Just Transition as a Driver of Inclusive Action

Susan Mwangi, MCCJ Collaborator

The impact of climate change on the workforce remains a critical area of discussion, emphasizing the importance of addressing this issue. The concept of a ‘just transition’, pioneered by trade unions, was underscored as a means to elevate environmental goals while considering the welfare of workers and communities. Genuine inclusive policies, encompassing social dialogue, labor rights, social protection, and skills development, were identified as vital elements for fostering societal support and facilitating structural changes. As we become cognizant of the need for workers’ rights to be upheld in the context of the triple planetary crisis, the involvement of all actors and players is crucial to ensure a sustainable society.

As a representative of faith actors, I found myself challenged to review my role and consider collaborating with trade unions to realize the aspect of just transition for the communities I represent. Sometimes, biases exist toward unions, yet they play a significant role in realizing the Catholic teachings of the Church. This realization urged me to explore opportunities for collaboration and solidarity in addressing environmental and social justice issues within our communities.

The session on intergovernmental consultation on Nature-Based Solutions was edifying. The opening words by one of the speakers, “Look deep into nature and you will understand it better,” resonated profoundly, urging us to consider how we can integrate our existing systems harmoniously with nature rather than working against it. This underscored the importance of valuing local knowledge while recognizing scientific wisdom’s significance.

During the afternoon session, a briefing conducted by the major group, particularly involving faith actors, significantly enhanced my understanding. This session proved invaluable in deciphering the proceedings, encompassing language usage, the resolution process, diverse clusters, and even peripheral events. Initially, terms like “PP” left me bewildered, but this briefing clarified concepts and improved my engagement in discussions.

Another notable aspect I hadn’t previously considered significant was our role as faith actors in offering prayers for the entire process. One presenter emphasized that beyond the negotiation rooms, these delegates are individuals who identify with a faith tradition. Therefore, prayer for the process is essential; as actors, we recognize that things don’t just happen—they should be guided, at least for us as Christians, by a divine voice that places the human person at its core.

Susan Mwangi, MCCJ Collaborator