High-level session looks at Just Energy Transitions to accelerate achieving of the SDGs

Held during the 3rd edition of the Finance in Common Summit 2022, co-organized by the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank, the session focused on the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy technologies to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Speakers highlighted, among others, how to steer investments to maximise the impact on jobs, create quality jobs with access to social protection, manage risk and protect vulnerable populations to make the energy transition ‘Just’ for all. The Summit was held from 18-20 October.

News | 21 October 2022
Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire – Held from 18-20 October, the 3rd edition of the Finance in Common Summit, operating under the theme “Green and Just transition for a sustainable recovery”, provided an opportunity to highlight the key role of Public Development Banks in supporting the transformation of economies and financial systems towards sustainability.

Given the impacts of the COVID 19 crisis on reversing decades of economic investments and social progress, the need to mainstream green and just transition principles in all financial actors’ investments and operations is now more critical than ever to build back greener and fairer.

The high-level panel event held on 19 October, entitled “Powering the SDGs with the Just Energy Transition (JET)” provided a platform to hear participants perspectives on a range of topics from moving away from fossil fuels to renewables energy technologies to financing the transition to cleaner energy sources, including financing gaps, to steering investments to maximize employment impacts and create decent jobs with access to social protection for all.
Speakers at this high-level event included Kevin Kariuki, Vice President, Climate and Green Growth, AfDB; Rania A. Al-Maschat, Minister of International Cooperation, Egypt; Karin Isaksson, Managing Director, Nordic Development Fund; Zeph Nhleko, Chief Economist, Development Bank of Southern Africa, and; Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa.

When asked how to ensure that energy transitions are just, the ILO Regional Director stated, “we have to recognize that the impact of energy transition on labour markets are not the same across or within regions, or countries”.

She emphasized three essential ingredients that ensure energy transition will lead to progress on Sustainable Development Goal 8 on Achieving Decent Jobs for all. First, effective action requiring an understanding of opportunities to create decent jobs and awareness of negative impacts on labour markets within and across countries is critical. Second, mindful and strategic investments in jobs to positively impact the labour market are needed. Third, making Energy Transition a “Just Transition” calls for strategic investments in people. She added that skills development is a key enabler of the Just Energy Transition. In addition, social protection is a crucial element of this goal, providing security and protection for those at risk of losing a job, allowing time to develop skills for workers to transition to a new job, and promoting human dignity.

“The ILO, in coordination with the African Union, aims to increase social protection coverage from 15 to at least 40 per cent by 2025,” added the ILO Regional Director.

The ILO Regional Director highlighted how the ILO Guidelines for a Just Transition towards Environmentally Sustainable Economies and Societies for All, adopted in 2015 through tripartite consensus, offered a comprehensive policy framework and a practical tool for a just energy transition that ensures that job and income gains are maximised, risks are offset, and vulnerable people are protected.

The Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transition, launched by the UN Secretary-General in 2021, was also highlighted by the Regional Director as an excellent framework to boost public and private investments in key sectors of the economy, including the green and energy sectors, with a financing pillar that allows development banks to join a coalition of governments, workers and employers’ organizations, UN organizations, IFIs and civil society that create the conditions for private investments to support the Just Energy Transition and ensure positive social impacts.

“Through participation in the Global Accelerator, development banks put humans at the centre of development through social progress, including in trade agreements and private and public investments.”