ILO welcomes COP27 progress on social dimensions of climate change

The ILO presence at COP27 focused on highlighting the importance of a just transition in climate change responses, and included new initiatives on youth, financing and knowledge exchange.

News | 21 November 2022
© COP27
GENEVA (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) has welcomed the outcomes of the UN Climate Change Conference, which closed on 20 November after two weeks of discussions. The meeting, also known as COP27, produced a landmark outcome to provide "loss and damage" funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters.

Governments attending the meeting also agreed on a package of decisions reaffirming their commitment to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“COP27 outcomes take the global community forward on collective action to implement policies to combat the impact of climate change,” said Moustapha Kamal Gueye, ILO Global Coordinator for Green Jobs. “The conclusions include pathways to a just transition, based on meaningful and effective social dialogue, and recognizing the role of employment policies, such as social protection, in tackling the impact of climate change.”

The ILO has been spearheading efforts to integrate the social dimensions of climate change into key international climate policy processes since the start of the COP process in 1995. During the conference, held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the ILO oversaw more than 35 thematic events in a Just Transition Pavilion, built to focus attention on the social aspects of climate change transition and the importance of building a just transition into adaptation and mitigation processes.

Events at the Pavilion included the launch of a new “Green Jobs for Youth Pact” initiative, which aims to help close the skills gap for young people, and the unveiling of a Just Transition Finance Tool on Banking and Investment Activities, developed together with the London School of Economics’ Grantham Research Institute, to help financial institutions embed a just transition dimension throughout their operations.

A range of ILO knowledge products were launched during COP27. These included a Just Transition Policy Brief series, designed to improve technical and policy understanding of the application of ILO’s Guidelines for a Just Transition towards Environmentally Sustainable Economies and Societies for All, and a new report on the role enterprises can play in the green transition.

The Just transition Knowledge Hub, located in the Pavilion, served as a forum for delegates to share information on how to operationalize just transition policies and practices, at company, sectoral, national and regional levels. Other events highlighted the importance of social dialogue, and issues related to social inclusion and vulnerable groups – including women, indigenous people, migrants and persons with disabilities – who risk being disproportionally affected by the transition.

The Just Transition Pavilion was jointly hosted by the ILO and the European Commission, with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It served as a hub for hundreds of delegates, including representatives from international organizations, governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, the private sector, academia and youth associations.

Joost Korte, Director-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, said, “we are extremely happy that with the colleagues of the International Labour Organization we set up this first ever Just Transition Pavilion. It is an important topic that we are discussing and is, what I hope, going be a very important and interesting process for all of us.”

"The global labour movement mobilised at COP27 to have an ambitious climate agreement. We need a labour focused just transition with social dialogue, social protection and labour rights at its heart. The ILO Just Transition Pavilion contributed to this effort with its many activities and high visibility," said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

“The ILO did a great job with the first ever Just Transition Pavilion at COP27, we're proud to have been part of this effort to create a highly visible space for convening employers and workers and promote their experiences, challenges and priorities,” said Roberto Suárez Santos, Secretary-General of the International Organisation of Employers.