Transformative and Participatory Approaches


At the heart of all Global Climate Hub (GCH) and its work lies people; those impacted by climate change as well as those charged with making crucial decisions in order to adapt to and mitigate against these impacts.  With the GCH providing a focal point for the global community of climate actors, the Transformative and Participatory Approaches (TAPA) Unit bridges the gap between the models that drive the scientific outputs of the GCH and the national policy-shapers and decision-makers.  The TAPA unit works closely with stakeholders to ensure that the model outputs are not only representative of the local realities but that the proposed solutions and innovations (technological, social, financial and policy) are appropriate and fit for purpose within the local context.  The systems dynamics approach adopted by the modelling activities of the GCH is mirrored in the participatory approaches of the TAPA unit which are based on System Innovation.


Transformative Living Labs

The approach will adopt a range of participatory methodologies and work closely with existing SDSN chapters around the globe, leveraging on the strength of the network to uniquely engage the full spectrum of stakeholder groups at different levels. The TAPA unit will bring together a group of nationally representative stakeholders in the form of a Transformative Living Lab that will provide an arena for change agents to systematically deep-dive into the national climate change issues from a holistic perspective in order to isolate the most pressing challenges and prioritize local needs before working towards the development of innovation pathways towards sustainable solutions that address these needs.  At all times, the TAPA unit will work in synergy with the other units of the GCH to ensure the seamless integration of the model outputs within the Living Lab and vice versa through an iterative process. 

The focus of the Living Labs’ discussions will be structured around the Six Transformations to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. These are:   

  1. Education, Gender, and Inequality: Universal quality primary and secondary education; expanded social safety nets; improved labor standards; funding innovations and ensuring diffusion from research and development
  2. Health, Wellbeing, and Demography: Universal health coverage; integration of prevention, therapeutic and palliative services; investments in child health and sexual and reproductive health; promotion of health lifestyles and better diets 
  3. Energy Decarbonization and Sustainable Industry: Universal access to modern energy services; decarbonization of electricity generation; smart-grid management; improved energy efficiency
  4. Sustainable Food, Land, Water, and Oceans: Efficient and resilient agricultural systems and fisheries; conservation and restoration of ecosystems; targeted interventions that encourage healthier diets; strategic management of land and water   
  5. Sustainable Cities and Communities: Ensuring access to water and sanitation; sustainable and efficient transport systems; participatory and inclusive urban planning; safe and healthy urban housing
  6. Digital Revolution for Sustainable Development: Universal access to high-quality, low-cost mobile broadband; promote digital inclusion; digitization of public goods like education and healthcare; public facilitation of innovations in sustainable development



The work of the TAPA unit is based on participatory approaches which focus on deep stakeholder engagement with an emphasis on co-design and co-creation; primarily System Innovation and Transition Management.  Local teams are guided through the process of mapping the local stakeholder ecosystem, before mapping and selecting a core group of representative stakeholders (from government officials and policy makers, to financiers, innovators and social mobilizers) to form the local Transformative Living Lab.  The living lab meets during a series of interactive workshops whereby the local system is mapped in the context of climate change, considering the key sectors, challenges, actors etc., the relationships between them and the resultant impact of interactions within the system.  The outputs of this mapping provide inputs for the systems dynamics models of the GCH, as well as provide the basis of the identification of needs and priorities at the local level.  This prioritization along with outputs of the GCH models are utilized in the development of Innovation Pathways, using participatory Foresight methods such as Backcasting.  The in addition, Living Lab members work in close collaboration with the other GCH units (Climate and Health, Innovation Acceleration and Just Transition) in developing the Innovation Pathways, which set out key actions and policy recommendations to help achieve an articulated Future Vision; an embodiment of key targets based on the Six SDG Transformations and other national agendas. 

Ultimately, the GHC integrated models in conjunction with Transformative Living Labs are provide useful tools and a coherent methodology for policy makers, equipping them with the evidence-based support that is needed to facilitate the development of technological, financial and policy pathways towards achieving their climate action goals and a wider sustainability transition. 


Global Climate Hub Stakeholder Platform and Living Lab Modeler Tool

The GCH will aim to achieve further stakeholder reach through the use of the Living Lab Modeler. The tool will serve to maintain communication between Living Lab members outside of the workshop setting, and facilitate ongoing interaction between the Living Lab members and the GCH team.  Furthermore, the Living Lab Modeler will adopt online visualization tools with intuitive user interfaces will allow for the presentation of Living Lab outputs and enhance understanding of the various model interdependencies as well as support non-expert involvement in the modelling process; allowing for key stakeholders’ perspectives to be embedded within the modeling process, and provide validation for outputs.

The Climate Hub Stakeholder Platform will also promote public awareness on climate change, inviting civil society to participate in both the discourse on these issues as well as the pursuit of innovative solutions to address the greatest global challenge of our time.



Ebun Akinsete

Dr., Senior Researcher, ICRE8, SDU at ATHENA RC, ReSEES AUEB

Eleni Toli

Project Manager at "Athena" Research and Innovation Center


Alice Guittard

Geographer specialized in Sea & Coastal

Panagiota Koltsida

Research Associate at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens & "Athena" Research Center

Monika Mavragani

Researcher, ReSEES Lab Athens University of Economics and Business

Lydia Papadaki

PhD Can., Athens University of Economics and Business

Eleni Petra

Project Manager, Scientific Consultant, "Athena" Research and Innovation Center

Anna Triantafyllidou

Researcher, ReSEES Lab Athens University of Economics and Business

    Supporting Projects

    Water Futures: Designing the Next Generation of Urban Drinking Water Systems

    Funded by the European Research Council

    PI, Prof. Phoebe Koundouri, Athens University of Economics and Business

    ARSINOE: Climate Resilient Regions Through Systemic Solutions and Innovations

    PI, Prof. Chrysi Laspidou, University of Thessaly 

    PI, Prof. Koundouri, Athens University of Economics and Business

    PI, Dr. Ebun Akinsete, “Athena” Research and Innovation Center

    PI, Martin Drews, Technical University of Denmark

    PI, Prof. Ralf Ludwig, LMU Munich

    DESIRA: Digitisation Economic and Social Impacts in Rural Areas

    PI, Prof. Phoebe Koundouri, “Athena” Research and Innovation Center 

    SIMRA: Social Innovation in Marginalised Rural Areas

    PI, Prof. Phoebe Koundouri, International Center for Research on The Environment and the Economy (ICRE8)