UN brings Just Transition into draft Copenhagen text
In the first draft text for the crucial Copenhagen agreement on climate change this December, the UN has brought into play the trade union call for Just Transition to a low carbon future into its ‘shared vision’ for long-term cooperative action between developed and developing countries.
The text says:
An economic transition is needed that shifts global economic growth patterns towards a low emission economy based on more sustainable production and consumption, promoting sustainable lifestyles and climate-resilient development while ensuring a just transition of the workforce. The active participation of all stakeholders in this transition should be sought, be they governmental, private business or civil society, including the youth and addressing the need for gender equity.
For the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) the Copenhagen agreement depends fundamentally on the successful transition of all economies to a low carbon future – in developed and developing countries alike. This means engaging not just Governments but civil society – of which we are a key part. Trade unions taking part in the ITUC’s Copenhagen working group, from both North and South, have spent many hours in discussion on how to build the notions of fairness and social justice into this transition.
We agree with a forecast of the impact of climate change policies undertaken by the ETUC for the EU:
Climate change represents an unprecedented challenge for employment policies and for the social partners: the anticipated job gains and losses are sizeable, and no sector can afford to ignore the consequences of climate change.
Jobs gained and displaced will vary between sectors, and over time and place.
Some ITUC affiliates in the North have expressed concern over carbon leakage, while affiliates in the South, on the climate change frontline, know from experience that the balance sheet is currently negative and getting worse. The adaptation challenges are enormous. Unions unite behind a call for a fair and just transition. Now, with the UN tabling its opening text for discussion in Bonn in early June 2009, our challenge is to keep it there, build on it, and win support from our governments.