The EU at UN Climate Ambition Summit: balancing environmental and social priorities for a global just transition

As world leaders are meeting in New York, for the UN General Assembly high-level week, on Wednesday the 20th the United Nations Secretary-General Guterres is convening a Climate Ambition Summit. The aim of the Summit is to push and accelerate actions by governments, business, civil society and other stakeholders for a just transition to a global economy that respects planetary boundaries. 

Why is the Summit important? 

As the world is not on track to reduce emissions and limit global warming, and in view of the upcoming COP28, the Summit aims to represent a “critical political milestone”, demonstrating that there is collective global will to accelerate the pace and scale of a just transition. It revolves around three main acceleration tracks: ambition, credibility and implementation, and government leaders will be expected to present updated pre 2030 National Determined Contributions (as agreed in Glasgow), updated net-zero targets, new energy transition plans and economy-wide plans on adaptation and resilience 

The role of the EU 

Both President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will participate to the Climate Ambition Summit, presenting the EU priorities that will shape EU’s actions at the UN for the coming year. These revolve around three main points: 

  • Accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); 

  • Strengthening global governance; 

  • Building global partnerships to help achieve our common goals.  

Among its priorities, the EU commits to increase its efforts towards the full and timely implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as well as to promote a human rights-based and gender-responsive approach to climate action, promoting social justice, fairness and inclusiveness in the global transition towards climate neutrality. Furthermore, to foster social inclusion and social justice, the EU commits to promote an inclusive social dialogue on issues such as advancing universal social protection, creating decent jobs, or enhancing green and digital skills.  

SOLIDAR welcomes the abovementioned commitments. However, EU’s climate ambitions need to start ensuring policy coherence for development tackling the negative effects of EU policies in partner countries. 

The EU’s ambitions should be to equip the European Green Deal, the main package of policies to set the EU on the path to a green transition, with a strong external dimension, so that it becomes a Global Green Deal. This will ensure that the European green transition does not become a burden for partner countries and will ensure a fair distribution of the costs of the transition between Europe and partner countries. 

Finally, as stated in its Call to Action published on the occasion of the informal meeting of EU Ministers of Environment and Energy in July 2023 in Valladolid (Spain), SOLIDAR reiterates the paramount importance for the EU to promote climate action and social justice as one coherent and mutually reinforcing agenda and forge a socio-ecological welfare state defined by wellbeing within planetary boundaries for a Global Just Transition. 


Credits image: UN Climate Action Graphics