Green rights for a sustainable future

Green rights for a sustainable future: Enhancing citizens’ involvement in EU’s climate ambitions (Green-Rights)

Timeline: October 2022 – October 2024

Context: Debating and putting on the public agenda the climate challenges faced by the urban areas in Romania, Hungary, and Italy and underlining the importance of citizens’ buy-in to reach climate ambitions and carbon-neutral cities.

Why? Urban communities can act as a driving factor in shifting to a green and sustainable future if the citizens’ awareness and participation are high.

What can we do? Influencing the public agenda, improving citizens’ awareness, and advocating for a greater role of citizens, NGOs, academia, and civic groups in shaping cities’ plans for carbon neutrality. Improving citizens’ behavior and making everyone more aware of their carbon footprint.

How? Organizing public events, debates, awareness campaigns, media literacy activities, drafting reports and surveys, and engaging the disengaged (including youths, social-vulnerable communities, and older persons).

Partners: G4media (Romania), Amapola Progetti (Italy), University of Turin (Italy), Clean Air Action Group (Hungary).

Summary. We need climate action now

EU citizens’ support for climate action is increasing, while the Union put forward the most ambitious plan to become a carbon-neutral continent by 2050. Citizens’ buy-in is crucial to implement the 2030 and 2050 targets but varies significantly across the MSs. Eastern countries are lagging, and underrepresented groups remain disengaged from public talks and civic actions, while the involvement of women, youths, minorities, and elderly people in the decision-making processes on environmental issues remains limited. Russia s war against Ukraine put even more pressure on the EU’s climate ambitions.

Our project targets three MSs (Romania, Hungary, and Italy) where the citizens’ awareness and participation on climate issues are below the EU average and environmental-related innovations are limited. These countries are widely affected by pollution and serious climate events. The project targets residents of the urban areas for a maximum impact as the cities are responsible for more than two-thirds of GHG emissions (upward trend) and must address similar challenges.

We aim to map climate challenges and ambitions in a number of urban areas in all three countries, engage the public administration and relevant actors at the local level (NGOs, civic groups, academia, etc.) in agora-style debates, increase citizens’ awareness and their involvement and impact in the local public decisions. Scaling-up good practices across the three MSs and at the EU level will follow up (perspectives of citizens, CSOs, and decision-makers), while we will am to advocate for (a) Cities’ climate ambitions designed with the support of the citizens and having the citizens in the center of these decisions (esp. underrepresented groups) and (b) Citizens’ improved understanding of climate challenges and their personal impact on the environment (a more environmentally friendly behavior).

Our approach. Ensuring citizens’ buy-in on climate change

Phase I: Assessment of citizens’ awareness and involvement, providing interactive resources for a non-specialist audience.

Phase II: Prioritizing and debating climate challenges at the urban sub-national/national level from the perspective of citizens, CSOs, and decision-makers.

Phase III: Scale-up good practices and foster civic engagement in advocating and promoting sustainable changes, including measuring personal impact on climate change and COVID-19 impact on daily habits.

Phase IV: Providing innovative and tailor-made tools to raise citizens’ involvement in environmental issues. Gender equality and diversity are key components of our activities.

Our objectives: Increased awareness on climate change and EU’s climate ambitions

O1. Increasing the awareness of the general public on climate change and the EU’s climate ambitions through public events, citizens’ dialogues, and non-formal methods of interaction (age appropriate; gender-sensitive, tailor-made, and easy-to-use tools).

O2. Engaging the citizens and other key actors (public administrations, EU stakeholders, media, academia, NGOs, private companies, cultural organizations) from urban areas in debating high-priority areas for their communities (sustainable mobility, energy efficiency, waste management, power supply) to fight climate change) and support the green transition.

O3. Mapping, prioritizing, and connecting citizens’ views and areas of interest with the cities’ climate ambitions, sustainable investments, policy measures, and environmental strategies.

O4. Providing innovative and tailor-made tools to raise citizens’ involvement in environmental issues. Actively contributing to fostering the public participation of underrepresented groups.

GREEN-Rights Project implementation progress

Work package WP1 – Raising awareness on climate challenges; providing interactive resources for a non-specialist audience (M1-M9). The report is available here.

Activities within the WP1:

Work package WP2 – Citizens’ debates in Romania; engaging the general public and the underrepresented groups in debating top climate and environment priority areas for the urban communities (M4-14). The report is available here.

Work package WP3 – Engaging citizens (esp. underrepresented groups) in understanding key priorities and taking action in Italy (M4-14). The report is available here.

Work package WP4 – Citizens’ debates in Hungary. Engaging the general public and underrepresented groups in debating top priority areas for the urban communities subject to EU’s climate ambitions (M4-14). The report is available here.

Work package WP5 – Media online forum. The role of media in environmental awareness and engagement (M4-14)

Work package WP6 – It’s time to act. Youths aim to lead the fight against climate change. Organizing transnational online academic debates and events (M7-M14). The report is available here.

Work package WP7 – Scaling-up good practices. Workshops and small-scale actions for identifying and assessing solutions for greener cities and enhancing the citizens’ role in advocating and promoting sustainable changes (M13-M19)

Work package WP8 – Scaling-up good practices. Smart tools to assess personal impact on climate change (M14-M20)

Work package WP9 – COVID 19 Impact on the environment – Do your part /what I can do to reduce it? (cross-countries) (M16-M22)

Work package WP10 – A sustainable, inclusive and gender-balanced approach. Moving forward to a greener future (M20-M24)

Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.