"The transition must accelerate. (...) Only a transition that challenges systems of exclusion and discrimination, and seeks to improve prosperity and well-being for all, can be considered a truly Just Transition." This was one of the main messages presented by UNRISD on behalf of the Just Transition Research Collaborative
to participants at the UN Climate Conference, COP24, currently under way in Katowice, Poland.
This message is contained in Mapping Just Transition(s) to a Low-Carbon World
, the state-of-the-art report on ways to achieve a socially equitable transition away from fossil fuels and towards low-carbon development. The report was written by the Just Transition Research Collaborative, which brings together experts from academia and civil society to collectively map and analyse the different understandings and narratives of “Just Transition” underpinning the concept’s growing popularity and uptake. Challenging the narrow interpretation of Just Transition that seeks to protect a relatively small number of affected workers, the report calls for profound change and an intersectional approach to climate justice.
The Collaborative is run jointly by UNRISD and the University of London Institute in Paris, and supported by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung.
The UNRISD lead of the Just Transition Research Collaborative, Dunja Krause, travelled (by train and bus) to Poland to launch the report at three different events during COP24
, in order to maximize potential uptake. Launching the report at COP24—in the presence of governments, United Nations organizations, civil society and the private sector—is an important way of contributing to the science-policy dialogue on Just Transition and supporting policy makers to make better decisions on how to combine the environmental goal of shifting to low-carbon development with social considerations of equity and justice. The research shows that although challenging and complex, Just Transitions are possible through direct engagement with workers, and through government investment in infrastructure and social welfare programmes, among many other initiatives discussed.
The findings struck a chord with many present at COP24, and resonate with the growing recognition of the need not only to respond to climate change but to respond equitably. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres told world leaders at the conference, “Climate action is not just the right thing to do—it makes social and economic sense.”