In his introduction to the workshop, Vice-Minister Kurtyka pointed out the significance of the role of minimising social costs accompanying changes in economies resulting from the transition towards low-carbon economies. “One of our main priorities was to include the subject of a just and socially acceptable transition into the debate on effective climate action,” he said. He pointed out that one of the most important objectives in Katowice was to draw attention to this issue at the highest level – among the heads of states and governments invited to the Summit. “As a result, 55 leaders signed the Silesian Declaration on Just Transition, while we – the Presidency of COP24 – continue our activities in this area this year,” he added.
Solidarity and just transition are key priorities of the Polish Presidency, as well as a key topic of the SPD (Social and Political Drivers Coalition). The workshop that took place is the first event in a series, proposed by the Polish Presidency to spark a debate about effective ways of implementing such a transition. The next meeting on this subject will take place on the 3rd of July 2019. The debate, which is slated to take place there, will constitute the foundation for a package of strategies pertaining to implementing the idea of just transition as a protective shield for societies undergoing economic transitions. The aim of international dialogue is to promote this idea as universal for all regions of the world, regardless of socio-economic contexts.
The President of COP24 Michał Kurtyka stressed that economic changes accompanying the transition of economies towards low emissions will also require interventions in the form of social policies, providing jobs, training and other support for people who previously made their living by working in industries considered harmful to the environment. “We want to promote the view that the changes awaiting us in future should be fully supported by society, which requires us to prevent exclusion. At the same time, the idea of just transition envisions that economic transition, which is of key significance in terms of protecting the climate, will bring about new professions, and thus new opportunities on the labour market,” he added.
The participants talked about the long-term effects of climate change on the economy, societies and the labour market. They also debated the development of policies that will ensure the success of just transition, as well as means of implementing and financing the transition.