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Designing equitable sustainability programs: Local tools for a fair and inclusive transition

Marion Guénard


date June 30, 2022 | 10:00 - 12:45
Multifunction Hall Room 12
ICLEI - Local Governments For Sustainability
Equitable urban futures
TE 44


Most of the climate and biodiversity challenges our world is experiencing can be linked to the wasteful and linear way our economies are organized. Through their roles as planners, procurers, regulators and conveners, cities have a key role to play in supporting the circular transition of consumption and production systems. The circular cities narrative often carries the promise of increased prosperity and local job employment opportunities. However, without an assessment of the potential inequality outcomes of circular economy practices and a plan to address them, the benefits of these innovations might be distributed unequally within the city.

To support fair and inclusive circular transitions, ICLEI collaborated with cities from different world regions under the Urban Transitions Alliance project to create a methodology that allows to map the social equity outcomes of local plans across three dimensions: access, participation and opportunity. For each dimension, tools and recommendations for action were identified, as well as indicators to monitor progress and best practices from cities of the ICLEI network to learn from. These learnings are currently being compiled into a guidebook which will be published during the World Urban Forum. This training offers a run through of the methodologies included in this guidebook. 

The guidebook and learnings through this event will be disseminated and scaled through ICLEI Circulars, the first platform for circular economy at the local level. For global reach, this session is branded as an ICLEI Circulars Dialogue.


This training aims at equipping city practitioners with: A thorough understanding of the social risks and opportunities associated with sustainability and circular economy programs and initiatives at the local level; A methodology to map and assess the social equity impacts of sustainability and circular economy programs across three dimensions: access, participation and opportunity; Concrete tools and policy recommendations to maximize social equity benefits of such programs; Good practice examples from peer cities to inspire application to practice; Recommendations to monitor social impacts over time and in a holistic manner.

Participants will be guided through an assessment of social equity risks and opportunities for a sustainability project of their choice that is currently being implemented in cities.  The assessment will be done based on three dimensions:

  • Access: How can sustainability programs support inclusive access to goods and services? How can vulnerable groups benefit from such initiatives? How to ensure no group is left behind due to gender, age, abilities, ethnicity, socio-economic status or geographic location impairing access?
  • Participation: How can sustainability programs be designed with residents from the early stage of project design? How can sustainability planning successfully build on community initiatives and empower them? 
  • Opportunities: How can cities support initiatives that promote local economic development and job creation, especially for vulnerable groups? How can corresponding training opportunities be facilitated by local governments to upskill city residents?