The implementation of the SDGs requires merging the social with the economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability to bring about systemic change. In the face of the climate emergency, the transition towards carbon neutrality will have an uneven impact across different population groups and generations. A “just transition” can, therefore, only be achieved in full partnership with all members of society (regional and local authorities, civil society and young people) so that no-one and no territory is left behind.
Despite being among the groups worst affected by the pandemic, young people remain the most active and vocal agents of global change. They have demonstrated resilience, resourcefulness and leadership throughout the pandemic, and committed themselves to tackling injustice and calling for urgent climate action. The recovery plans and the shift to a green agenda present an opportunity for young people to advance their rights and policy aims, such as broader employment and education opportunities, in order to build more sustainable and equitable regions and cities.
The importance of intergenerational equity for achieving sustainable change was recognised for the first time at the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25) in Madrid, where world leaders committed to accelerate inclusive child, youth-centered climate policies at all levels. Furthermore, the 2021 ECOSOC Youth Forum called on the responsibility of governments to invest in youth priorities in a post-COVID-19 world, and reaffirmed that the young people play a fundamental role in finding innovative solutions to economic, social and climate change challenges.
Cities and regions have a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with social partners, young engineers and activists to advance a greener and more sustainable infrastructure, which can have cross-cutting effects in all the SDGs. Regional and local decision-makers are best placed to engage young climate advocates in co-creating ideas that can accelerate investments for sustainable change, job creation and climate action, driving progress towards building inclusive societies and resilient economies.
- What are the intersections between the European Green and Social Deals when it comes to achieving environmental resilience, while at the same time prioritizing vulnerable groups?
- How can local and regional governments anchor global intergenerational equity goals in their climate action plans, policies and investments?
- What good practices of intergenerational governance processes facilitate youth leadership for equitable transitions to carbon-neutral communities?
- What funding initiatives at the EU (e.g. cohesion and social funds) and global levels are best suited to supporting intergenerational partnerships for climate action?
These are just some of the core issues to be addressed if we want to effectively achieve a democratic and sustainable transformation by 2030. AER members of the Summer Academy, guest speakers, representatives from global networks, youth leaders, and participants will come together in an open space for discussion to enhance understanding of the intergenerational drivers of sustainability and inequality.
All the participants at the on-site event must comply with the COVID-19 rules in France and show a valid COVID-19 certificate at the venue doors.