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Prioritizing Equity in Local Climate Action

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While citizen-led activism around the Fridays for Future movement has brought to the international stage climate urgency calls paired with climate justice demands, decision-makers have been facing growing resistance when passing environmental policies without addressing social consequences. The economic impacts of the current Covid-19 crisis have only seen social inequalities grow as they have hit already vulnerable groups especially hard. Consequently, a growing political consensus is forming globally that daring climate action needs to systematically incorporate social equity considerations. This session showcases how cities have been integrating equity frameworks into their climate planning and which innovative tools and approaches they have developed to ensure implementation. In all cases, collaboration with residents and local stakeholders is a key component to ensure different needs are considered and no one is left behind on the path to more climate-friendly urban environments.

In industrial legacy cities across the globe, severe job loss in mining and manufacturing and ongoing disinvestment that primarily impacted former worker’s neighborhoods had led to social inequality as a major transition challenge already decades ago. These cities have a long-standing history of integrating equity and climate efforts when designing ambitious structural change programs – their experiences provide inspiration for cities globally to advance their sustainable and just transitions.

Viewers will hear practical examples from industrial legacy cities in the US and Europe, providing insights on how to incorporate social equity in different stages of policy development though equity-focused planning frameworks, financing tools and collaborative interventions design.


  • Angie Fyfe, Executive Director, ICLEI USA


  • Kevin Meindl, Green Infrastructure Program Manager, Buffalo Sewer Authority, USA
  • Grant Ervin, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Pittsburgh, USA
  • Liisa Lahti, Circular Turku Project Manager, City of Turku, Finland

Intervention speaker:

  • Duncan Booker, COP26 Stakeholder Manager, City of Glasgow, UK