On 9-10 November 2020, Eurocities held its Social Affairs Forum online on the theme: ‘Cities for just transitions: Supporting local labour markets for an inclusive recovery and fair transition’.
The Forum brought together 100 representatives from cities across Europe to discuss the social dimension of the EU Green Deal, in particular how the transition to a low-carbon, green and digital economy, will affect our cities and citizens by changing the labour markets in our cities in times of crisis recovery.
Our Forum reflected on how to better connect social and environmental policies in our cities to ensure just transitions. We learned from good practices from cities on how to address current social challenges exacerbated by the pandemic crisis, such as decent working conditions for digital platform workers, upskilling, reskilling and skills matching at local level, addressing the digital divide, ensuring guaranteed minimum income and tackling energy poverty. Finally, we discussed how to ensure that support for targeted investments for just transition plans in our cities are well reflected in the national recovery plans and funded under the Next Generation EU.
‘We need to put people first in the green energy transition’, this was the overarching message from our Forum meeting. How to do it? Here are some key pointers from our meeting:
- Mainstream a social perspective into green and digital agendas. Green and digital transitions need to go hand in hand with social investment. We need to balance green and digital targets by adding social targets to it.
- Nobody should be left behind, but the transition should be fair and inclusive of all. We need to make it possible for everyone to benefit from the green and digital transition, including the most vulnerable people. Just transitions must come with affordable housing for all, a strong Youth Guarantee to help youth in the transition, decent working conditions for all workers and access to good education for all children and young people.
- Cities have a key role in bringing social and green agendas together and turning the EU Green Deal into local Green Deals. The role of cities is well-recognised at EU level and cities are acknowledged as allies by MEPs.
- Cities have had to readjust their priorities in light of the pandemic to help people, save jobs and meet urgent social needs at local level. Many cities admit shifting efforts to the recovery but, at the same time, they continue the work towards the green transition, which is difficult to do while facing shrinking municipal budgets.
- The role of EU funding: The Recovery and Resilience Facility is important for supporting social investments for just transitions in cities but it depends on how the member states will spend the EU funding made available. While some cities are involved in the preparation of the national recovery and resilience plans, this is not the case in most member states. However, cities can use the guidance from the European that strongly encourages member states to explicitly involve cities and local/regional authorities as valuable stakeholders in the process.
Read more highlights in the news article we published: https://eurocities.eu/latest/putting-people-first-in-the-green-energy-transition/
Recordings and Zagreb videos
You can watch the recordings from the different sessions on day 1 and 2, both in plenary and workshops, here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvzHLhum83vu-jAZGqEgUoc7nwFYD7bO3
You can also watch again the videos from Zagreb:
- welcome video day 1 'Let's meet in Zagreb': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS5G26cGKFc&feature=youtu.be
- welcome video day 2 'Around Zagreb': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBtUahz1XKc&feature=youtu.be
- welcome video message from Zagreb's Mayor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pfz_hhDKqiw&feature=youtu.be
- OAZA NGO campaign 'Food for Life' to help people during pandemic and earthquake relief: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EGaiJvBeBQ&feature=youtu.be
- ZICER – Technological Park of Zagreb video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmx3eaqcEvs&feature=youtu.be
- URIHO Zagreb – Institution for Professional Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPFuF9X9PRY&feature=youtu.be
- final video message from Zagreb's Mayor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZFOKMlU48o&feature=youtu.be
All documents and presentations from our Forum meeting are available here below.