Trade Unions Begin a Journey Towards Defining and Developing A Just Transition Policy Framework For Africa

22 to 24th may 2018 Lagos - Nigeria
Keywords : Activities Nigeria

As part of a series of initiatives jointly implemented by ITUC-Africa and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), the Africa climate change activists are now embarking on a process of conceptualizing, defining and developing a Just Transition policy framework for Africa.

May 31

This initiative - to define and develop a policy framework on Just Transition which speaks to the realities of the African continent - was conceived a few years ago and is supported by different stakeholders including the ITUC Just Transition Center, the Green Jobs Department of the International Labor Organizatin (ILO), the sub Regional Trade Union Organizations and allies from the environmental justice NGOs such as Friends of the Earth.

To kick start the conversation, a consultative meeting was held in Lagos from 22 - 24 May 2018.

This meeting brought together 18 participants from the ITUC-Africa climate change network as well as other stakeholders from Environmental NGOS, Global Union Federations, the ITUC Just Transition Center and the ILO.

The main objective of the meeting was to identify and discuss existing examples of Just Transition initiatives within specific sectors such as the transport and energy sectors in Africa as well as reflect on the elements to consider in developing a Just Transition framework for Africa.

Among issues highlighted, the Meeting reiterated that industrialization for Africa is imperative. Nonetheless, participants in the consultative meeting also acknowledged that there is the opportunity for Africa to industrialize in a sustainable way taking into account the fact that Africa remains the most vulnerable in the face of the current ecological crises.

In developing a policy framework for Africa - therefore - the Meeting agreed that this policy should be anchored on the ILO Decent Work Agenda. In essence, a Just Transition should advance the element of Job Creation - noteworthy - Decent and Green Jobs. Furthermore, a Just Transition policy framework which speaks to the reality of the African continent should include the principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC); Social Protection for vulnerable groups such as women, young persons, precarious workers in the formal sector, informalised workers in the informal sector, persons living with disabilities, persons living in areas with high susceptibility to climate change, internally displaced persons, unemployed persons as a result of job loss through transitioning to low carbon emitting sectors. Additionally, a Just Transition Framework for Africa must make provisions for the retraining and reskilling of workers in affected sectors. These workers must be absorbed in new sectors that would emerge.

Importantly, participants stressed the need for Social Dialogue to underpin the processes of a Just Transition for Africa.

Finally, the meeting emphasized that a Just Transition policy framework for Africa must take on board the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR). It is important that industrialized countries take up the responsibility of financing adaptation measures of developing states.

Overall, the three day meeting presented the space for initial reflection on the content of a Just Transition framework for Africa. A very engaged group reaffirmed their commitment to taking forward the work with the overall objective of developing a Just Transition framework which speaks to the realities of Africa over the coming months.

ITUC-Africa looks forward to leading this process with the support of the Trades Unions Competence Center of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

We also look forward to the support and contributions from affiliates as well as all other stakeholders in realizing this objective of developing and adopting a Just Transition policy framework for Africa.

We believe this process is crucial in advancing our work on addressing climate change and protecting our environment.

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