COP23: Paris Agreement goals still not matched by strong governance mechanisms

photo: Photo: Spielvogel

Trade unions expressed concern at the closing of the annual gathering of the United Nations climate change convention in Bonn over the limited progress made in building the strong governance, oversight and action which will prevent runaway climate change.

“The union movement left Paris in 2015 with the promise that the nationally determined contributions (NDC) and the periodic process of review of ambition would be designed in a way that would bridge the gap between the 2 degree objective and current national pledges,” said Sharan Burrow, International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary. “We leave Bonn without any certainty that both these processes will lead to ambitious governance structures.”

Trade unions expressed satisfaction over the support obtained to couple climate policies with Just Transition strategies, aimed at accompanying workers and communities in the transition towards a low-carbon society.

“The support for Just Transition policies is now visible and robust among all climate stakeholders: from environmental groups to businesses, from regional governments to national ones. The importance of a social pact as a driver to low-carbon economics means we can grow ambition faster, in line with what science tells us,” said Burrow.

2018 is the year when the promises to deliver a Just Transition need to become real for millions of workers and communities. Ahead of COP24 in Katowice, Poland, unions are calling for a “Katowice plan of action for Just Transition.”

“The Fijian and Polish governments, who will act as COP Presidencies over the next year, must create the space for a high-level ministerial commitment to Just Transition for workers and communities with a ‘Katowice plan of action for Just Transition’.”

COP24 will be held in the vibrant region of Upper Silesia with a long coal-mining history, giving the international community a chance to recognise and respond to communities’ concerns about their future,” concluded Burrow.

See the ETUC Response to COP23, with a call for “Katowice Plan of Action for Just Transition