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02 July 2024

screenshot of the webinar with PAGE and DCO on just transition and green economy

Under the theme “Leveraging the Transitions Approach for Advancing the Green Economy”, the fifth DCO/PAGE dialogue, held on 2 July, explored the transitions approach to SDG acceleration, just transition, and their impact on an inclusive green economy, including best practices and challenges.

Panellists stressed the importance of taking a systemic approach to address poverty, inequality, and climate change, highlighting policy integration as a critical factor. UN Resident Coordinator Office (UN RCO) economists from different countries shared best practices on advancing a green economy.

Organised by PAGE in collaboration with the UN Development Coordination Office (UN DCO), the online event served as an exchange platform for experts and UN RCO economists.

screenshot of the webinar with PAGE and DCO on just transition and green economy

The panel discussion moderated by Gonzalo Pizarro, Chief of Policy at DCO, included Alice Vozza, Policy Specialist, Action Programme on Just Transition, ILO; Astra Bonini, Chief of Integrated Policy Analysis, UN DESA; Tiffanie Chan, Policy Analyst, Just Transition Finance Lab, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Gonzalo Pizarro, Chief of Policy, DCO, moderated the panel discussion, emphasizing the urgency of accelerating progress toward sustainable development. He stated, “We cannot continue with business as usual. The development partners often focus on isolated issues or individual SDGs. Instead, we must move towards a trajectory that embodies the principles behind the SDGs.” He underscored the need for a strategical approach, examining how structural systems operate at the country level. Poverty, inequality, and climate issues are interconnected and cannot be addressed in isolation. Implementing a just and green economy requires this integrated perspective.

Highlighting the reality that the world stands at the midpoint towards 2030, with only 15% of SDG targets on track, Astra Bonini, Chief of Integrated Policy Analysis, UN DESA, argued that the just transition approach could have a catalytic effect on achieving the SDGs. Referring to the Global Sustainable Development Report, Astra emphasized the need for strong scientific evidence to understand how goals are linked. She stressed, “We are significantly off track and incremental approaches will not suffice. Instead, we need to indulge in mapping out SDG targets to identify synergies and manage trade-offs”.

We cannot continue with business as usual. The development partners often focus on isolated issues or individual SDGs. Instead, we must move towards a trajectory that embodies the principles behind the SDGs.

Gonzalo Pizarro, Chief of Policy, DCO

Alice Vozza, Policy Specialist, Action Programme on Just Transition, ILO, discussed the societal benefits of a just transition and identified entry points to ensure no one is left behind. She highlighted the interdependencies between nature, environment, and climate, noting both negative and positive impacts. While climate change threatens livelihoods and exposes 2.3 billion workers to heat stress, it also presents opportunities for job creation through nature-based solutions and adaptation measures. She pointed out the problem of distributional impact, which varies by gender, age, geography, and income. She emphasized the need for specific policies to ensure a just transition, including labor market policies, social protection, and measures to upskill the workforce. Social dialogue was identified as a key response to breaking silos and achieving cohesive policy-making.

Tiffanie Chan of Just Transitions Finance Lab explored how just transition policies and laws develop at the national level. She discussed the silos between different development areas and SDGs and highlighted the UNFCCC’s role in linking climate and development by recognizing sustainable development and poverty eradication. Presenting the findings of her report, “Mapping Justice in National Climate Action: A Global Overview of Just Transitions Policies,” she highlighted that achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs varies across countries, influenced by demographic factors and governance approaches. She stressed the importance of coordinated policies that benefit all societal groups, including workers, communities, women, youth, indigenous people, and the elderly. Digital data was identified as a crucial tool for informed policy-making and achieving systemic change.

The second part of the dialogue included an interactive segment with UNRCO economists on the implementation of the transition approach at the national level. This discussion was facilitated by Ricardo Isea from the PAGE Secretariat.

During the discussion, participants addressed key questions about the potential challenges and the key players and actions needed to enable this transition.

Sebastien Vauzelle, UNRCO Mauritius, highlighted that the transition approach can prioritize key drivers, provide policy coherence, and catalyze investments, particularly in countries with limited fiscal space.

Christopher Michael Garroway, UNRCO India, emphasized the role of digital transformation and the resilience of welfare schemes. He highlighted the involvement of tribal communities and traditional knowledge in advancing biodiversity goals.

Fulvia Farinelli, UNRCO Argentina, discussed the challenges posed by fiscal austerity and economic volatility.

Diandra Pratami, UNRCO Indonesia, highlighted the country’s significant national-level commitments to SDG acceleration and transitions. She pointed out the financing gap as a major challenge, particularly in decarbonizing the power sector.

Hurshid Rustamov, UNRCO Azerbaijan, shared insights on the positive influence of hosting COP 29 on the country’s green agenda. He emphasized the need for an integrated approach, noting that fossil fuel subsidies distort the competitiveness of renewable energy projects.

Suwimol Wattanawiroon, National Coordinator PAGE Thailand, discussed the introduction of a carbon pricing tool supported by PAGE. She explained that the government used macroeconomic analysis to decide on economic tools, ensuring social protection and support for vulnerable groups during the transition.

PAGE engages across the UN system to leverage collective expertise in economic thinking, offering deeper policy advice to partners and contributing to a strengthened global understanding of green economy principles.

Since 2021, the dialogue series serves as an open space to identify opportunities and challenges as well as potential methods for moving action on inclusive and sustainable options. It aims to connect, economists from PAGE agencies and UNRCOs economists in PAGE countries to exchange ideas and share knowledge and best practices on accelerating fair and green economic transformations.

The series informs how PAGE can better support its partner countries in their respective green economy transitions as well as further inspire a green transition globally.

PAGE brings together the expertise of five UN agencies UNEP, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNDP, ILO. Currently, 22 countries joined PAGE.

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