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Just resilience for Europe: towards measuring justice in climate change adaptation

This paper contributes to making just resilience operational by stocktaking and structuring the knowledge on just resilience in climate adaptation, with a specific focus on providing relevant information towards measuring progress on just resilience in the European context, including the identification of potential indicators.

Frida Lager, Inès Bakhtaoui, Richard J. T. Klein / Published on 29 May 2023

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Lager, F., Coninx, I., Breil, M., Bakhtaoui, I., Branth Pedersen, A., Mattern, K., van den Berg, H., Sini, E., Gallucio, G., Klein, R., & Vierikko, K. (2023). Just Resilience for Europe: Towards measuring justice in climate change adaptation. ETC CA.

Mural in Biskopsgården, Göteborg, Sweden. By artist Max Sansing. 2021

Mural in Biskopsgården, Göteborg, Sweden. By artist Max Sansing. Photo: Jon Högman / Artscape.

Justice has emerged as a key concept in adaptation in the last years due to growing evidence on how the most vulnerable people and systems are disproportionally at risk from climate change. These people and systems also often have less capacity and capabilities to adapt and are the least likely to be heard, recognised and prioritised in adaptation processes, resulting in fewer benefits from adaptation actions.

The principles of just resilience and ‘leaving no one behind’ are key elements in several recent EU policies related to climate change adaptation, including the EU Strategy on Climate Adaptation, the European Green Deal and the EU Mission on Adaptation to Climate Change.

The concept of resilience, as formulated in European policies, is a broader term than adaptation. It includes the aim of enhancing the capacity of society and the natural systems we rely on to persist, adapt and transform, in anticipation of and response to disruption and crises.

Three core dimensions of justice in adaptation can inform the future work on operationalising just resilience for Europe; distributive justice (who is affected and who benefits), procedural justice (fairness and legitimacy of the decision-making process) and recognition justice (the recognition of diverse values, cultures and worldviews). Additional perspectives, including intergenerational justice, intersectionality, capacities and capabilities approaches, the safeguarding of intrinsic values of nature and restorative and retributive justice also offer valuable insights to the definition of goals for just resilience for Europe and the development of indicators to measure, monitor, report on and evaluate progress.

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SEI authors

Frida Lager
Frida Lager

Research Associate

SEI Headquarters

Richard J.T. Klein
Richard J. T. Klein

Senior Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

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