UN climate change conference

The ILO at COP28

This year, at COP28, the ILO is working to advance ambitious climate action with decent work and a just transition for all. The ILO is co-hosting the Just Transition Pavilion and will be supporting constituents throughout the negotiations, in particular with regards to the Just Transition Work Programme.

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The 28th session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) will take place from 30 November to 12 December 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. COP28 marks a critical moment of intensifying a triple planetary crisis, which is interlinked and cascading effects of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. At this pivotal juncture, there is an ever-growing urgency for ambitious action and global cooperation in a tense international political context.

Highlighted ILO initiatives at COP28

Just Transition Pavilion: The ILO and the European Commission are hosting the Just Transition pavilion together with IOE, ITUC and UNFCCC. The pavilion will provide a space for ILO tripartite constituents and institutional partners to convene events, engage in informal exchanges and develop partnerships to advance climate action from the perspectives of ILO’s mandate. The official opening of the Just Transition Pavilion (Area B7, Building 88, third floor) takes place on 4 December at 10:30-11:00.

High-level dialogue on delivering a gender-responsive just transition for all: COP27 mandated the ILO and UNFCCC to organize a one-day high-level discussion at COP28 to highlight the nexus between climate change and action, gender equality, inclusion and the world of work. This full-day event is combining a high-level dialogue in the morning with an interactive world café session in the afternoon. It will take place on 3 December and open for participants (Meeting Room 02, Blue Zone). For more information on the high-level dialogue and workshop please contact gedi@ilo.org. The outcome of this event will inform the Gender Equality Day on 4 December and will link with Finance, Trade and Accountability Day to promote modalities and accountability concerning increased finance flows and resource allocations to women and girls, including through women’s organizations, where the ILO will also partaking in the COP Presidency’s Ministerial Dialogue on Gender-Responsive Just Transitions & Climate Finance.

ILO-IsDB Youth Green Skills Accelerator Challenge Call: Following a successful experience last year, the ILO and Islamic Development Bank launched a new IsDB-ILO Youth Green Skills Accelerator Challenge Call 2023. The challenge call on "From Crises to Resilience: Empowering Youth for a Greener Future," aims to identify skilling solutions for post-crisis situations, focusing on building back better and greener. You can meet the winners, when they will be announced on 8 December from 14:00-15:00 in the Pavilion of the Islamic Development Bank (Building Number: B6, Pavilion Number: 73, Blue Zone).

Launch of ILO-IsDB report on Green Jobs in the MENA region: This joint regional study by the ILO and the Islamic Development Bank will present scenarios of decarbonization in the Middle East and North Africa region and their potential implications on employment and the advancement of social justice. The report will contribute to building a positive narrative for a just transition and economic diversification, as well as transformation in fossil fuel dependent countries. The report is launched on 3 December 15:00-15:50 in the Just Transition Pavilion (Area B7, Building 88, third floor).

“Friends of just transition”: At COP27, the ILO established a group of “Friends of just transition”. The group rallies COP negotiators, observers and experts for informal diplomacy to advance the decent work and social justice objectives in UNFCCC processes. At COP28, the “Friends of just transition” group aims to contribute to the negotiations, share experiences, forge partnerships and promote greater international cooperation.

The Just Transition Work Programme

The imperative of a just transition was cemented in the Paris Agreement of 2015. It was subsequently reaffirmed at COP27 by the Cover Decision in the Sharm el Sheikh Implementation Plan, which sets forth a historic new work programme on just transition. The ILO welcomes the efforts of Parties to elevate the work and prominence of Just Transition within the COP process. The ILO submitted their input to the parties and co-chairs in advance of the negotiations, these can be found here.

With the 2023 Resolution and conclusions on a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all, the ILO has a newly reinvigorated mandate, as the only tripartite specialized UN agency representing governments, employers and workers, in advancing a just transition in the multilateral system including the United Nations climate processes. Therefore, the ILO will be supporting ILO constituents in their just transition advocacy at COP28.

The ILO particularly calls for a just transition work programme which:
  • Ensures policy coherence between the UNFCCC work on just transition, the ILO just transition guidelines and the ILO Resolution on Just Transition. The UN Secretary General has called on all UN members to use the ILO Just Transition Guidelines. We hope to see this well reflected in the work program.
  • Is solidly based on social dialogue, decent work, and labour rights. This means, to particularly acknowledge the role of the social partners throughout the Work Programme, including in workshops and capacity building sessions, high-level ministerial meetings and expert bodies
  • Is holistic and covers all three dimensions of sustainable development. A just transition is not limited to mitigation, the energy sector, or certain geographies. A just transition must truly be for all, this include workers, affected communities but also businesses, in particular SMEs that risk being left behind in the transition. Therefore, the ILO guidelines is a holistic policy guidance document covering nine policy areas, showing the breadth of the agenda.
ILO delegates to COP28 will engage in the various negotiating streams as UN observers, to foster policy coherence between ambitious climate action, the promotion of decent work and the advancement of social justice. Particular attention will be given to the negotiations on a just transition, climate change mitigation, loss and damage, climate financing, gender and non-discrimination, the inclusion of indigenous and tribal peoples and persons with disabilities.

ILO key messages to climate negotiators and observers:
  • Build on the ILO Guidelines for a just transition as the central reference for policy making and basis for action on just transition;
  • Provide means of action, including financing, to operationalize the inclusion of decent work and just transition objectives in the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and plans for Net Zero;
  • Foster inclusive and non-discriminatory approaches to climate and just transition policies, ensuring the full engagement of governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations at all levels.

ILO work on just transition

ILO’s work on just transition aims to maximize opportunities for employment and income growth, advance social justice and labour rights, and minimize the risks of social disruption, including business closure and loss of business assets, jobs and livelihoods, and growing inequalities, in the context of environmental and climate change, and decarbonization. For more information on the ILO’s work on just transition, please see the ILO green jobs page.