Ensuring Empowerment and Action for All

About This Opportunity

Education and empowerment of all members of society to make climate-conscious decisions and acts support a Just Transition. This is important because mitigating climate change and reducing its impacts in an effective way require actions at all levels from all types of people and communities, ensuring ‘no one is left behind’.  Different approaches might be needed to reach and engage various audiences with different levels of empowerment.

Ensuring the current and future workforce are fully equipped with the skills necessary to address the climate crisis can also ensure that key actions can be delivered. It can also help to unlock wider support for the transitions needed to long-term, low carbon, resilient future, accelerating the implementation of NDC commitments. Skills for a green transformation, or Green Skills, are essential for countries to achieve their climate goals.  These can be brought to the potential workforce through, for example, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), basic skilling, reskilling, and upskilling. Education for sustainable development can also be provided in schools, youth- and community centers.

The following strategies could help to implement this Opportunity:

Empowering all members of society through ACE and its elements:

The key components of the 10-year Glasgow work program (GWP) on Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) include climate education, training, public participation, and access to information, along with international cooperation. These can be integrated into NDCs by incorporating climate science into national curricula and offering capacity-building programs. The workforce can be empowered through programs aiming to enhance green skills, with such skills crucial to the implementation of NDCs. Transparent communication and public participation mechanisms, like online forums or advisory committees, enhance implementation through the promotion of ownership and trust. Establishing a central repository for climate data enables independent monitoring – see “Opportunity: Enhancing and Integrating Data Across Government.” Collaboration with media outlets can promote responsible reporting. International cooperation facilitates knowledge exchange among countries facing similar challenges. Implementation of ACE elements can be strengthened through policy coherence, strengthening coordination at international and national levels, building partnerships, enhancing access to tools and support, and strengthening monitoring, evaluation, and reporting.

Undertaking social dialogue and stakeholder engagement on Just Transitions to make NDC content inclusive:

Incorporating mechanisms for stakeholder engagement and participation in NDC development and implementation ensures diverse perspectives are considered and builds broad support for climate action. Engagement supports prioritization of measures that promote equity and social justice – See “Opportunity: Incorporating all Voices and Ensuring Inclusive Engagement.”

Mainstreaming gender and fostering gender-responsive approaches:

A country could leverage its NDC to mainstream gender equality and promote effective climate action that benefits everyone. The five priority areas set out in the Enhanced Lima work program on gender and its gender action plan (UNFCCC) could be used as a basis for identification and prioritization of local actions in NDCs 3.0:

  1. Capacity-building, knowledge management and communication
  2. Gender balance, participation, and women’s leadership
  3. Coherence
  4. Gender-responsive implementation and means of implementation
  5. Monitoring and reporting
Integrating perspectives of vulnerable groups and communities and reflecting human rights:

In order to ensure the perspectives of those most vulnerable to impacts of the transition – such as a shift away from fossil fuels, and agricultural transitions – are integrated in an NDC and reflect human rights for all, ‘three key steps for integrating rights in NDCs’ can be referred to as part of the Toolkit for Integrating Human Rights in Nationally Determined Contributions (CIEL & OHCHR). Applying the steps in the toolkit can support equitable outcomes for example in Indigenous Peoples and local communities (including rural communities), fossil-fuel-oriented workforces, and youth groups.

Understanding needs around, and taking action on, green jobs and skills

Meeting ambitious climate goals requires a workforce that implement actions. This will necessitate the development of new green jobs, as well as the evolution of existing jobs to align with the transition towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy. Jobs in conventional industries, such as those relating to fossil fuels will decline, whereas jobs in renewable energy industries will increase, but the need for green jobs and skills is not only confined to the energy sector. New technologies and priorities, plus the need to respond to the impacts of climate change, are likely to alter jobs and ways of working across sectors, for instance, in agriculture and land use, transport, heavy industries, mining, and manufacturing and more. New technologies may also introduce the need for new green skills and different skillsets amongst workers (see “Route: Technology and Capacity-Building as Needs and Enablers”). Understanding the impacts of the climate transition on the labor market will help countries ensure their climate policies are sensitive to these impacts, and ensure wider policies (e.g. economic policies, education policies) address needs in this area. This requires an understanding of the kinds of green skills that will be needed, to support the development of, for instance, targeted workforce training programs that will enable priority actions. LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report provides insights on how the climate transition is impacting jobs and skills, while Just Transition Policy Brief: Green Works to Support a Just Transition (ILO) and Just Transition Policy Brief: Skills Development for a Just Transition (ILO) provide recommendations for policymakers on how to implement policies in the areas of green works and skills respectively. The Toolbox on Skills for a Green Transformation (GIZ) provides further guidance and resources/tools for addressing green skills both at the policy level and the implementation level. See “Opportunity: Identifying Capacity-Building and Technical Assistance Needs” for further information on identifying capacity-building needs. See also “Opportunity: Exploring Sector-Specific Opportunities” for information on some of the sectoral transitions needed to support the “global efforts” and outcomes of the First Global Stocktake.

Country Examples

Antigua and Barbuda has worked to create a gender-responsive NDC, aligning with other gender strategies and plans such as the Gender Action Plan of the UNFCCC, and has committed to ensuring a Just Transition to end poverty in all its forms, including “through the implementation of appropriate social protection systems and measures for all” and “building the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters”. The document outlines a financial strategy to support gender-responsive and socially inclusive implementation of the NDC, offering options to allocate funds to vulnerable communities and individuals at higher risk of climate impacts. Detailed technical analyses, including the National Gender Assessment Survey, were conducted to identify opportunities for cost reduction and manage transitional risks while recognizing the roles of men, women, and youth. The NDC emphasizes public participation and engagement with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, social institutions, and gender equality groups throughout the planning and implementation process, with specific consultations held with farmers and fisher folk vulnerable to natural hazards and disasters. A Policy Brief on the Gendered Impacts of Climate Change and Disaster Risk in Antigua and Barbuda also presents key local issues and solutions in an accessible way. (Source: “Antigua and Barbuda’s NDC, UNFCCC”).

Serbia’s NDC, updated in 2022, took into consideration the Just Transition Roadmap for Serbia and the Gender equality strategy for the 2021 to 2030 period. The NDC and its Low Carbon Development Strategy were crafted with careful consideration of the economic, environmental, and social impacts of mitigation actions, ensuring a balance between emission reduction targets and associated costs and impacts on GDP growth, employment, and household energy costs. Stakeholder involvement was achieved through public consultations, working groups, and online surveys, facilitating data collection and ensuring a broad representation of perspectives and expertise in the development process. (Source: “Serbia’s NDC, UNFCCC”).

Further Resources

The following guidance and tools can provide further support for ensuring empowerment and action for all in NDCs.

Capacity-Building Resources For Climate Action: Effective Capacity-Building And Mainstreaming Human Rights, Gender, Indigenous Peoples’ Knowledge, Education & Youth (UNFCCC, No date)
This booklet is part of a series of six showcasing and facilitating access to capacity-building-related products and activities of UNFCCC bodies, entities and processes.

Toolkit For Integrating Human Rights In Nationally Determined Contributions (CIEL & OHCHR, 2022)
The toolkit consists of seven sections: 1. Human Rights Considerations Related to Ambition; 2. Participatory Planning and Implementation of the NDC; 3. Integrating Human Rights in the NDC; 4. Mainstreaming Gender across the NDC; 5. Integrating Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Traditional Knowledge; 6. Land Tenure and Community-Based Natural Resource Management; 7. Aligning the NDC with the Imperative of a Just Transition. The included guiding questions can be applied and used as practical tools to inform the development and updating of NDCs in accordance with relevant international instruments.

The NDC Partnership: Collated Resources to Help You Link Gender and Climate Action (NDCP, 2019)
The NDC Partnership has compiled a selection of useful tools to support gender-responsive NDC planning and implementation. The NDC Partnership’s Knowledge Portal has dozens of resources specifically geared to integrating gender equality and climate action.  In the Climate Toolbox alone, there are 93 relevant tools created by the Partnership’s network of leading climate and gender institutions.

National Tripartite Social Dialogue (ILO, 2013)
An ILO guide for improved governance, this is a global tool for establishing or strengthening tripartite mechanisms and institutions. The ILO exists to serve its tripartite constituents: government, employers’ organizations and workers’ organizations.

Gender Responsive Indicators: Gender and NDC Planning Implementation (UNDP, 2020)
This document focuses on developing gender-responsive indicators for the implementation and tracking progress of NDCs. It outlines the importance of both quantitative and qualitative indicators in measuring gender-related changes and ensuring equal participation and benefits. The guidance includes steps for developing these indicators and highlights challenges such as collecting and analyzing sex-disaggregated data and ensuring activities are gender-sensitive.

Gender Analysis and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): Short Guidance for Government Stakeholders (UNDP, 2019)
This document offers guidance for integrating gender considerations into NDC processes, emphasizing the importance of gender analysis in achieving inclusive and effective climate action. It outlines the steps for conducting sectoral gender analyses, identifying gender-specific impacts, needs, and opportunities within climate change initiatives. The guidance covers policy alignment, institutional coordination, capacity building, sex-disaggregated data, and dedicated financial resources to ensure gender-responsive climate actions.

Building Gender-Responsive NDCs (NDCP, 2020)
This Insight Brief by the NDC Partnership emphasizes the importance of integrating gender equality into the planning and implementation of NDCs under the Paris Agreement. It shares insights on effective practices, barriers, and the need for gender mainstreaming in climate action, aiming to enhance gender responsiveness in future NDC updates and implementations.

Gender Equality in National Climate Action: Planning for Gender-responsive NDCs (UNDP, 2018)
This report offers an evaluation of the current state of gender equality within national climate policy, considering the Paris Agreement. Additionally, it outlines a framework for incorporating gender equality into the planning and execution of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Integrating Action for Climate Empowerment into Nationally Determined Contributions: A short guide for countries (UNESCO, 2020)
The guide focuses on integrating Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) into NDCs, emphasizing the importance of education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information, and international cooperation to enhance climate action and policy.

Action For Climate Empowerment: Guidelines For Accelerating Solutions Through Education, Training And Public Awareness (UNESCO, 2016)
This publication offers a comprehensive framework to advance climate change education, training, and public awareness. Aligned with Article 6 of the UNFCCC, the guidelines advocate for integrating climate change themes into formal education curricula, promoting public understanding through targeted awareness campaigns, facilitating public access to information, encouraging active participation in climate action, and fostering international collaboration. By emphasizing these pillars, the guidelines seek to empower individuals and communities worldwide to contribute effectively to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

LinkedIn’s Green Gender Gap Report (LinkedIn, 2023)
This report examines differences between how men and women around the world engage in the green economy. It presents steps workers, industry, and government can take to maximize the workers prepared to contribute to climate action and increase the likelihood that the benefits of the transition, including economic, are more widely shared across the entire population.

LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report (LinkedIn, 2023)
LinkedIn uses insights from its Economic Graph, the digital representation of the economy it generates from more than 1 billion global members, 65 million+ companies, and millions of job postings to provide insights on how the climate transition is impacting jobs and skills. The Global Green Skills Report examines workforce readiness for the climate transition.

Toolbox on Skills for a Green Transformation (GIZ, 2023)
This toolbox provides tools and approaches on how to systematically address green skills in policy as well as at the implementation level.

Just Transition Policy Brief: Green Works to Support a Just Transition (ILO, 2022)
This policy brief is intended to present the linkages between Just Transition and green works, providing stakeholders with information and recommendations for implementation.

Just Transition Policy Brief: Skills Development for a Just Transition (ILO, 2022)
This policy brief is intended to present the linkages between Just Transition and skills development, providing stakeholders with information and recommendations for implementation. It includes four key recommendations for Just Transitions, linked to governments, employers’ organizations, trade unions, and education and training institutions.

Just Transition Policy Brief: Social Protection for a Just Transition (ILO, 2023)
This policy brief aims to provide a clear overview of how social protection can help prevent or address potential adverse effects of climate change and contribute to a Just Transition by supporting people to meet the new requirements of the world of work – as part of coherent policies in line with the Just Transition Guidelines.

Just Transition Policy Brief: The Role of Active Labour Market Policies for a Just Transition (ILO, 2023)
This policy brief seeks to illustrate how Active Labor Market Policies (ALMPs) can facilitate a Just Transition. It advocates for an integrated approach that considers both ALMPs and income support to address adverse effects of climate change and potentially negative impacts of green policies and investments, and to facilitate the transition of workers and enterprises to new requirements in the world of work.

Just Transition Policy Brief: Occupational Safety and Health in a Just Transition (ILO, 2023)
This policy brief is intended to present the linkages between Just Transition and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), providing stakeholders with information and recommendations for implementation.

Just Transition Policy Brief: Gender Equality, Labour and a Just Transition for All (ILO, 2022)
This policy brief is intended to present the linkages between Just Transition and gender equality and labor, providing stakeholders with information and recommendations for implementation.

Stakeholder Participation Guide (ICAT, 2020)
This guide is part of a series developed by the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) to help countries assess the impacts of policies and actions. It provides guidance to help users conduct effective stakeholder participation in support of these impact assessments, and goes beyond impact assessment, such as to support policy design and implementation. It provides practical guidance on planning and implementing effective participatory processes, which is important for procedural justice.

Good Governance for Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategies (WRI, 2019)
This paper explores country experiences with long-term climate and development planning and provides an overview of their governance approaches and institutional arrangements. The paper reveals that there are both common and diverse governance and institutional arrangements for their development and implementation. It looks at the importance of public voice and participation in developing climate action and has a checklist for countries to use to support consideration of governance issues that may influence the effectiveness.

An Introduction to Climate Change and Human Rights, Paris Committee on Capacity Building (OHCHR and UNFCCC, 2021)
This online learning course addresses the human rights impacts of climate change and explains the corresponding human rights obligations to take more ambitious action to mitigate emissions, to support adaptation that benefits persons, groups and peoples in vulnerable situations, and to address loss and damage.

Fact Sheet No. 38: Frequently Asked Questions on Human Rights and Climate Change (OHCHR, 2021)
This publication addresses frequently asked questions regarding human rights and climate change, including impacts of climate change on human rights, human rights obligations in the context of climate change, and responsibilities of businesses.

Key messages on Human Rights and Climate Change (OHCHR, 2016)
These Key Messages on Human Rights and Climate Change highlight the essential human rights obligations and responsibilities of States and other duty-bearers (including businesses) and their implications for climate change-related agreements, policies, and actions.

Key messages on Human Rights, Climate Change and Business (OHCHR, 2021)
These Key Messages explore the main legal and policy implications of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for States and businesses with respect to climate change.

Key Messages on human rights, climate change and migration (OHCHR, 2021)
These Key Messages highlight the obligations and responsibilities of States and other duty-bearers to address the human mobility challenges created by climate change.

Key Messages on Human Rights and Loss and Damage (OHCHR, 2023)
Climate Change is already having negative impacts on a wide range of human rights, including the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, water and sanitation, food, life and culture. These Key Messages describe human rights obligations related to loss and damage from climate change.

Key Messages on Human Rights and a Just Transition (OHCHR and ILO, 2023)
These Key Messages articulate human rights obligations for the achievement of a just transition towards a human rights economy that is fair, equitable, inclusive and sustainable.

Key Messages on renewable energy and the right to development: realizing human rights for sustainable development (OHCHR, 2022)
These Key Messages describe human rights obligations and responsibilities related to production and access to renewable energy.

The Electricity Transition Playbook (Climate Compatible Growth, 2023)
This course will offer a practical guide to help your country navigate through the complex journey of the electricity transition. It’s a tailored approach to shape the electricity landscape of each nation. It features nine interconnected building blocks of electricity transition with resources for each. It provides a Progressive scorecard to empower each nation to measure its readiness for transition, and it has a community of growing knowledge to share best practice and support each other.

How This Links to Other Routes

Ensuring empowerment and action for all is relevant across the Routes, but some important linkages include the following. Navigate to these to read more:

Route: Unlocks Finance

NDCs that demonstrate inclusivity and empower all stakeholders are considered more socially responsible, which may attract investors who prioritize ESG factors (Environmental, Social, and Governance). Empowering stakeholders can also ensure a project is sustainable in the long run, increasing its financial appeal.

Route: Technology and Capacity-Building as Needs and Enablers

Engaging stakeholders, helps identify areas where capacity building, such as skills training, is needed to support effective climate action.

Route: Mobilizes All-Of-Government and All-Of-Society

An inclusive cross-sectoral process increases trust in the NDC, and maximizes the tools, programs, and expertise that can contribute to climate action and economic inclusion. It identifies and upholds the role of different segments of society as agents of change.

Additional Opportunities

The following Opportunities are a non-exhaustive set of options for enhancing NDC Just Transition processes.

Support Opportunities

Support is available to countries to apply the learning from the navigator and develop ambitious NDCs 3.0.

Share Additional Resources

Contribute new guidance, tools and strategies to be reflected in the NDC 3.0.