Just transition

What is a just transition?

A just transition seeks to ensure that the substantial benefits of a green economy transition are shared widely, while also supporting those who stand to lose economically – be they countries, regions, industries, communities, workers or consumers.

A rapid increase in the speed and scale of actions required to reduce the risks of climate change will create new economic opportunities.

Whilst a just transition is mainly based on environmental considerations, it is also shaped by other structural changes affecting labour markets, such as globalisation, labour-saving technologies and the shift to services.

A just transition is an integral part of many of the global commitments adopted by countries. The Paris Agreement acknowledges “the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities” and highlights the importance of workers in responding to climate change.

Furthermore, the just transition concept links to 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, explicitly drawing together SDGs 12 – climate action, 10 – reduced inequalities and 8 – decent work and economic growth.

Many countries have recognised the challenge that this transformation entails and are taking measures to protect those that are most vulnerable and affected by the changes, including across the EBRD regions.

  • The European Union’s Just Transition Mechanism is integral to the EU’s Green Deal, targeted at ensuring “a fair transition to a climate-neutral economy, leaving no one behind” and aims to mobilise at least €150 billion over the period 2021-2027;
  • The Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration signed by 50 countries at COP24, which states that: “a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs are crucial to ensure an effective and inclusive transition”;
  • Climate Action for Jobs Initiative, co-led by the International Labour Organisation, Spain and Peru, with 46 countries committing to develop “national plans for a just transition and create decent green jobs”.
  • The UNFCCC Gender Action plan, whereby parties to the UNFCCC have recognized the importance of involving women and men equally in the development and implementation of national climate policies that are gender-responsive.

It is also vital to consider a fair distribution of the costs and benefits of a green economy transition in the context of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis has exacerbated inequalities and created additional economic risks for people, sectors and regions that are also impacted by a green economy transition.