VUB’s Soumaya Majdoub and Cathy Macharis named on panel for just transition to sustainable society

Wednesday, May 25, 2022 — On Tuesday 24 May, Zakia Khattabi, the federal minister for climate, environment, sustainable development and the Green Deal kicked off the work of the States General for Just Transition. She presented the expert panel for this initiative, which includes VUB professor of mobility Cathy Macharis and VUB demography researcher Soumaya Majdoub. The project’s goal is to achieve a socially just transition to a sustainable society.

The just transition can only succeed with a broad and long-term social dialogue that involves citizens, academics, members of civil society and government agencies. Zakia Khattabi today explained her proposals and announced the creation of the panel known as the States General. Taking into account gender and linguistic parity, it is made up of 22 experts in social law, economy, democratic innovation and earth and environmental sciences.

The panel’s mission includes:

- Publishing a report for the attention of the minister and the Belgian institutions by the spring of 2023. This report will address the question "How to organise and implement the Just Transition in Belgium" and will be published as a scholarly contribution to the National Conference.

- Advising the minister on her just transition policy.

- Ensuring publicity and dissemination of the committee’s work.

- Positioning the just transition on the European and international agenda, with an eye on the Belgian Presidency of the EU in 2024.

Soumaya Majdoub

Soumaya Majdoub is a researcher at VUB and the Universitat de Barcelona School of Economics. Her research lies at the intersection of demography, social geography, political economy and ecology, with a focus on the relationship between population growth and pressure, economic development and international migration on the one hand, and the political and public discourse on migration on the other.

She is a columnist and author of the essay "Consuming like rabbits", in which she corrects the dominant narrative on overpopulation and shifts the focus to the core of the climate problem: overconsumption and the need for a paradigm shift.

Her main research areas are demography, economic development, migration policy and urbanisation.

Cathy Macharis

Cathy Macharis is a professor at VUB. Her interdisciplinary research group, MOBI (Mobility, Logistics and Automotive Technology) focuses on sustainable logistics, electric and autonomous vehicles and urban mobility. Her research investigates how stakeholders can be involved in decision-making and evaluation processes in the field of transport and mobility.

She has participated in several regional, national and European research projects on topics such as the application of innovative concepts for urban distribution, the evaluation of policy measures in the field of logistics and sustainable mobility and the development of a multi-stakeholder and multi-criteria analysis framework. She has published several books and written more than 20 articles on the subject. She is chair of the Brussels Mobility Commission and vice-chair of Nectar (Network on European Communications and Transport Activities Research).

The States General for Just Transition is a committee of experts aiming to respond to the fundamental needs of the population, such as food, housing and healthcare. The project should respect the limits of our planet, such as climate, biodiversity and water, while promoting citizen participation and safeguarding social justice.

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