COP26: Time to Put a Global Just Transition at the Centre!

November 8, 2021

SOLIDAR strongly believes in the need and urgency for a transition towards climate neutral and more sustainable societies in Europe and all over the planet. However, we are convinced that the transition will only be successful if accompanied by real commitment and action, a clear timeline, as well as appropriate investment towards achieving social justice and the well-being of people. We also strongly believe that these processes should be done in consultation with civil society and the people they represent. This is the only way to create the necessary buy-in and acceptance from citizens for the transformations needed, and it is the just thing to do, because people living in vulnerable situations and poverty are disproportionately affected by the climate and environmental crises, despite being the ones that least contribute to it. They are also the ones paying the price of the transition, should policies remain the same. We must do everything in our power to change this. 

As highlighted by the European Parliament’s Resolution on the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, “achieving climate neutrality goals requires massive investment and an unprecedented transformation of all sectors of our economies; This transformation towards a new sustainable economic model can only be achieved if it guarantees a just transition, which combines social and ecological progress, improves the well-being of people and leaves no one behind”. SOLIDAR agrees that delivering a Just Transition must start with re-shaping our economies to be more equal, inclusive, transparent, democratic, diverse, feminist, collaborative, circular, and sustainable.

Across the European continent, poverty rates and inequality levels in terms of access to universal social protection and other social rights are rising steeply, with millions of people finding themselves at risk of losing jobs, livelihood, and housing – if they have not already. Numerous forms of discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, disability, age and other grounds are still pervasive in Europe, and workers are faced with rising precariousness of work and inadequate working conditions. While reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the European Union and its Member States must tackle inequalities and the unequal access to human rights and essential services from an intersectional perspective, create a new world of work that offers decent, high-quality, decarbonised and sustainable quality jobs for all while strengthening social protection systems, and recognise the role and importance of formal, non-formal and informal education in the process of ensuring a Just Transition. 

The transition must benefit everyone everywhere. This means that climate action must improve the living and working conditions of all people and communities both in the Global South and in the North, to be truly just.  

We therefore call on all Parties involved at COP26 to put Just Transition at the centre. This should be pursued by: 

  • Recognising climate action as an indispensable instrument to reduce social injustice, generate opportunities for people in vulnerable situations and improve people’s wellbeing, quality of life, equality and access to rights. 
  • Upholding the principles of full inclusion and meaningful participation of civil society, trade unions and the most marginalised people in society, which are essential to a Just Transition.  
  • Increasing international climate and development finance and ensuring policy coherence for sustainable development. 

In relation to the Global South: 

  1. Early industrialised countries, with the EU at the forefront, must do their fair share of climate action and contribute to a fully inclusive Just Transition also in developing countries. We must guarantee due diligence and limit offshoring unsustainable production, always mindful that decisions made in the EU have direct consequences in other parts of the world. This recognition must characterise all policy as we are aiming to achieve the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) by 2030. 
  2. Fully inclusive and appropriately funded international cooperation and full support and engagement for multilateral solutions are fundamental tools to support these transition processes globally. Climate finance should be new and additional to development finance and comprise equal levels of mitigation and adaptation finance, as well as new sources to address losses and damages. The target of at least $100bn in climate finance per year for developing countries should be met. All climate and development finance should be aligned with the Paris Agreement long term goals and the SDGs. 
  3. A fair global taxation system and debt cancellation in the framework of international mechanisms is paramount for developing countries to create the fiscal space they need to invest in their Just Transition.  

Further information on COP26: 

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, also known as COP26, is taking place from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow, UK, and is hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy. COP is the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the main intergovernmental treaty established to combat “dangerous human interference with the climate system”. The UNFCCC brings together 197 parties, including all UN member states, the State of Palestine and the European Union as a supranational union. At COP26, the Parties are mainly engaging in global negotiations to finalise the ‘Paris Rulebook’, the rules needed to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, which set the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Find here our joint statement with Social Platform on COP26 ‘Solidarity with people and planet’.

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