There is no one size fits all framework for a just transition.
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.
Year: 2021 Current Project
This project is led by Climate Strategies, in partnership with 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).
Just Transitions in Developing Countries
Developing just transition strategies for countries in the global south can be complex and challenging, with a number of factors to take into consideration. Whilst the principles of a just transition can still be applied – the situations and contexts in these countries are so diverse that each country must tailor and develop their own definition of a just transition. Our previous research in Ghana, Colombia and Indonesia explored how the just transition principles can be tailored and implements in these 3 diverse countries. The research found:
- Developing just transition strategies in global south countries requires establishing and maintaining relationships with relevant stakeholders to enable ownership of the just transition process.
- Collaboration and co-production allow stakeholders to address current and potential inequalities.
- There’s a need to further develop the just transition framework to consider the situation of developing countries.
South to South Just Transitions
This initiative facilitates a south-to-south knowledge sharing network of nine in-country research partners based in different regions across Latin America, Africa and Asia. Working with in-country partners allows for localised and specialised knowledge and understanding to be at the core of this project.
In-country teams are exploring how the just transition concept is embedded in the thinking of different stakeholders and identifying issues that are likely to need managing to achieve a just transition in key sectors. The initiative’s aim is to deepen our understanding of what a just transition means in the Global South, and to identify resources and develop guidance that can help create dialogue and guide planning.
Although each of our country-partners are exploring different elements of just transition, there are several common challenges and opportunities that have been identified as an initial set of guiding principles and solutions.
Much of the labour market in the Global South is informal (and sometimes illegal). Therefore, a just transition must recognise the diversity of working conditions and status. The report highlights that support and resources are needed to engage marginalised groups; this includes capacity building, access to information and recognition and participation in formal processes such as policymaking.
Socio-economic and political context
In many developing countries the socio-economic and political context presents challenges to the successful design and implementation of climate policy. For instance, developing nations face high levels of energy poverty, limited access to electricity, and rising energy consumption they are also more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Many developing countries also have a cultural connection or dependency on natural resources, this coupled with often unclear or unfair land rights makes transition planning challenging.
A just transition lens can unlock progress on cross-cutting socio-economic challenges by ensuring a holistic approach which includes inclusive dialogue on the co-benefits and trade off associated with tackling climate change.
Objectives and opportunities for change include:
There is no one size fits all framework for a just transition, as countries across the world have their own unique contexts, sectors, and cultures. However, through collaboration, commonalities can be found through similar challenges and opportunities. Together we can develop a clearer picture of what just transitions can look like, and importantly, how a just, inclusive approach can accelerate climate action.
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South to South Just Transitions is the latest initiative of Climate Strategies to progress just transition in the Global South. Since COP24 in Katowice in 2018, Climate Strategies has collaborated with researchers across the globe to engage stakeholders on a local, regional, national and global level to understand and explore how a just transition framing can accelerate climate action.
At the following COP25 in Madrid, Climate Strategies hosted a Just Transition Policy Roundtable that included UN and ILO representatives, government representatives, business and trade unions and research institutions, all of which provided a developing country perspective developing countries. Details of this event and further exploration into just transitions in developing countries can be found in our Relection Paper. It highlighted some of the labour-specific challenges to just transition in developing countries, provided guidance for policymakers and identified research and implementation gaps.
In order to address these identified gaps, in 2020 we partnered with in-country researchers in three diverse countries in the Global South: Colombia, Ghana and Indonesia. These case studies confirmed that there is no one size fits all framework for a just transition, and highlighted the importance of working with and empowering local actors to take ownership of the just transition concept. Through this work we produced a set of key guiding principles and recommendations for national governments in advancing the just transition (see Incorporating just transition strategies into developing countries NDCs and Covid-19 responses Comparing insights from Ghana, Colombia, and Indonesia). These can help inform the approach to technical and capacity building support and stakeholder engagement, including the informal economy.
Our South to South initiative now functions like a knowledge and impact network. In each country we have a leading academic partner who leads on research and stakeholder engagement.
Climate Strategies convenes the network and provides guidance, reflection and coherence of methodologies as well as organises global dissemination of research outputs. Our intention is to continue working with all nine countries and expand to more, based on relevant circumstances to the Global South just transition context.
Our latest report
Final report from the previous project phase:
- Incorporating just transition strategies into developing countries NDCs and Covid-19 responses. Comparing insights from Ghana, Colombia and Indonesia
- Indonesia’s Long-Term Strategy for Low Carbon and Climate Resilience 2050 (includes a section on Just Transition following engagement with the project’s local research partner, Dala Institute)
- Media Coverage:
- Op-ed: Climate finance most foster just transition in developing nations (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
- How emerging economies can engage in a just transition (Energy Monitor)
- Incorporating Just Transition Strategies in Developing Countries Nationally Determined Contributions (by Glynn P.J., Błachowicz A., Nicholls M., contribution to Handbook of Climate Change Management).