(Bonn, Germany, 5th June 2023) – The Government of Colombia is making progress in advancing a just transition to simultaneously meet climate targets and tackle inequality, based on a new, research-backed report. Launching at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, the independently-produced report lists key recommendations that can drive the shift to a greener and fairer economy in Colombia.

Colombia’s National Development Plan 2022-2026 places climate action and equity at the core of its development strategies, aligned with its goal to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050. The country is advancing just transitions policies through an economy-wide transformation approach. It is grounded in commitments under the Paris Agreement and its national climate target to reduce 51% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Colombia also crafted a roadmap on Just Energy Transition to gradually phase-out fossil fuels, following principles of equity, graduality, sovereignty and reliability, binding social participation and knowledge.

Sebastián Carranza Tovar, Director of Climate Change and Risk Management at Colombia’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, says: “Moving towards a climate resilient and decarbonised future is essential for Colombia’s peace and stability. Decoupling economic growth from fossil fuels, extractive industries, and activities that destroy nature is a key part of Colombia’s peace agenda. Climate action is peace action.”

Colombia is pursuing a Reindustrialization Policy with the aim to shift from an extraction economy to a productive and sustainable knowledge economy. In addition, it is implementing a strategy on Just Transition of the Labour Force, recognising that the climate transition in conjunction with accelerated technological transformations significantly affect the country’s workforce.

The country faces significant challenges on its path towards a more equal, low-carbon economy. It has a high level of inequality, with more than 39% of Colombians living under the poverty line. More than 50% of the workforce is informal, falling outside regular taxation and social protection. To tackle these challenges, the research by Fedesarrollo and Climate Strategies lists key recommendations to support just climate measures in the country.

Lead author Helena García, Fedesarrollo, says: “A just transition is key to ensuring that Colombia’s transition to a low-carbon and resilient society maximises the benefits of climate action while minimising the negative impacts. To implement a just transition, Colombia will need to invest in identifying the impacts of climate policies, co-designing strategies to mitigate these impacts, implementing these structural changes and evaluating their success.”

The recommendations include establishing a central committee to coordinate just transition policies at a national level, increasing social dialogue with affected people and local communities, as well as expanding social protection and re-skilling opportunities. Policymakers should also better assess the effects of climate policies in key sectors such as energy, transport and agriculture to counter negative impacts on the most vulnerable.

Better data on the economic and social effects of climate policies could also help unlock additional funding for just transition measures, a separate brief by the same research team suggests. By linking climate action and development agendas, the brief proposes, Colombia could tap into a wider pool of funding and enter new financing partnerships. In addition, the country could utilize revenues from its carbon tax to pay for measures increasing equality.

The reports will be launched at an event at the UN Climate Change Conference that kicked off in Bonn today. Co-hosted by the Republic of Colombia, Climate Strategies and the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), the meeting will highlight perspectives from the Global South to demonstrate just transition’s potential to build an upward spiral of ambition and climate action.

Notes to the Editor

About South to South Just Transitions

Led by Climate Strategies, this multi-year project brings together research institutions across nine countries in the Global South, in a novel approach to developing alternative, and context-specific just transition strategies. Partners include: Dala Institute  (Indonesia), Fedesarollo (Colombia), the University of Ghana, the University of Liberal Arts (Bangladesh), EfD Kenya, CEPA (Malawi), Hanoi University of Science and Technology (Vietnam), National University of Laos and Sociedad y Naturaleza (Argentina). Find out more.

About Climate Strategies

Climate Strategies works at the science-policy interface, advancing climate policy through meaningful interactions between decision-makers and researchers across Europe and internationally. We are an international, not-for-profit research network with an expansive network of world-leading researchers as members. Find out more at climatestrategies.org