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Think2030 conference – Session focus on Just transition

Just transition: aligning climate and environmental action with social equity and well-being

Pursuing a green and just transition is highlighted as one of the core priorities in the Belgian Presidency’s work programme during its mandate as chief negotiator for the Council of the European Union. While substantial progress has been made in some areas of the Green Deal since its launch, many considerations are needed to make the ecological transition just. This, in turn, is pivotal for securing broad public support for the action needed. In short: society needs a paradigm shift to accelerate a just transition to reduce inequalities while ensuring well-being and social justice within planetary boundaries. On such premises, the Belgian Presidency has stressed the significance of a comprehensive strategy to set up a European Common Policy Framework that brings together climate neutrality, sustainability, and a fully circular economy while leaving no one behind.

Similarly, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has presented a seminal opinion on a Just Transition Policy Framework, illustrating six key elements and the following short and long-term actions to undertake. This opinion emphasises the importance of investment and policy solutions as well as changes to governance processes to design the Framework and achieve its goals. This is crucial for achieving a sustainable society, as it hinges on the idea that any transition must enhance the overall well-being of the population. The fundamental needs approach underscores the importance of envisioning a future in EU and beyond where everyone has basic necessities like healthy diets, access to education and healthcare, and opportunities for cultural enrichment and mobility.

During this session that brings together key actors in the field, we will explicitly address challenges and opportunities arising from the just transition and practical actions to be taken, analyse how to foster prosperity within planetary boundaries, as well as reflect on the social acceptability of measures undertaken to tackle climate and environmental concerns.

Moderated by Chiara Antonelli, Head of Programme, Climate and Circular Economy, Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)

Introduction: Elizabeth Dirth – Managing Director, ZOE Institute

Speakers:

• Maria Nikolopoulou – Vice-President NAT section, European Economic & Social Committee

• Ella Huys – Climate Policy Expert at Federal Climate Change Department, Belgian Presidency

• Mikael Leyi – Secretary General, SOLIDAR

• Sébastien Treyer – Executive Director IDDRI, member of Think Sustainable Europe network in France

• Michal Len – EU representative, Clean Air Fund

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