Social and economic benefits of global ‘green revolution’ at risk, says UNDP report

New York –

Countries that fail to recognize the opportunities offered by a “green revolution” run the risk of increased social inequality, civil unrest and less competitive economies if proposed transitions to greener pathways, according to a new report published today. net zero emissions are not well managed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in view of the upcoming COP27 climate negotiations.

As countries move towards sustainable economies, it is essential that the process is done in a fair and equitable manner. The notion of “just transition” is essential to achieve the global climate goals of the Paris Agreement.

The report finds that “just transition” is now referenced in 38% of the latest national climate commitments under the Paris Agreement and in 56% of long-term strategies, but there is still work to be done .

The report, How Just Transition Can Deliver the Paris Agreement, analyzes both the enhanced short-term climate commitments, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, and the long-term strategies in which countries outline their plans for net zero. It presents the approaches used in five leading just transition countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, India, Serbia and South Africa. It also identifies five key ways in which a just transition can help achieve the Paris Agreement.

“As climate change intensifies and the world faces a huge energy crisis, many countries are decoupling from fossil fuels and investing in the green energy infrastructure of tomorrow – now the only logical economic choice,” says the UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “This new report provides actionable insights on how to accelerate momentum around a just and fair transition for the energy sector and beyond: everything from equipping workers with new green economy and access to social protection; to ensure that countries’ nationally determined contributions chart a clear path to a net-zero future.

The report finds:

  • Of the 170 countries that had submitted an enhanced NDC by October 31, 2022, 65 (38%) explicitly refer to just transition. There is an almost even split between developed and developing countries (51% versus 49%), with Central and Eastern Europe leading, followed by the Americas and the Caribbean, and Africa. Asia-Pacific and the Arab States lag behind. However, only 11 countries (17%) have a dedicated chapter or section in their NDC on just transition.
  • Of the 52 long-term strategies (LTS) submitted as of October 31, 2022, 29 (56%) explicitly refer to a just transition, of which 17 are from countries in Europe and Central Asia, followed by regions in Asia- Pacific and the Americas and the Caribbean. Africa and the Arab States are lagging behind. Even though they are doing better than the short-term plans, only 16 countries (55%) have a chapter or section dedicated to just transition in their LTS.

Encouragingly, most countries with strengthened NDCs referring to just transition link just transition to socio-economic considerations (72%) and/or propose concrete just transition actions and measures (66%).

However, the report finds that countries are failing to link to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or gender equality in short or long-term climate plans – representing a significant missed opportunity. Of the countries referring to a just transition, currently only 6 and 4 countries link the just transition to the Sustainable Development Goals in their NDCs and LTSs respectively, and only 10 and 7 refer to the gender implications of a just transition in their NDCs and LTS respectively.

The report notes that the energy sector receives the most attention for a just transition, however, a comprehensive approach to the whole economy and the whole of society – an approach that addresses all sectors and secures buy-in from all – is needed to bring about the greatest development gains.

As part of the Climate Pledge, UNDP is supporting 34 countries to strengthen just transition principles, processes and practices using the UNDP Framework for Mainstreaming Just Transition into NDCs and LTSs. This support is based on four areas: evaluation; commitment; institutional policy and capacity building, and funding, to increase countries’ awareness of just transition principles, build their capacity to engage in just transition processes, and develop their capacity to implement practices just transition.

To read the full report (accessible after 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (NY) Friday November: https://climatepromise.undp.org/just-transition-report

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