Under ARI's Environmental Politics Programme and funded by the European Commission, this project links and empowers Civil Society Organisations (CSO) – as well as locally-led initiatives - to be able to meaningfully participate in public policies and to influence policy dialogues in and about the region. It also ensures that efforts to tackle climate change and environmental degradation include inputs from impacted communities, address long-standing inequalities and ultimately support the emergence of accountable and democratic governance structures. It focuses on three central themes: food sovereignty, energetic transition, and water access/injustice.
From 2023-2025, ARI in conjunction with its partner organizations, Alternative Policy Solutions (APS) at the American University in Cairo (Egypt), and Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis (MIPA), will address challenges in environmental policy faced by CSOs and by the population at large and specifically communities that are already feeling the impact of climate change and environmental degradation (final beneficiaries).
The project centres around the concept of “just transition", which seeks to ensure that the benefits of a transition to a greener and more sustainable economy are shared widely and inclusively and that those who have been left out by the current economic system – communities suffering from environmental degradation, food insecurity, water shortages or those with little support for adapting or mitigating the impact of climate change – are not sidelined in the context of the coming transition. Just transition entails including all actors and segments of society, which encompasses women, youth and marginalized populations, such as refugees and migrant communities, in decision-making processes. We thus aim to contribute to democratizing policy-making and creating a space where input from local actors is taken into account in policy-making.
Activity cluster 1: National policy dialogues and knowledge production
In order to increase its relevance and impact, the regional dialogue should be better connected to national dynamics, actors and local and international stakeholders. For this activity cluster, consultations will be held with CSOs, local stakeholders and representatives from impacted communities to identify and describe the main problems related to just environmental transition, focusing on food sovereignty, energetic transition and water access/injustice. These roundtables will bring together the same stakeholders and experts to develop policy options and assess their potential impact, afterwards developing policy papers and briefs to be made publicly available.
Activity cluster 2: Capacity building, regional dialogues and knowledge production
Three regional working groups will be created, each focusing on one of the three project themes and who will draft thematic reports on these themes. Exchange visits will be organized in the region and to the EU for experience-sharing and advocacy, and a yearly regional conference on just transition and climate justice will be held. This cluster will give activists the space to identify the main priorities and areas of work and build strong networks on the regional level. Nine webinars with CSOs, academics, local and national authorities, as well as EU representatives and international actors (UN, ILO, World Bank etc.) will be held throughout the year to foster a multi-sector dialogue on the regional level and maintain the community of practice between the annual regional conferences.
The combination of these components will enable CSOs to enhance their knowledge on issues related to just transition and set a common agenda for regional action.
Activity cluster 3: Dissemination to the Community of Practice
In order to support the engagement of the community of practice involved in the action, the outputs of the program will be made widely accessible to a broad range of stakeholders (from local CSOs, activists, researchers, journalists, policymakers) through a series of developed tools, based on the dialogues and research findings. A bi-monthly podcast, quarterly newsletter, video interviews and social media campaigns will reach diverse and geographically distributed individuals and organisations engaged in the work on climate change and just transition.