From the TUC

Carbon Diary: UN – back to the future for Just Transition

15 Apr 2010, by in Environment, Equality, International

“We will have to keep on working at national level to ensure Governments commit to an ambitious climate change treaty that includes the principles of just transition & decent work”.  This is the message from the ITUC’s representatives in Bonn as the UN ends the first of the 2010 round of negotiations on a global climate treaty.

The Copenhagen Accord, remember, was silent on labour and human rights. So we need to meet UK officials again, to ensure that our case for just transition is made afresh. And as climate change impacts increasingly affect life and livelihood in developing countries (see Oxfam’s report), so the ITUC will want to join forces with human rights campaigners to unify our demands. 

So the UN is drafting text for its next session in Bonn, set for two weeks from 31 May 2010. It has asked for Government input by 26 April. The UN’s report will combine these submissions with the Copenhagen Accord and other text already on the table, on Long-term Cooperative Action between Governments –including draft commitments on just transition and human rights.

Getting Just Transition into the UN agreement will hopefully spur many other Governments on to the action at national level taken by the UK Government. A national Forum for a Just Transition was set up in December 2009, “advise and provide oversight on the rapid economic and social transition to a low carbon future.”

Creating the joint Government-industry-TUC body is central to the Government’s Low Carbon Industry Strategy. The first two stakeholder meetings focussed on accelerating a mass market in low emission vehicles; building supply chains for the low carbon energy; public procurement; and skills for the new green economy – all TUC priorities.

So this is what the UN has adopted in draft so far, that:

  • Climate change requires a paradigm shift towards building a low emission society that offers substantial opportunities and ensures continued high growth and sustainable development, based on innovative technologies and more sustainable production and consumption, while ensuring a just transition of the workforce that creates decent work and quality jobs.
  • A broad range of stakeholders needs to be engaged on global, regional, national and local levels, be they governmental, private business or civil society, including the youth and persons with disability.
  • Gender equality and the effective participation of women and indigenous peoples are important for effective action on all aspects of climate change.
  • The adverse effects of climate change have a range of direct and indirect implications for the full enjoyment of human rights, including living well, and that the effects of climate change will be felt most acutely by those parts of the population that are already vulnerable owing to youth, gender, age or disability.

The UN will draft a roadmap for reaching a new agreement – inviting Governments to comment by 4 May 2010. Joint sessions on the Kyoto Protocol and Long-Term Co-operative action have been agreed. And two more UN meetings will be needed between Bonn in June and Cancun in December – here, the ITUC has appealed for delegates to be available for these as well.

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