Article of the UIA Knowledge base
Modifier 24 February 2022

Cities, Jobs and Just Transitions : executive summary of the inception report

Cities, Jobs and Just Transitions : executive summary of the inception report
Cities, Jobs and Just Transitions : executive summary of the inception report
Addressing the potential labour market impacts of the climate neutral transition is central to the European Green Deal. UIA is exploring the good practices implemented by UIA cities to mitigate the impact of job losses and to support industry adaptation and the growth of new climate neutral industry sectors. This article frames the approach to this analysis, summarizing the inception report, jointly written by UIA experts Eddy Adams, Costantinos Cartalis and Ronald Lievens.

Read the full Inception Report here

The shift to climate neutrality presents many opportunities for Europe’s economy and labour markets. However, it also poses significant challenges, particularly as its distributional impact will be uneven – both in territorial and societal terms.

Implementing Just Transitions acknowledges the dual challenge of achieving climate neutrality whilst ensuring that no person or place is left behind and was adopted in relevant policies including within the European Green Deal.

In Europe, cities are central to achieving the dual dimension of this process. On the one hand, they consume energy and generate Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and on the other they bring about innovations related to the systemic transformation of our economies and societies – also in the climate, environmental, and social dimensions.

The ”Cities, Jobs and Just Transitions” - Inception Report marks the starting point for research focused on the Job market renewal – Skills for a green future. It forms part of a wider two year-long knowledge development activity undertaken by the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative (UIA) that will also consider the urban exclusion risk – Make cities affordable for all; and the renewal of governance and participative structures – Democratic transitions for all.

The UIA cases identified in this Inception Report focused in broad terms on how to reach climate neutrality whilst sustaining skills, jobs and businesses. Three specific dimensions are analysed: - Forecasting new skills; - Supporting emerging green sectors; and - Skilling and reskilling.



How to reach climate neutrality whilst sustaining skills, jobs and businesses: ’early headlines’

As for Forecasting new skills, focal points such as the identification of key stakeholders and partnerships required to engage in forecasting, and frameworks used to codify the skills intelligence are presented. Building on these points, UIA projects are highlighted, like the Dutch high-tech city Eindhoven, a smaller Spanish city, Cuenca, in the niche area of urban forestry, and Aveiro in Portugal.

As for Supporting emerging green sectors, several UIA projects link to emerging green sectors (e.g. green fuels and clean transport, energy retrofitting and zero energy buildings, nature based solutions and urban forestry etc.). The Report introduces the readers to aspects of the challenge of “greening” business sectors and listing projects already addressing this challenge such as: Manchester on urban green infrastructure and nature-based solutions, Amsterdam on smart blue-green roof technology and Viladecans on energy transition and new local tools.   

As for Skilling and reskilling, even though local authorities often lack direct competencies on jobs and skills, cities are where the impact of the evolution towards a greener economy is more tangible also in terms of creation of new services, businesses and functions. An active role for local authorities on skilling and reskilling strategies can be important for reducing the mismatch between the skills of employees. Concrete UIA city examples such as Cluj-Napoca and Eindhoven are both creating sets of new skills to improve the employability of specific categories of workers. Other UIA cities, such as Rotterdam, Pozzuoli and Fuenlabrada, are focusing on specific categories to drive citizens’ career opportunities towards green sectors.


The Report touches upon the multifaceted elements relevant for “Cities and Jobs” in the context of Just Transitions. To mention some, the multiple drivers in play in the process of greening skills, jobs and business, the push of the digitalisation also for the green economy, and the interconnectedness of New Skills, Supporting Emerging Green Sectors and Re/Skilling at a local level.

Finally, the Report also shows the analytical way for approaching the delivery of Just Transitions, juxtaposing it with the European sustainable urban development model, helping readers understand how UIA projects are each in their own specific way contributing to making cities fit for a new socio-ecological pact.

Read the full Inception Report here!

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Stay engaged with the #JustTransitions activity. The full story will be shared later this spring.

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