High-Level Political Forum

Just Transitions for All: Achieving Climate and Social Justice

High-level Political Forum Side Event organized by ILO, UNEP, the Permanent Mission of Belgium, and the Permanent Mission of Morocco to the United Nations


H.E. Ms. Zakia Khattabi, Minister for Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and the Green Deal, Belgium
H.E. Mrs. Leila Benali, Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, Kingdom of Morocco
Senator Dr. Shantal Munro-Knight, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Barbados
Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, Director General, ILO
Ms. Patricia Kameri-Mbote, Director of the Law Division, UNEP
Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Ms. Fathimath Zimna, Secretary General of the Maldives Trade Union Congress
Ms. Sílvia Machado, Senior advisor on Climate, Confederation of Portuguese Business (CIP)
Mr. Rafał Kazimierz Trzaskowski, Chair of the European Union’s Commission for Environment, Climate Change andEnergy and Mayor of Warsaw, Poland
Mr. Steven Collet, Deputy Vice Minister on International Cooperation, Netherlands
Mr. Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Just Transition (TBC)


Midway through to COP28, the event seeks to provide an update on the development of just transition strategies, as called for in the COP27 outcome document. It aims to facilitate a shared understanding of just transition based on national and international guidelines and standards. It will provide a platform to share experiences and best practices on effective policy measures and financing strategies to promote a just transition. The event is structured as an interactive panel discussion around the following three topics:
• Promoting social justice, inclusive and sustainable economies
• Managing and financing the process of transition
• Promoting international cooperation

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Description and background

A transition to net zero – with climate-resilient economies and societies – is indispensable, urgent, and possible. By implementing carefully designed strategies, the shift to a low-carbon economy can create healthier ecosystems and more inclusive and equitable societies that deliver social justice by benefiting workers and communities. It is also imperative for creating more resilient economies. Implementing the Paris Agreement can deliver a wide range of socio-economic benefits including increase access to clean energy, improvements in the quality of jobs, as well as job growth. In the energy sector alone, this can create 24 million new jobs by 2030. Shifting to a circular economy can add another 78 million jobs and creating healthy ecosystems can create another 20 million jobs. Underrepresented groups, including women, Indigenous peoples, youth, and informal workers, risk being denied access to the economic opportunities presented by these structural changes which is why Just Transition strategies are so urgently needed. A Just Transition involves maximizing the social and economic opportunities of climate action, while minimizing and carefully managing any challenges for example job losses, unintended consequences of climate policies, and reducing poverty and inequalities to ensure social justice for all.

Principles and policies to promote climate and social justice must go hand in hand. The Climate Action for Jobs Initiative and the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions seek to create 400 million jobs, particularly in the green, care and digital economies, and extend social protection to an additional 4 billion people. These initiatives help countries create quality jobs while simultaneously delivering on climate goals and supporting those affected by the shift to carbon-neutral economies. Furthermore, aligning financing with a just transition approach optimises positive contributions and prevents and addresses negative consequences arriving from this shift.

As the world prepares for the COP28 conference in the United Arab Emirates, just transition policies are critical to foster sustainable and resilient economies founded on decent work which, in line with the 2030 agenda and targets set out by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fast-track the implementation of Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and Net Zero targets.

This event comes in the aftermath of a landmark International Labour Conference’s discussion on a just transition, including consideration of industrial policies and technology, towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies and in the lead up to the SDG Summit, the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, and the UN Climate Ambition Summit in September 2023.