Frameworks for Just Transition Processes

About This Opportunity

Developing a national Just Transition strategy, or frameworks for mainstreaming and tracking a Just Transition across government, is important to ensure a coherent approach. This might start with a clear vision of what a Just Transition would look like for the country, region, or community, which can be very helpful as a starting point to meaningfully engage with stakeholders and impacted communities. Deciding collaboratively on the underpinning principles, the desired goals, and the processes to get there can form a Just Transition framework. Without a framework, different government departments might pursue climate action policies with unintended consequences for workers and communities. A framework ensures a coordinated approach that considers both emissions reduction and social justice. A framework empowers decision-making by helping to identify potential risks, and establishing clear goals and strategies that support action and allow for measuring progress. A clear plan for a Just Transition demonstrates a government’s commitment to a socially responsible approach to climate action. This attracts investment and builds trust with stakeholders.

The following strategies could help to implement this Opportunity:

Developing a Just Transition framework:

A national Just Transition strategy or framework can provide a clear and coordinated approach that outlines the principles, goals, and pathways for a Just Transition aligned with the NDC. This can be referenced in the NDC, to demonstrate how Just Transition considerations and wider objectives have informed NDC goals. For example, this could be included in any preamble, national circumstances, or other contextual information. A framework could establish a dedicated inter-ministerial body or coordination mechanism to oversee the implementation of the Just Transition strategy and ensure collaboration across relevant government departments. Setting a common vision is a useful first step to establishing such a framework. Stakeholder engagement can be integrated throughout the process to ensure the transition is truly just – they can support decisions on the guiding principles that underpin the Just Transition, the goals they want to achieve, and the Just Transition processes to be implemented for the Just Transition. See “Opportunity: Cross-cutting Enablers and Collaborative Approaches” for information on setting some guiding principles for a Just Transition.

Broad frameworks can be used as a basis for more localized strategies. For example, the ILO have identified key elements that constitute a basic framework to address the challenges of a Just Transition (see Guidelines for a Just Transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all (ILO)) and present an action framework for a Just Transition (see :Achieving a Just Transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all” (ILO)).

Mainstreaming Just Transitions:

Setting out clear Just Transition criteria can guide decision-making across government and clarify the role of investors. For example, the Just Transition Criteria defined by Impact Taskforce allows for easier identification of investment products and solutions that are aligned with a Just Transition. These are:

  • Advancing climate and environmental action – including greenhouse gas emission mitigation, reduction, and removal.
  • Improving socio-economic distribution and equity – through, for example, social protection systems and inclusive opportunities for decent work.
  • Increasing community voice – through, for example, engagement and dialogue with affected communities that are often excluded and marginalized.

Policy reviews across relevant ministries can identify areas where Just Transition principles can be integrated. This could include economic policies, social protection policies and programs, and industrial development strategies. Training and capacity-building programs for government officials at all levels on Just Transition principles and best practices support mainstreaming into their work.

Monitoring progress on Just Transitions:

Social, economic, and environmental indicators can be used to track progress towards achievement of Just Transition goals outlined in the NDC. These indicators should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART), and disaggregated by region, sector, and/or community. Collecting and analyzing data on the social and economic impacts (including workforce enablers) of climate action policies is important for enabling the monitoring of progress and informing future adjustments. These activities can build on existing processes, such as SDG and national development plan tracking. Transparent reporting mechanisms can be integrated into a Just Transition framework, allowing for regular updates on the progress made towards goals, including publicly accessible reports and stakeholder consultations.

Country Examples

South Africa was the first country to include Just Transition considerations in its INDC and has adopted a Just Transition Framework, which acts as a planning tool for achieving a Just Transition in the country. The framework sets out the actions that the government and its social partners will take to achieve a Just Transition and the outcomes to be realized in the short, medium, and long term. The purpose is not to deal with climate mitigation and adaptation policies per se, but to focus on managing the social and economic consequences of those policies while putting human development concerns at the center of decision-making. The Just Transition framework is organized into seven main sections: foundations on which the framework builds, the definition of a Just Transition for South Africa, principles to guide the transition, at-risk sectors, and value chains, key policy areas to give effect to the transitional effective governance arrangements, and financing a Just Transition. (Source: ”Just Transition Framework, Climate Commission”).

Ukraine’s NDC update mentions the full-scale implementation of the program on Just Transition for coal regions. The Ministry of Territories and Communities Development and the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry were commissioned to develop the program by the end of 2021, and an interim report was published in 2020. According to the interim report, the general objective of the program is the development of the state in a socially, humanly, economically, ecologically, environmentally, and environmentally friendly way. The specific focus will be on the socio-economic transformation of territories undergoing the phase-out of coal mining and processing. Key components of the program are investment development in coal mining areas, social support for miners, proactive policy in the labor market, diversification of the local economy, as well as a comfortable environment and development of mining towns and cities. (Source: Just Transition in National Climate Plans, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung).

Further Resources

The following guidance and tools can provide further support for frameworks for Just Transition processes in NDCs.

Framework For Incorporating Just Transition into NDCs and LT-LEDS (UNDP, 2022)
This report unpacks what a Just Transition means to UNDP, highlights why it is key to achieving the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and presents global and regional trends on Just Transition. It also provides a deeper look into UNDP’s Framework for Incorporating Just Transition into NDCs and LTS and highlights, through country case studies, how UNDP is supporting this work in Serbia, South Africa, Costa Rica, India and Antigua and Barbuda.

The Guidelines For A just Transition towards Environmentally Sustainable Economies and Societies for All (ILO, 2015)
Prepared following an ILO Tripartite Meeting of Experts in 2015, the document reflects the views and perspectives of governments, employers, and workers’ organizations. As a globally endorsed framework, the Guidelines are both a policy framework and a practical tool to help countries at all levels of development manage the Just Transition to carbon-neutral economies and can also help them achieve their NDC and the 2030 SDGs. These Guidelines were endorsed by ILO’s 187 Member States at the 111 International Labour Conference in 2023. They present guidance related to nine key policy areas, including industrial and sectoral policies, social dialogue, social protection, and skills development.

How Just Transition Can Help Deliver the Paris Agreement (UNDP, 2022)
This report unpacks what a Just Transition means, highlights why it is key to achieving the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and presents global and regional trends on Just Transition. It provides five key ways that a Just Transition can help to achieve the Paris Agreement. It also provides a deeper look into UNDP’s Framework for Incorporating Just Transition into NDCs and LTS and includes a range of case studies.

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.

Achieving A just Transition Towards Environmentally Sustainable Economies- and Societies-for-All (ILO, 2023)
This document summarizes employment, economic, and social impacts of a Just Transition towards inclusive and environmentally sustainable economies and societies. It includes an action framework for a Just Transition, which reflects policy coherence and coordination.

Framework for Enhancing Gender and Poverty Integration in Climate Finance (UNDP, 2021)
The framework responds to a central topic for the green economic recovery agenda regarding the mobilization of resources, supporting fiscal policies that helps in climate actions that scale up social protection, strengthen gender equality, reduce poverty, and address inequalities. It proposes four pillars to be applied across public, innovative, and multilateral funding sources to integrate gender equality and poverty reduction in climate finance: governance, resource planning and allocation, accountability, and capacity building.

Just Transition Policy Brief: Greening Macroeconomic Policies (ILO, 2022)
This policy brief is intended to present the linkages between Just Transition and macroeconomic and growth policies, providing stakeholders with information and recommendations for implementation.

Emerging Technologies, Innovations, and Policy Gaps in The Green Energy Transition: Opportunities for the Acceleration of NDC Implementation In Arab States  (UNDP, 2024)
This policy brief examines technologies, innovations and policy gaps in renewables, energy efficiency, and hydrogen across 17 Arab States and presents recommendations for practical steps to advance the green energy transition in the region.

ILO’s Strategy and Action Plan on Just Transition (ILO, 2023)
This document proposes a strategy and action plan to give effect to the resolution concerning a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 111th Session in June 2023.

Renewable energy targets in 2022: A guide to design (IRENA, 2022)
This report sets out to support governments in designing renewable energy targets that can help achieve these pressing objectives. The report presents an overview of the latest updates in climate commitments made ahead of COP27, focusing on the renewable energy targets in NDCs. The analysis illustrates the existing mismatch between renewable targets in NDCs and those set in national energy plans, after presenting the latest trends in targets and an analysis of the level of ambition in renewable power targets globally.

How This Links to Other Routes

A framework for Just Transition processes cuts across all the Routes, but some important linkages include the following. Navigate to these to read more:

Route: Technically Sound and Transparent Documents

Just Transition frameworks strengthen the technical foundation of the NDC by providing clearer, and more measurable strategies and promoting transparency.

Route: Technology and Capacity-Building as Needs and Enablers

Just Transition frameworks help to identify those most vulnerable/affected and their specific needs. They can also reveal needs for specific technologies and infrastructure.

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

Just Transition frameworks promote collaboration between government, businesses, and civil society, creating a shared responsibility for achieving NDC goals and broader ownership.

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.