31 May, 2024

What does a just transition look like for Caribbean Small Island Developing States?


Just transition discussions in the context of climate action have recently gained significant prominence. This increasing awareness of the importance of ensuring just transitions in line with Paris Agreement goals led to the establishment of the Just Transition Work Programme (JTWP) under the Paris Agreement at COP27 in 2022 in Sharm-el Sheikh, Egypt.

The JTWP provides a space for discussion of pathways to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement outlined in Article 2.1 and 2.2 of the Paris Agreement. In addition, Parties decided to convene an annual high level ministerial roundtable on just transition as part of the JTWP, with the first round-table taking place last year (2023) at COP28 in Dubai. This briefing aims to provide some preliminary information on what just transition encompasses in the context of Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS).

The briefing outlines the following, with the ultimate aim of providing some recommendations for Caribbean leaders to take forward into international just transition discussions and national just transition planning:

  • evolution of the just transition concept and why just transition in the context of Caribbean SIDS is important
  • background and update on the Just Transition Work Programme (JTWP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • an example of just transition policy and funding mechanism, and
  • recommendations on SIDS-relevant just transition themes.

The main recommendation highlighted throughout this briefing is that Caribbean SIDS should ensure that international just transition discussions include their priority areas. This means that:

  • Just transition discussions are guided by the best available climate science
  • The discussions must go beyond the traditional focus on job losses in the energy sector
  • Other issues of adaptation, loss and damage, resilience, loss of livelihoods due to climate impacts, access to finance, transitioning sectors like tourism, addressing external economic shocks, and adequate governance must be addressed.