The REAL DEAL research project

Reshaping European Advances towards green Leadership Through Deliberative Approaches and Learning

The mission of this project

The environmental crisis can only be solved if we work together. REAL DEAL is a community of Europeans who are taking action to build a new model of environmental citizenship for Europe; a model where Europeans are placed at the heart of the decision-making process, making a REAL DEAL for both people and the planet.

What is the project about?

REAL_DEAL will reshape the active participation of citizens and stakeholders around the European Green Deal.

This trans-disciplinary project brings together researchers of deliberative democracy from a wide range of disciplines, including political science, law, sociology, and psychology. The researchers are collaborating with the EU´s largest civil society networks and NGOs to reach millions of citizens and thousands of policymakers. The project was co-developed and has participation of both CSOs and researchers in largely all of its activities. It is also co-coordinated between a research organisation (IASS) and a CSO network (EEB).

In a co-creation process, REAL DEAL is currently developing, and will test and validate innovative tools and formats to propel deliberative democracy to the next level. It will test its innovations in deliberative processes for a green and just transition in around 13 countries. It will also examine pan-European formats ranging from digital deliberation processes to in-person formats such as an Assembly for a Gender-Just Green Deal and a pan-European Youth Climate Assembly.

REAL DEAL will co-create a comprehensive protocol for meaningful citizens´ participation and deliberation to work towards the objectives of the European Green Deal. It will develop recommendations on how to design such processes and their application in various contexts by European institutions, Member States, and civil society alike. The project’s participants will develop a new hybrid model of political inclusion that will be:

  • analytic (including post-normal, transdisciplinary science);
  • strategic (including dedicated stakeholders for environmental and sustainable transformations);
  • deliberative (including citizens from all countries in all their diversity and uniqueness); and
  • socially compatible with legal, ethical and international standards (including civil rights, gender equality, national political culture, impacts for non-European nations and generations to come).

The topics addressed by this project throughout its duration will reflect the political agenda and policy priorities of the EU as well as the core concerns of citizens. The following policy and transformation areas are likely to be covered:

  • Just transitions and root causes of inequality across the EU
  • Sustainable food systems and agriculture
  • Energy transitions and climate action
  • Sustainable mobility
  • Sustainable consumption and production (including the circular economy, chemicals, waste)

The main objectives of the project are to:

  • Provide an analysis and selection of meaningful, effective, representative, inclusive, gender-sensitive, youth sensitive and impactful citizens’ participation and deliberation criteria, processes, concepts and formats in the EGD and its wider sustainable development objectives.

  • Build collaboration from a large spectrum of CSOs, researchers and policymakers and other stakeholders across Europe on deliberation of different areas of EGD and its wider sustainable development objectives.

  • Test and validate innovations in deliberative tools, formats and processes across the EU and its neighbourhood related to topics relevant for the EGD involving representative samples of citizens from all cross-sections of society with a specific focus on marginalised and vulnerable groups, gender equality and youth.

  • Evaluate the success of tested innovations in deliberative tools, formats and processes and elaborate recommendations of meaningful, effective, representative, inclusive, gender-sensitive, youth sensitive and impactful citizen’s and CSOs participation and deliberation.

  • Inform, engage, and build capacity of citizens and other stakeholders on the EGD and its wider sustainable development objectives as well as the deliberative processes implemented in this project.

How we are going to achieve a REAL DEAL

  • Deliberative democracy

We want to make deliberative democracy a common feature in policy-making by partnering with experienced scientists and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines, from environmental rights to ecofeminism, and with Europe’s largest civil society organisations.

  • Thinking globally and acting locally

We are taking action to make this new model of environmental citizenship a reality. By becoming better informed about deliberative democracy and influencing our decision-makers at all levels, local and European, we can make a real difference.

  • Building alliances

We are not doing it alone. We are engaging with civil society organisations, public institutions and stakeholders from all across Europe.

  • Preparing for the future

Our community will serve as the basis to create a Citizens’ Deliberation Academy for mutual learning and training for future generations.


Have a look at the updates from the project!

Contact us

If you have any question about the project, please contact Lucía at


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N. 101037071.