Lessons from the GST to inform a new Just Transition Work Programme that enhances ambition and implementation

Monday, 5th June 2023 | 16:15 – 17:30 CEST | World Conference Center Bonn, Berlin Room

Hosts: Republic of Colombia, Climate Strategies, DIW Berlin

This event aimed to build on the Technical Dialogues (TDs) of the first Global Stocktake to inform the design of a new Work Programme on Just Transition that can both raise ambition and accelerate implementation. We focused on perspectives from the Global South on the role of Just Transitions in building on upward spiral of ambition and climate action. Next to insights from policymakers, academic speakers shared the latest findings from research on integrating justice dimensions into modelling and International Climate Finance (ICF).

Background

Evidence shows a growing recognition of the importance of a just transition in the context of Paris Agreement implementation. Emerging messages from the Technical Dialogues (TD) of the first Global Stocktake (GST) highlight that emissions are not in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 °C. To accelerate collective progress, both ambition and implementation need to increase, which will require systemic transformations across all sectors. Concluding at COP28 in Dubai, the GST will assess fairness and equity considerations of progress towards the Paris Agreement, which can provide Parties with insights to support the design of the new Work Programme on Just Transition to be agreed at COP28.

During the Technical Dialogues, participants have highlighted the role of inclusion and equity, which are key elements of Just Transitions, to build an upward spiral of ambition and climate action. Applying Just Transition principles can ensure carefully designed climate action that maximises social and economic progress and benefits, while minimising disruptions. The new Work Programme on Just Transition therefore provides a critical moment to centre Just Transition principles as key accelerators of progress towards meeting the Paris Agreement goals.

The Just Transitions discourse has, however, only recently begun to reflect perspectives from the Global South, such as the importance of informal workers and the need to expand focus beyond the energy sector. Implementing just transition principles in the Global South is often challenged by distributional consequences, particularly job losses in certain sectors, regions, and/or communities. This is most evident where dependence on fossil fuels or carbon-intensive practices are high and where opportunities for economic diversification are limited.

Discussions during the Technical Dialogues suggest that a Just Transition mechanism under the UNFCCC that builds on existing workstreams and offers capacity-building, exchange of experience and best practices and finance, could foster greater international cooperation.

This event will bring attention to Global South perspectives on the opportunities for national Just Transitions to create enabling environments that both raise the level of ambition and accelerate implementation.

The event is delivered in partnership with the Republic of Colombia, who is advancing on just transitions policies through a economy-wide transformation approach. Firstly, it is set around the commitments under the Paris Agreement, established in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), aiming to reduce 51% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, including a reduction of black carbon emissions by 40%. Also by establishing a roadmap on Just Energy Transition to gradually phase-out fossil fuels, under principles of equity, graduality, sovereignty and reliability; binding social participation; and knowledge.

The third scope responds to the Reindustrialization Policy whose main objective is to move from an extraction economy to a productive and sustainable knowledge economy. Lastly, it is implementing the Just Transition of the Labor Force, in which Colombia recognizes that the transition towards carbon-neutrality, in conjunction with the accelerated technological transformations, generate considerable impacts on the country’s labour force.

Moderator

Dr. Sonja Klinsky is an Associate Professor at the School of Sustainability, Arizona State University. After completing her doctoral work at the University of British Columbia, Sonja Klinsky held post-doctoral fellowships with the Centre for Climate Change Mitigation at the University of Cambridge, and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions in Vancouver, Canada. Her work has continually centered around the justice dilemmas presented by climate change and climate change policy design. Professor Klinsky has been an observer to the UN framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations since 2009 which has been a foundation to her collaborative work with policy-science interface organizations. These collaborations have sought to generate theoretically sound and politically relevant proposals for constructively addressing debates about justice and fairness embedded in climate policy decision-making at all scales. In addition to this policy-oriented work she has also done research on public perceptions of climate justice dilemmas and policy options.

Speakers

Sebastián Carranza Tovar is the Director of Climate Change and Risk Management, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.

He is a chemical engineer with a master’s degree in energy and sustainable development from the Polytechnic School of Montreal, and additional studies in governance and public management. He has over 12 years of experience in environmental governance and project management for climate action, 8 of which as a sustainable development manager, climate change officer, and negotiator for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Additionally, he has experience in Latin America and the Caribbean as an expert in transparency and ambition in climate action, focusing mainly on resilient and low-carbon development, as well as markets for climate action. In the last 4 years, he led the development of implementation plans, economic, financial, regulatory, and technological instruments to structure the international climate commitments of several countries in the region from the regional office of UN Environment for Latin America and the Caribbean.

H.E. Mohamed Ibrahim Nasr Salem is the Lead Negotiator of the Presidency of COP27.

Ambassador Nasr has had career as a diplomat and a negotiator, coupled with an engineering background. Different overseas and main office postings have involved communications between Egyptian and local or international /multilateral officials, including follow up and assessment of a myriad of issues (whether local, bilateral, regional or international). In the past few years Ambassador Nasr has been with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Counsellor, Mission of Egypt to the UN and other Organizations in Geneva. He chaired the Finance Group under the African Group of Negotiators & Lead Coordinator of Finance of the AGN in the UNFCCC process, was a member of the Egyptian delegation to the Conferences of the Parties COP of UNFCCC, COP19 and COP20, and is the Adviser to Green Climate Fund board member from Egypt. He was also a member of the Official Egyptian delegation to the meetings of the African Ministers Responsible for the Environment AMCEN in 2010/2011.

Additionally, he is a Member of the Compliance Committee under the Kyoto Protocol since 2010. He served as the Chair of the African Group of Negotiators under the UNFCCC2018-2019, and most recently as the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Federal Republic of Somalia from 2018-2021. He is the Director of the Climate, Environment and Sustainable Development Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Evelyn Addor is a Development Communication Professional and a Climate Justice Activist from Ghana. She is a trained Climate Reality Leader, a member of the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), and a member of Forest Watch Ghana. Evelyn is passionate about youth and women’s development, sustainable natural resources and environmental governance, climate Justice, accountable and participatory natural resource management, and clean energy.

She currently works with EcoCare Ghana as the Communications Officer and Focal Person for the Climate Generations Project. She is also a Climate Negotiator on Loss and Damage and Action for Climate Empowerment.

Heiner von Luepke

Dr. Heiner von Lüpke is a Senior Researcher at the Climate Policy Department of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). Prior to joining DIW Berlin, he spent 3 years at UN-FAO headquarters working on forest and climate policies, 7.5 years with GIZ as climate policy advisor to the Indonesian government for UNFCCC COP 13, and national climate policy and finance topics. Upon return to Germany, he spent 3 years advising the German government on international climate policy such as NDCs, coal finance phase out and strategies for climate and development support. He holds a B.Sc. and MSc in international forestry sciences, as well as Latin-American studies from Technical University of Dresden and a PhD in political sciences from  Heidelberg University on the topic of cross-sectoral integration of climate policies in Mexico and Indonesia. His currently research interests include interactions of international climate finance flows with national climate and development policies, as a well as international climate cooperation in the context of climate clubs and alliances.

Anabella Rosemberg is a global expert on the social justice dimension of environmental and climate policies, and has worked notably with the trade union movement in developing and advocating for a Just Transition. She’s Senior Advisor on Just Transition for the Climate Action Network (CAN) International and the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)

She is from Argentina, born in the Argentinean Patagonia and lives in Paris.

Anabella has worked as International Programme Director (IPD) at Greenpeace International (2018-2023) and before that, at the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), where she worked globally with unions and other allies in many countries, particularly in the global south, on a range of climate change campaigns and issues.  

Shamim-Mridha

Shamim Ahmed Mridha, from Bangladesh, is one of the youth advisors of the “Asia-Pacific Youth Advisory Group on Environmental and Climate Justice” by UNDP Asia Pacific, UNFCCC, and UN Human Rights. He is the founder of Eco-Network, which is one of the largest youth groups in the Asia-Pacific region. Through his “Climate School” project, he organized various workshops and training programs that provided climate education to more than 50,000 kids and youth. He was given “The Diana Award for 2022” for his work to protect climate, nature, and the environment. He also participated in COP27, the UN Climate Conference, and represented the youth group from Asia and the Pacific. Recently, he has joined the UN Water Conference, which was held in UN Headquarters, while also participating in different side events as a speaker and talking about water, salinity, and WASH. Shamim completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Environmental Science Department, Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP). He has also been involved with the climate movement for the last 4 years and is very active in this field.

Elina Brutschin

Dr. Elina Brutschin joined IIASA as a research scholar in 2019, and works with the IIASA Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) Program, with a research focus on bridging insights from the political economy and modeling studies of energy. In her most recent line of work she has focused on developing tools to evaluate feasibility of ambitious climate scenarios from different perspectives. In her past research she has for example, analyzed political drivers and constraints of investments in renewable energy, the role of international cooperation in the diffusion of nuclear energy and the conditions for a successful coordination of regional gas policies. Dr. Brutschin has published in journals such as Environmental Research Letters, Energy Policy and Energy Economics, and with publishers such as Oxford University Press and Palgrave.

Xolisa J Ngwadla

Xolisa Ngwadla is an Independent Expert practising in the field of climate policy, research and negotiations. He has led the South African delegation to the UNFCCC, as well as the African Group  in the negotiation of the Paris Agreement. He has authored a number of papers and policy briefs on climate change on topics ranging from equity and fairness, conceptualised the Global Goal on Adaptation that was codified in the Paris Climate Agreement. He has authored technical papers and policy briefs on operational aspects such as timelines and cycles of commitments in the Paris Agreement and presided over UNFCCC negotiation themes such as response measures, global stocktake, adaptation, amongst others.

What do we mean by Just Transitions?

Just Transitions can build an upward spiral of climate ambition and action through:

  1. integration and coordination between and within different levels of government and across sectors
  2. clear and consistent policy that supports early planning for long term objectives
  3. inclusive multi-stakeholder engagement in a participatory process
  4. a thriving diversified economy including support for social protection, decent jobs, reskilling, entrepreneurship and innovation
  5. coordinated funding for demand-driven place-based solutions.