ARUA Climate Change and Inequalities Symposium Justice in Transition – Transforming Social Inequalities Through Inclusive Climate Action

Event Information

Tuesday 7 March — Wednesday 8 March, 2023
University of Cape Town, South Africa


Event type

Climate change exacerbates existing inequalities and injustices between and within the world’s societies. Climate inequalities no longer only manifest in the unequal share of global emissions and unequal access to technologies and finance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While these challenges persist, the impacts of climate change are progressing at a faster pace than societies can adapt. 

This situation leaves societies in a need to manage intersecting crises. The challenges range from managing unequal access to energy, water, sanitation, transport, waste removal and other climate-sensitive technologies and services to unequal protection to the impacts of changing seasonality, extreme weather events and subsequent disasters. Increasing deprivation may increase migration, social unrest and reduce border security. These social phenomena already occur in sub-Saharan Africa, home to the most unequal societies in the world and the most vulnerable region to climate change. 

Effective crisis responses and transition management depend on adaptive capacities shaped by state–citizen relations. These relations differ significantly between the countries in the Global North and South. Local research is critical to finding solutions to novel development challenges in Africa. 

The African Research University Alliance (ARUA) provides a platform for collaborative research and knowledge exchange in a pan-African research network. The ARUA Centres of Excellence for Inequality Research (ACEIR) and on Climate and Development (ARUA-CD) kindly invite submissions of your research contribution on climate justice and equitable transitions towards sustainable development. 

The ARUA research symposium on climate change and inequality will create spaces for innovative, transdisciplinary exchange to facilitate novel networks and collaborations between early and mid-career researchers, senior scholars and practitioners in understanding the relationships between these major global societal challenges. The symposium format will predominantly cater for in-person exchanges but will offer partial hybrid interfaces to include those who may not be able to travel. 

The symposium seeks to address the following questions: 

● How can we manage socio-technical sustainability and energy transitions in just and inclusive ways while adapting to climate impacts and managing climate, health, and security risks? 

● How do societies design and implement climate action to improve sustainable livelihoods, and reduce both poverty and inequality in the Global South? 

● Which data do we have and what else do we need to build solid evidence to inform decision-making processes? 

● How can we finance transitional justice in a fair and equitable dialogue between the Global North and South? 


Provisional themes for the symposium include: 

● Climate governance in unequal political economic systems 

● Social innovation and justice in socio-technical climate and energy transitions 

● State–citizen relations in climate and energy transitions 

● Governance of intersecting crises in light of increasing climatic stressors and social inequality 

● Climate peace and security 

● Dynamics in social inequality, climate impacts and emissions constraints 

● Multi-dimensionality in inequality and climate action 

● Climate-relevant inequality data 

● Equity and transformation for sustainable adaptation 

● Climate stressors and their effects on social cohesion and livelihoods 

● Inequality and national responses in the global climate governance regime 

● Multi-scalarity of just transitions and the role of cities 

● Finance of just transitions 

Event | 16 December 2022