Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has called on governments of the African continent to embrace the Just Transition in managing the effects of the climate change.
Okonjo-Iweala stated this as a panelist at the World of Work Summit at the on-going 111th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) of the ILO in Geneva, Switzerland.
A Just Transition means greening the economy in a way that is “as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind”.
Okonjo-Iweala said that it was imperative for governments to embrace the Just Transition as the world moves from fossil to green energy to mitigate the impacts caused by climate change.
According to her, we need and deserve a just transition not only in Nigeria but in the whole of Africa.
“We need time to be able to take care of the implications of labour, on any transition that we are going to make, which we should do, to get to net zero by whether its 2050 or 2060.
“We have to craft appropriate social policy so that people do not get stressed and paid too higher price,” she said.
She said that the Just Transition needs to be planned not only by Nigeria but Africa in general for a smooth transition.
“I am talking about social policies, making sure that people have alternatives.
“They have adequate income to be able to care for themselves during these transitions, we can create enough jobs.
“We have a lot of young people, that’s really my biggest concern.
“So let’s do things and transition to renewable in a way that creates jobs,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
The WTO Director General added that the Just Transition Programme is inevitable and so has to be planned by all.
The Just Transition also involves maximising the social and economic opportunities of climate action, while minimising and carefully managing any challenges including through effective social dialogue among all groups impacted, and respect for fundamental labour principles and rights.
The ILO Guidelines for a Just Transition to Environmentally Sustainable Economies and Societies for All adopted in 2015 by tripartite consensus, provide detailed guidance in this regard.
The 111th Session of the ILC which started on June 5, 2023, ended on June 16.
By Joan Nwagwu