Paris Agreement: First Dialogue on just transition tackles challenges, seeks international cooperation

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The first Dialogue under the United Arab Emirates Just Transition Work Programme took place in Bonn, Germany from 2 to 3 June 2024, with opening speakers highlighting the need for whole-of-society approaches to a sustainable future, that are inclusive, equitable and just.

The Dialogue provided 170 Party representatives and non-party observers the opportunity to share their views and experiences on just transition pathways to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement through countries’ national climate action plans (Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Long-term, low-emission development strategies (LT-LEDS).

Opening the meeting, Ambassador Nabeel Munir, Chair of the UNFCCC’s Subsidiary Body for Implementation, said: “The just transition presents a profound opportunity to address climate change. As we shift towards a sustainable future, it is imperative that we create pathways that are inclusive, equitable and just. This means empowering communities, protecting workers’ rights and fostering opportunities in green industries.”

Iman Ustadi, Deputy Chief Negotiator for the Presidency of the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference in in Dubai last year, highlighted the significance of the just transition as a cornerstone of the UAE Consensus achieved last year.

“The just transition is key to ensuring that as we make our way towards ambition and climate action, we are also ensuring sustainable development, prosperity and opportunity, without leaving anyone behind. The just transition is a beacon to further operationalize international cooperation,” she said.

Further underscoring the significance of the Dialogue, high-level representatives of the incoming COP29 and COP30 Presidencies were also in attendance.

Recent data shows an increasing consideration of just transition in national climate action plans, with more countries addressing social and economic impacts of the transition to low-carbon and resilient economies. Meanwhile, 38% of NDCs explicitly reference just transition principals. This is the case for 57% of all LT-LEDS.

Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, cautioned: “It is one thing to say we must leave no-one behind. But to actually deliver on that, we need to start making concrete plans. We need to be designing policies based on dialogue and engagement with all parts of society.

There is no one size fits all, and each solution needs to adapt to each context, developed or developing, urban or rural. There is no better predictor than applying the lessons learned by those that are ahead of the pack.”

The participants meeting in Bonn emphasized the need to incorporate just transition elements in all NDCS, NAPS, and LTLEDS, ensuring the involvement of marginalized groups and those who could be affected by the transition, and engaging youth and taking into account their voices in planning and implementation.

This can be achieved through the development of comprehensive policy frameworks that align the just transition with national priorities, and the early engagement of stakeholders.

In addition, local communities need to be empowered to design and implement their own just transition plans.

Several challenges were emphasized at the Bonn gathering, including financial barriers, capacity-building needs, and limiting socioeconomic impacts of the transition both between and within countries.

Above all, participants highlighted the fact that to accelerate the just transition, more international cooperation, knowledge exchange, and regional and multilateral coordination are needed.

 

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