ILO COP26 engagements in highlights

The ILO is committed to bold climate action that aligns climate goals with decent work, social justice, and sustainable development. During COP26 the ILO participated in several side events on various climate-related issues including, but not limited to, advancing a just transition, social inclusion, skills and reskilling, youth engagement, indigenous peoples rights and much more. You can find a short summary of the events below, and links to the recordings when available.

Article | 01 November 2021

Working group meeting on Just Transition and Decent Work convened by the ILO

When: Nov 3, 10.00-11.15 GMT
Where: EUROCLIMA+ pavilion
Format: Hybrid
Short description: The meeting aims to promote tripartite dialogue on just transition and decent work with a view to reflect these dimensions in all aspects of the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and ensure that decent work and livelihoods are at the centre of global and national climate action. The objectives are:
  • to take stock of the UNFCCC negotiations in relation to decent work and a just transition and explore ways forward;
  • to exchange experiences and good practices on just transition;
  • to discuss ways to improve the implementation of just transition measures and support to the countries.
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Skills for a just transition to achieve the Paris agreement and the SDGs

When: Nov 3, 14:15-15:30 GMT
Where: SDG Pavilion, Hall 4 PV06
Format: Hybrid – speakers in person, participation online.
Short description: ILO research indicates that 100 million jobs can be created through transitioning to renewable energy and a circular economy. However, this job potential depend on large investments into skilling and re-skilling workers to fully reap the benefits of a just transition for climate action. This session will ask what big data can tell us about the labor market trends for green jobs, as well as policy makers and youth advocates lessons learned for greening jobs and economies.

Open event for external participants.

List of speakers:
  • Ms Sue Duke, Vice President, Head of Global Public Policy, LinkedIn
  • Mr. Peter Schmidt, President of NAT Section, European Economic and Social Commission (EESC)
  • Mr. Vladislav Kaim, UN Secretary General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change
  • Mr. Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Global Coordinator, Green Jobs, ILO
Moderator: Ms. Mette Grangaard Lund, Technical Officer, Green Jobs, ILO

COP26 Energy day, opening plenary

When: Nov 4, 09.30-11.00 GMT
Where: Plenary discussion – Carin Gorm, Vic Van Vuuren, Director, Enterprises Department, ILO will moderate the session.
Short description: This event will be a culmination of a significant campaign undertaken in the months leading up to COP, centered on the objective of consigning coal to history in a just and inclusive energy transition. The primary set of events for Energy Day will focus on different commitments to which countries and non-state actors have pledged their support, and set the stage for this narrative throughout the day. The event will also launch the Just Transition Declaration and explore the future agenda for collaboration in this sector under the Glasgow Power Breakthrough.

  • Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng, United Kingdom
  • Minister Malik Aslam, Pakistan
  • Third Deputy Prime Minister Teresa Ribera, Spain (Video)
  • Secretary Jennifer Granholm, United States of America
  • Minister Svenja Schulze, Germany (Video)
  • Ms Sharan Burrow, General-Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

MDB Support for a Just Transition - From Common Principles, to Policy Support and Finance for a Just Transition

When: Nov 4, 12.00-13.00 GMT
Where: MDB Pavilion, PV28
Format: In-person and streamed through EBRD’s YouTube channel. Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Global Coordinator, Green Jobs, ILO to speak. Please find the recorded live-stream here
Short description: Event hosted in the MDB (Multinational Development Banks) Pavilion featuring the MDB Paris Alignment Working Group, country representatives from Indonesia and Ukraine, UNFCC and International Labour Organization. This special event will bring together MDB, country and civil society speakers to discuss the role of MDBs in supporting a just transition, and opportunities for collaboration. Speakers will introduce the joint MDB work on just transition – including the Common Principles for MDB Support to a Just Transition – and provide country perspectives on just transition challenges and opportunities.

The WIM ExCom COP 26 Side Event Moving forward: presenting the work of the WIM ExCom and its five expert groups

When: Nov 4, 13:15- 14:30 GMT
Where: Room: Strangford Lough
Format: In-person and online. Maikel Lieuw-Kie-Song, Expert, Employment-Intensive Investments, Development and Investment, ILO to intervene. Please find the recorded livestream here.
Short description: This event will showcase the progress in the implementation of the work plan of the WIM ExCom and its expert groups and discuss opportunities for the broad range of stakeholders to contribute to the upcoming thematic activities to assist actions in averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage. The event serves as an interface between the WIM ExCom community and a broad range of organizations and stakeholders in upcoming work.

Just Transition in the Pacific and Climate Action for Jobs

When: Nov 4, 23:30- 01:00 GMT
Where: Online, Pacific Regional Resilience Hub. Recording may be accessed at the Resilience Hub. Please register to watch.
Format: Online
Short description: This dialogue will focus on Just Transition efforts within the region by highlighting what activities countries have already undertaken and discussing what future plans they have to take climate action and ensure people’s jobs and well-being are at the centre of the transition to a carbon-neutral and climate-resilient economy. This will include an emphasis on disaster resilience and recovery efforts and building back better following the COVID-19 pandemic. The dialogue will be conducted online.

Climate change response through green jobs for youth

When: Nov 5, 11.30-13.00 GMT
Where: IFAD pavilion
Format: In-person side-event. Drew Gardiner, Employment Policy Specialist, ILO to speak
Short description: The focus of this particular side event is on the Climate Change response through Green Jobs for Youth. The event will both leverage on key innovative approaches and results within the IFAD climate change response umbrella, in particular the:
  1. Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme.
  2. The Green Growth and Jobs work stream that is currently being implemented within the “Creating Rural Youth Employment Opportunities: Support to Integrated Agribusiness Hubs in Africa” programme.

Voices of a just and green transition – youth, workers and private sector

When: Nov 5, 13.00- 14.00 GMT
Where: State of Green/Danish Pavilion, blue zone hall 4, PV34 
Format: In-person side-event.
Short description: State of Green is a Danish PPP promoting Danish sustainable solutions and technology. The panel will Include UN Youth Delegate from Denmark, Pension Denmark, ITUC, Ørsted, the Engineers union of UK and ILO.

  • Nadia Gullestrup Christensen, Youth Delegate to the UN from Denmark
  • Samantha Smith, director of ITUC Just transition Centre
  • Emil Damgaard Grann, Lead Public Affairs Advisor, Ørsted
  • Alana Collis, IChemE Learned Society and Policy Manager, Institution of Chemical
  • Engineers, United Kingdom, Co-Chair Future Climate-Engineering Solutions
  • Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Global Coordinator, Green Jobs, Enterprises Department, ILO
 Moderator: Helen Watts, Student Energy

Uncovering justice gaps in Just Transitions – why technological solutions won’t solve the crises

When:  Nov 5, 16.45- 18.00 GMT
Where: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, online streaming.
Format: In-person side-event, Rishabh Dhir, Research Officer, ILO will speak.
Short description: There are justice gaps in just transitions! Looking at local and national transition debates and initiatives, we will showcase justice implications of different visions and narratives for low-carbon mobility and sustainability transitions and uncover justice gaps in technology-driven approaches. Crucial Role Climate Literacy Plays in Building a Just Green Global Economy – The Economic Value of Climate Literacy

When: Nov 5, 17.00- 18.30 GMT
Where: The Nature Positive Pavilion
Format: In-person side-event, Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Global Coordinator, Green Jobs, ILO to speak.
Short description: Workforce leaders and government agency officials emphasize the nexus between climate literacy, green jobs, and a sustainable economy.

Is 1.5 degrees within reach for Asia Pacific region?

When: Nov 8, 2021 11:30- 12:45 GMT
Where: COP26 online side-event.
Format: Participation for delegates only, external observers. Please find the recorded live-stream here.
Short description: This side event provided a space for dialogue among regional member States and stakeholders, and identified opportunities and tools for raising the GHG emissions reduction ambition while supporting a just transition in the Asia-Pacific region. It also identified how the UN system in the region is supporting raising ambition levels in NDCs to meet the 1.5℃ Paris Agreement target. UNDP, UN-Women, ILO, UNICEF as members of the Issue-Based Coalition on Climate Change Mitigation and Air Pollution provided support in organizing this event.

Zimbabwe’s Low Carbon and Green Growth Development Strategies

When: Nov 8, 17.00- 18.00 GMT
Where: NDC Partnership at COP26, The NDC Partnership’s in Zone D, Hall 4, PV36
Format: In-person panel, and live streamed on Facebook. Marek Harsdorff, Economist, Green Jobs, ILO to speak. Please find the recorded live-stream here.
Short description: The goal of the Side Event is to profile and strengthen partnerships to Zimbabwe’s Low Carbon and Green Growth Development Strategies. The Side Event seeks to create a shared understanding of Zimbabwe’s commitments to combatting global climate change while remaining steeped in national circumstances, capabilities and identification of needs in terms of means of implementation and support.

Opportunities and Challenges for a Just Transition in the Pacific (key messages attached)

When: Nov 9, 22:00- 23:30 GMT
Where: Online, Pacific Regional Resilience Hub; recording can be accessed at the Resilience Hub. Please register to watch.
Format: Laurel Anderson Hoffner, Consultant for Environment, Gender, and a Just Transition Decent Work Team. International Labour Organization to speak.
Short description: The event convened a panel of experts and country representatives to share insights and exchange perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in considering a Just Transition in the context of the Pacific countries, what support may be needed to facilitate such transition, and how multilateral institutions may provide support. Speakers at this session emphasized that Just Transition principles need to be integrated into existing national and sectoral policies, that inclusive social dialogue is critical to a successful transformation, and that Just Transition principles need to be gender responsive and localized to individual country contexts.

Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security (PCCMHS) Programme

When: Nov 9, 23:30- 00:30 GMT
Where: Online, Pacific Regional Resilience Hub; recording may now be accessed at the Resilience Hub. Please register to watch.
Short description: Human mobility, human rights and climate change are interlinked. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, among other international instruments and processes, recognize human mobility in the context of the adverse effects of climate change—including migration, displacement and planned relocation—as a humanitarian, development and human rights challenge. HS partners will share experiences in and lessons from implementing a human rights-based approach to the protection of communities and persons who are displaced internally and across borders due to the adverse effects of climate change.

Climate change and local action (Local responses to climate change)

When: November 10, 9:45 to 10:45 GMT
Where: Francophonie Pavillion
Format: Hybrid / In-person
Short description: The session highlighted how the local governments can in cooperation with local communities can adapt to the effects of climate change. This was highlighted through a ILO supported EIIP project in Tunisia. This project highlighted the importance of strengthening local government, as well as the involvement of affected communities to identify adaptation and other infrastructure priorities, as well as using more environmentally sustainable responses to address local needs, such as maximizing the use of local construction materials. All while maximizing job creation for the local population.
  • Leila Chikaoui, Minister fo Envirnment Tunisia, Mondher BOUSNINA
  • Aide Robbana, UN Habitat, North Africa
  • Jad Boubaker, Chief Technical Advisor ILO
  • Adel ben Youssef, University of Cote d’Azur
  • Amel Makhlouf, Climat-Med, EU

High Level Meeting of Caring for Climate

When: 10 November, 10.00- 11.30 GMT
Where: Climate Action Room 2, Hydro, Blue Zone at COP26.
Format: In-person high-level meeting, chaired by Vic Van Vuuren, Director, Enterprises Department, ILO.
Short description: The ninth annual High-Level Meeting of Caring for Climate, convened by the UN Global Compact together with UNEP and UN Climate Change, will take the form of a hybrid meeting, hosted in the Blue Zone while being live streamed and embedded in a virtual conference to reach a broad audience. The gathering aims to bring forward a strong business message of climate ambition and help to scale and speed climate finance. The high-level meeting will introduce the first Global Standard for Net-Zero Business by the Science-Based Targets initiative and draw on the achievements of how credible science-based targets are contributing to halving global emissions by 2030 to help raise the ambition of country contributions in order to maintain a habitable planet for humankind. Secondly, the meeting seeks to mobilize further efforts for rapid financial, technological and social transformation at scale to keep a 1.5°C future within reach and enable Financing a Just Transition of all sectors. Executive leaders representing initiatives such as the Race to Zero, Business Ambition for 1.5°C, Race to Resilience and the UN-convened Net-Zero Banking Alliance will engage in an interactive dialogue, presenting announcements tackling today’s twin crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate emergency.

Green bang for the buck - measuring the climate and job effects of just transition plans and NDCs

When: Nov 10, 11.00- 12.00 GMT
Where: NDC Partnership at COP26, The NDC Partnership’s in Zone D, Hall 4, PV36
Format: In-person panel, and live-streamed on Facebook for external participants too. Please find the recorded live-stream here.
Short description: By better understanding green jobs and just transition pathways, governments are analysing the employment and climate impacts of their NDCs. This session will focus on; How governments can get the best return on investment can be made in terms of climate action, employment and social justice; How can we create policies that support a just transition coupling climate action with decent job creation? And what are some regional and national differences and similarities across the World?

  • Dr. Peter Tafa, Director, Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, Nigeria
  • Mr. Washington Zhakata, Director, Climate Change Management Department, UNFCCC/GCF Focal Point, Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry
  • Ms. Angelina Mensah, Director, Corporate Communication, Environmental Protection Agency Ghana
  • Mr. Neil Walker, Head of Energy, Environment and Infrastructure, IBEC, Ireland
  • Mr. Josua Mata, General Secretary, SENTRO, Philippines
  • Dr. Jae-hyeon Park, President, Asia Water Forum
Moderator: Marek Harsdorff, Economist, Green Jobs, ILO

Mobilizing finance to address climate risk and restore biodiversity while ensuring healthy diets for all

When: Nov 10, 11.30- 14.00 GMT 
Where: WWF Panda Hub, Please find the recorded live-stream here.
Format: In-person and online, Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Global Coordinator, Green Jobs, ILO to speak.
Short description: This event will examine the critical link between Diets, Climate, and Nature in achieving a 1.5°C future. These agendas are inextricably linked, and their success or failure ultimately depends on the extent to which the right balance is found. The session on mobilizing finance will bring together stakeholders from the world of finance, investment, civil society, and food production to discuss how the public and private sectors can work together to mobilize finance to address climate risk and restore biodiversity while ensuring healthy diets for all. 

WBA side event: Partnerships, Policy and Investment for a Just Transition

When: Nov 10, 15.30- 16.30 GMT
Where: EU Pavilion, the programme can be accessed here.
Format: Online panel, Mette Grangaard Lund, Technical Officer, ILO will speak
Short description: Building on evidence of corporate performance brought to life through WBA’s Just Transition Assessments, the panel will explore the partnerships, policy and investment opportunities to enable an equitable transition to a low-carbon economy. The session will also discuss the challenges and opportunities for specific industries and the climate scenarios and sectoral pathways needed for companies to report on this. Practical applications of benchmarks/assessments and partnerships for collective action will frame the outcomes.

UNFCCC COP26 side-event: Achieving a Just Transition towards Net Zero: Challenges and opportunities with a focus on Africa

When: Nov 11, 11:30-12:45 GMT
Where: Glen Africa (Multimedia Studio 3)
Format: Hybrid, panelists in person, delegate participants only. Online external observers can join via Youtube. Please find the recorded live-stream here.
Short description: A just transition is a whole-of-society approach that links climate action to social justice. The ILO Guidelines for a just transition is a roadmap for governments to sustainable future which leaves no-one behind. This session focuses on the just transition framework, countries experiences and business insights from across the World with a particular focus on priorities of African countries.

Framing question just transition from global to African concept: Ms. Fatima Denton, Director, United Nations University - Institute for Natural resources in Africa (UNU-INRA)
Closing remark: Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, Director, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
Moderated by: Mr. Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Global Coordinator, Green Jobs, ILO

Panel discussion including questions and answers:
  • Dr. Medrilzam, Director of Environmental Affairs, Ministry of National Development Planning, Indonesia
  • Ms. Nisreen Elsaim, United Nations Secretary-General Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change
  • Ms. Rhoda Boateng, ITUC Africa
  • Mr. Cas Coovadia, International Organisation of Employers Management Board member, Business Unity South Africa