Carbon Neutrality & Social Transformation: Are We on Track to Arrive at a Justice-Based Transition?

As part of HLPF 2021, UNU institutes and partners will host a side event exploring the policies needed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

- America/New York

As the world faces the economic fallout and social disruption triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, carbon neutrality has assumed greater urgency and the need to build back better is gaining increasing momentum. This online side event of the 2021 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will explore the policies needed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and the deep transformations required in our economic and social systems. It will look at how all sectors of society can address the challenges involved in realising such critical changes during the Decade of Action to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Bringing together experts from academia, governments, the UN system, business, and civil society, the event will focus on the green recovery process and issues of equity, considering problems such as stranded assets and implications for fossil-fuel rich economies in the developing world. It will launch a new report by the UNU Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA), which argues for an African green deal as a framework for climate action, building forward better and enabling an effective recovery from COVID-19 and its impacts. The event will also highlight the role of regional and multilateral cooperation in achieving decarbonisation, and the unique opportunity that COVID-19 presents for reimagining a common and shared future.

A panel discussion will tackle the following questions:

  • How is equity in the context of transformation interpreted and understood by different stakeholders (businesses, politicians, scientists, global South and global North)?
  • Is a just transformation possible at all? If so, what are the preconditions for such a transformation?


This online event will be held on Tuesday, 6 July at 07:30–09:00 EDT (20:30–22:00 JST). Participation is open to the public, with advance registration required.

The event will be held in English and Japanese, with simultaneous interpretation provided.

For an event agenda, event flyers, and updates, visit the event page on the UNU-IAS website.


This side event is organised by the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), UNU-INRA, the UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), the UN Department of Social and Economic Affairs (UN DESA), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UN ECA), the African Union Commission (AUC), and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat (UNFCCC).

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