At the heart of the SDGs is a commitment to ensure that "no one is left behind, by reaching the furthest behind first" in the shift to a sustainable and resilient path. 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.

The importance of intergenerational equity in pursuing the sustainable development challenges led international leaders to commit to accelerate inclusive child, youth-centered climate policies at all levels, according to the terms of the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action. 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.

It is key that regions and cities adopt a multi-stakeholder approach and closely collaborate with social partners, young professionals, young engineers and activists, in the creation of a greener and more sustainable infrastructure. Young climate advocates can provide cutting-edge ideas to improve and fasten the shift to a green change, which also translates into new job opportunities, broader education opportunities, social investments, and results in inclusive societies and resilient economies.

But the green transition must prevent any negative side-effects “and ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social, and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature” (UN Foundation), as well as regions or territories in need of special support, have to be taken into account in decision-making processes in order to deliver on the so-called prosperity principle. This is why, the following questions need to be answered:

How can we intersect the European Green and Social Deals to reach ecological resilience while prioritizing vulnerable groups?
How can local and regional governments help promote global intergenerational equity goals in their policy plans?
Which intergenerational governance processes facilitate youth-leadership for equitable transitions to carbon-neutral communities the most?
How can we translate funding initiatives at the EU level into local and regional areas?

These are just a few of the core topics to address if we want to effectively create a renovated, democratic and sustainable society by 2030. AER members of the Summer Academy, guest speakers and representatives from global networks will come together to create an open space for discussion with participants and thus, reflect together upon the intergenerational drivers of sustainability and inequality.