workshop in April 2023, where they developed the proposals submitted so far and prioritised the 67 student proposals to pass on to the municipality’s governing politicians. The students have met with politicians and the municipal board to tell them about their proposals. Student proposals have been explored in the municipality’s political councils and companies in exactly the same way as proposals from other groups. In April 2024, student representatives met for a reunion meeting where they met the municipality’s politicians to hear what has been decided so far regarding their 67 proposals. The result is that 26 proposals have been agreed, 19 will be investigated further, 11 are already being implemented and 7 have been rejected. Among the student proposals to be implemented are a car-free week, wider cycle paths, installation of solar panels on municipal roofs, promoting climate-smart leisure activities, introducing a food waste campaign and introducing cultivation in pre-schools and schools. In addition, the Elevborgarråd concept will be developed and continued in future years as a permanent part of Karlstad’s citizen engagement. The concept is also being spread to other municipalities in Sweden. Pupils who have participated describe that they have gained more knowledge about democracy, climate, and the environment and that the project has increased their confidence and trust in the democratic system.


The practice started in June 2022 with a theme day on climate & environment at an internal manager’s meeting where all the principals in the primary schools participated. The topic was climate change in a local context and looked the city of Karlstad’s vulnerability to flooding in the event of a changed climate, as well climate psychology and how to talk to children about climate. During the autumn of 2022, the principals received two additional climate & environmental training courses, and the staff at the primary schools received a digital climate & environmental training.

Following this age-appropriate inspiration sheets on environment and climate issues were developed for students. In the inspiration sheet, the students were provided with facts & links to pages to learn more.

Between January & March 2023, the students worked in the classes to come up with concrete proposals on how Karlstad Municipality can become more environmentally and climate-smart. To help them, they had inspirational leaflets, an inspirational film, fact sheets and opportunity to contact Karlstad municipality’s environmental experts who provided answers to questions about environmental issues. The result was that 967 suggestions were submitted from the students!

In April 2023, around 40 student representatives from the municipal middle and upper secondary schools met for a large student democracy workshop. With the support of environmental experts from across Karlstad municipality’s various departments, the students refined & prioritised which proposals they should submit to the municipality’s governing politicians. They ended up deciding to submit 67 proposals.

After the student democracy workshop, students were able to meet the mayor, the municipal board & the children’s and youth board to talk about their proposals. The proposals from students were given the same weight as other proposals & were investigated in the municipality’s various committees & companies.

In April 2024, around 40 student representatives were invited to a follow up meeting. At this meeting the student representatives met with the governing politicians for a briefing on which proposals that were confirmed for implementation. To date out of 67 student proposals, 26 have been agreed, 11 have already been implemented, 19 will be investigated further & 7 were rejected.