COP22: Workers and education at heart of ‘just transition’ to greener economy

published 8 November 2016 updated 14 November 2016

Education International is joining those advocating for a “just transition” to a greener economy and reiterating that education is a powerful tool to counter climate change, at the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

One hundred countries have ratified the COP21 Agreement, demonstrating the significant and increasing awareness of the international community of the serious challenges represented by climate change. This marks a positive start to the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is being held from 7-18 November in Marrakech, Morocco. The COP21 Agreement was signed last year in Paris, France.

Insufficient measures

However, it is clear that the commitments by countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient to reach the objective to limit temperature rise to 2°C by 2020. Should this threshold be trespassed, the world will face severe economic, social, environmental and human risks.

African angle

At the conference opening, Ségolène Royal, who chaired COP21, said that the COP22 must be the “African COP”. Given that 36 of the 50 countries most affected by climate change are located in sub-Saharan Africa, Education International (EI) understands the urgency of significant financial resources being allocated to strengthen the national capacities of the countries hardest hit by these changes. For EI, a critical issue over the coming days will be to determine how many resources are needed and when they should be allocated.

Centrality of education

EI acknowledges that many of the medium- and long-term challenges raised by climate change require structural changes which must be taken into account by unions. The transition towards a global economy with low carbon emissions will have a significant impact on workers, as well as on education and training. That is why EI supports the demand for a “just transition” proposed by the trade union sector.