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Engaging citizens in the climate transition

Press release

Achieving the profound climate transition we need requires cooperation between all members of society at a level never seen before.
- Engaged citizens are key to our success," says Olga Kordas, Viable Cities Program Manager.
Citizen engagement and local Climate City Contract is the theme of the Viable Cities Transition Lab Forum 3 on September 16-17.

Transition Lab Forum is Viable Cities' recurring conference for knowledge exchange, co-creation and learning that will contribute to a faster climate transition. Forum 3 is organized together with Umeå, one of the nine municipalities in the Climate Neutral Cities 2030 initiative. Umeå municipality is focused on citizen engagement.

- We have built up good experience, partly through climate campaigns where we have engaged Umeå residents in different ways, and partly through our urban development work, where climate issues have become strongly intertwined with issues of social sustainability in the dialogue with people living in different areas of Umeå, says Annika Myrén, project manager for Climate Neutral Umeå.

During the conference, participants from the nine municipalities, as well as members and experts, will be inspired, exchange experiences and work together to drive the work forward, both to engage citizens and to design local Climate City Contract with them.

- Cities need to fully engage citizens in the climate transition. City residents are consumers, producers and owners of businesses, homes and vehicles. In these capacities, they make independent decisions, which are crucial for climate transition of cities," says Allan Larsson, Viable Cities Chairman.

International perspectives from France and Canada are on the program, as well as reflections on how climate and sustainability can be included in financial analysis.

In the fall, politicians and officials in the nine municipalities will work with Viable Cities to develop a Climate City Contract 2030 - a national Climate City Contract for municipalities, including a comprehensive approach to financing the climate transition.

- Achieving the goal requires a transition at all levels of society; citizen involvement is just as important as a transformation of the financial sector. That's why we are simultaneously engaging in dialog with Kommuninvest and the banking world," says Olga Kordas, Viable Cities Program Manager.

The aim is for the climate contract to become a useful tool for achieving climate-neutral cities throughout Sweden. It will also prepare Swedish municipalities to apply for EU funding, for example within the EU Mission for Climate Neutral Cities, which will make its first calls in 2021.

Follow Forum 3 live 16 Sep 9.00-12.00 and 17 Sep 10.00-12.00.

About Viable Cities' Climate Neutral Cities 2030 initiative

The initiative includes nine Swedish cities that want to take greater responsibility in the climate transition - Enköping, Gothenburg, Järfälla, Lund, Malmö, Stockholm, Umeå, Uppsala and Växjö. On 23 April 2020, the political leadership of the cities signed a declaration of intent*, which means that these municipalities want to become pioneers for other municipalities in Sweden, and in the world, in the work for Climate Neutral Cities 2030. The initiative will also contribute to a concerted effort by several national authorities and organizations to strengthen the municipalities' ability to implement the climate transition. This will be done in a way that contributes to increased economic, social and environmental sustainability in line with the global sustainability goals.

*Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Järfälla municipality signed the MoU in summer 2020.

About the VIable Cities Strategic Innovation Programme

Viable Cities is a program focused on innovation for smart and sustainable cities. It aims to accelerate the transition to climate-neutral and inclusive cities by 2030 with digitalization and citizen engagement as enablers. The program brings together more than 80 actors from business, academia, civil society and the public sector, and funds 62 research and innovation projects. It is one of 17 strategic innovation programs that have received support in a joint initiative by Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas on behalf of the government. The purpose of the initiative is to create conditions for Sweden's international competitiveness and sustainable solutions to global societal challenges. Viable Cities is coordinated by KTH.