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Putting the Locals in Local Green Deal

‘Leave no one behind’ is the central, transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This message is also central to the Just Transition Mechanism, aimed at supporting the EU Green Deal. With more cities across Europe developing Climate City Contracts or Local Green Deals , how can we put the mantra into practice? And how can we ensure that local stakeholders are actually part of the needed transformations?

The Fair Local Green Deals project looks at these questions exactly. The project works with five pilot cities - Valencia and Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain, Wroclaw and Lodz in Poland, and Ghent in Belgium – on how to ensure that all parties are heard and can take ownership of local sustainability actions. The aim is to set-up co-creative, participatory and deliberative processes that will enable ‘deals’ between local governments and all their stakeholders, including their residents, to implement innovative actions that foster sustainable and just cities.

The project deliberately includes a diverse group of cities to create valuable lessons learnt from and for a wide range of circumstances. Having begun with stocktake of internal and external governance structures, policy priorities, stakeholder ecosystems and the state of the start of participatory processes in each of the participating local governments, several positive emerging trends were identified:

  • The creation of co-ordinating overarching agencies or units, working towards integration of municipal activities.
  • Success stories coming from networks with local stakeholders, such as those in academia, who support municipal strategy development. These networks often arise out of involvement in projects, such as the Horizon programme.
  • Strong multi-level relationships with neighbouring, regional and national authorities being used effectively to gain political, legal and financial support.
  • The creation of innovative participatory approaches such as citizen panels, climate forums and citizen labs that bring key stakeholders together to accelerate climate actions.

In order to prepare the ground for the Fair Local Green Deal processes, each city is now receiving expert support to define a tailor-made approach based on their local setting. This includes guidance and capacity building on inclusive participatory methods and novel climate finance mechanisms to fund climate transition projects. Particular attention will be paid to developing approaches which are sensitive to inequalities and inclusive of vulnerable and marginalised groups.

To follow the project

Author: Julia Kittel

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