As we approach COP26, parties to the UNFCCC are questioning how to increase ambition in Nationally Determined Contributions while addressing domestic issues of inequality and unemployment, particularly in developing countries.

Climate Strategies produced this reflection paper to explore how developing and least developed countries can incorporate just transition principles into their revised NDCs, enabling more ambitious and equitable emission reduction strategies.

Reflections in this paper are derived from:

  • Background indicators drawn from a literature review
  • Initiatives of various international bodies
  • A Climate Strategies Policy Roundtable of high-level representatives from a range of interested stakeholder groups held at COP25
  • Case studies of four Latin American countries.

The paper explains the concept of a just transition in the developing country context; provides guidance on the drafting of just transition language in NDCs; suggests a timeline for each stage of the process; and identifies the resources available to assist in implementation. By following this guidance, developing country governments can deliver on their commitments to the Paris Agreement and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all, as well as manage social challenges that may arise from their climate strategies. International climate agreements have begun to acknowledge the social impacts of climate change policy.

The Paris Agreement requires parties to acknowledge the imperative of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs as part of their commitments to the agreement’s emission reduction goals. The audience for this paper is those responsible for the development of NDCs in developing countries.