A True Paradise: Overcoming Paralysis

The film "Overcoming Paralysis” speaks to the state of fear and inaction on climate, despite having the science and technology at hand.

Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), book author and co-founder of Global Optimism, speaks her mind on what we must do to change the current status quo. Oscar-winning filmmakers and producers Dirk Wilutzky and Mathilde Bonnefoy produced a 10-minute documentary that considers the emotional toll and consequences for each of us and even more so for future generations if we continue to do nothing.

Transformative Urban Coalitions

Catalysing Urban Partnerships to Drive Systemic Transformation Towards Sustainability

Cities account for 75% of carbon emissions worldwide, making urban leadership critical for achieving zero carbon emissions. To be sustainable, rapid decarbonization has to be socially just. Such transformations must be inclusive and driven by the needs and views of diverse groups of stakeholders, including citizens, policy makers, private sector, community-led organizations, etc.​

The TUC project seeks to shift the sustainability trajectory of cities towards zero carbon emissions by 2050, by altering the deeper social, technological, and political structures and systems that are currently reinforcing high-carbon, resource-intensive urbanization.

Transformative Urban Coalitions (TUC) is a coalition between United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), World Resources Institute (WRI) and International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), with support from Germany's Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

This project facilitates the establishment of transformative urban coalitions in five Latin American cities to develop new strategies for addressing local challenges in urban development and inequality, while at the same time reducing carbon emissions.

Where We Work

The TUC project focuses on Latin America, where 80% of the population lives in urban areas and cities are already seeing the effects of climate change, especially from extreme heat events, water stress and air pollution. Urban sustainability transformations toward zero carbon by 2050 are therefore urgently needed. Five "Urban Labs" will be established in cities in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, to develop new models of urban coalition building and governance. In each of the five pilot cities, these Urban Labs will develop catalyst projects that initiate local sustainability transformations with a specific focus.

How we do it


5 "Urban Labs" integrate the expertise of urban actors, practitioners and researchers to develop tangible, catalytic and transformative solutions to urban challenges that contribute to sustainable development towards zero carbon cities.

Transformative research

Transformative research actively advances the transformation towards sustainability and provides practical support for processes in the "Urban Labs".

Community of Transformation

The Community of Transformation facilitates and ​incentivizes learning and exchange among pilot cities that promotes sustainable urban transformations within the cities and across the region.

Capacity building

Sharing and building capacities in and across the cities generates an understanding of different options for action and solution approaches.

Art & film

Art & film are important parts of the project to reach different and broader audiences. Among others, overall 30 short films, will be produced and screened by Oscar-winning filmmakers and producers Dirk Wilutzky and Mathilde Bonnefoy.

Outreach & dissemination

Through targeted communication activities, the project supports triggering of mindshifts and galvanizes climate ambition across the pilot cities and beyond.

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Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action


United Nations University (UNU) ; Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS)
German Institute of Development and Sustainability – IDOS
World Resources Institute
International Institute for Environment and Development