In light of the EU Green Deal, the EU has emphasised both the need for a sustainable, green recovery and the importance of supporting the most vulnerable people that will be the most affected by climate change consequences and transition policies.


While the decarbonisation of the global economy is necessary to achieve more sustainable and climate resilient cities, it is also disruptive and costly for social groups already at risk. Climate policies and their social impact have become increasingly evident in recent years, further enhancing tensions between social justice and environmental sustainability goals.

Taking into account the climate risks together with its social consequences, there is a pressing need to find new solutions. Acknowledging the key political and environmental moment for cities to initiate their transitions and building on the experience of UIA funded project, UIA is leading a two-year knowledge activity to further explore how cities can facilitate the just transitions so that no one is left behind. 

It is crucial to bring forward practical interventions and results that can inspire and foster locally-based transitions in EU cities. The identified good practices, approaches and tools as well as the lessons learned, will provide support to urban practitioners and managing authorities of mainstream programmes that face the challenges of implementing Just Transitions in their territories.



The approach to the analysis focusing on how cities can facilitate the just transitions so that no one is left behind is available in the inception report, jointly written by UIA experts Eddy Adams, Marcelline Bonneau and Birgit Georgi. While the transition concern all sectors of the economy and society, three main challenges stand out and will be analysed:

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Skills for a green future

Addressing the potential labour market impacts of the climate neutral transition is central to the European Green Deal. UIA cities are testing solutions to mitigate the impact of job losses and to support industry adaptation and the growth of new climate neutral industry sectors. The question of skills sits at the heart of their sustainable urban development strategies: what future skills will be required and how we can equip our citizens with them - both now and in the future?
Authors: Eddy Adams, Constantinos Cartalis, Simone D’Antonio and Ronald Lievens


Make the transitions affordable for all

One of the main questions relating to sustainable transitions is “how to leave no one behind”? Indeed, rebound effects of decarbonising policies can be strong on socio-economic inequalities, preventing access to green technologies and services to vulnerable groups.

Democratic transition for all


Democratic transition for all

Given that the necessary systemic change will affect all stakeholders and population groups in one or another way, their active involvement in decision, policy-making and implementation is essential, in particular, when following the intention that climate neutrality shall be achieved by Just Transitions leaving nobody behind. A broad participation of all stakeholders and the public is required with deep partnerships, new forms of co-creation and more citizen control. The activity will analyse how UIA projects deliver models for co-creation supporting a democratic transition for all, with a specific focus on societal innovation.


Just Urban Transitions: the path to building cities’ knowledge and capacity

The final review accross the three pillars identifies examples of effective intervention across all three spheres: Skills for a green futureMaking the transition affordable for all; and Democratic transition for all. It also highlight the challenges cities face, and pinpoint their future support needs. These key findings will contribute to the development of EUI’s own capacity building  service offer, particularly in relation to cities’ transition to climate neutrality and resilience. Most importantly, they can help provide a roadmap for cities across the EU as they increase their efforts to become climate neutral, whilst bringing citizens with them. 

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Eddy Adams, Marcelline Bonneau, Birgit Georgi, UIA experts
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Urban Innovative Actions

The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a European Union initiative that provided funding to urban areas across Europe to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The initiative had a total ERDF budget of €372 million for 2014-2020.

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