Climate change and development A just transition: towards low-carbon economies and lifestyles

Humankind faces an existential challenge: in order to keep the impacts of climate change within manageable limits, we need to ensure that lifestyles and economies worldwide become climate neutral by mid-century. This transition will only be successful if it includes emerging economies and developing countries – and it must be designed in a way that is socially just (Just Transition). No one should be left behind on the path towards a social and economic system characterised by climate neutrality, climate resilience and climate justice.

Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development
As industrialised nations, we must assist the countries of the Global South, which are impacted most severely by climate change, to develop in an eco- and climate-friendly manner (...). My guiding vision is the just transition as part of a global structural policy.
Svenja Schulze Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) assists its partner countries in closely interlinking their activities on climate action, sustainable economic development and social progress. The aim of the just transition is to compensate, as far as possible, for social disadvantages that are caused or amplified by changing economic structures, and to create new opportunities for development.

For example, large numbers of jobs will be lost as a result of the exit from fossil fuel power generation. Workers will then need access to reskilling and new employment opportunities in other sectors. At the same time, this structural change has the potential to create new jobs, for example in the renewable energy industry.

What the BMZ is doing

Still from the video "Responsible mineral supply chains for the Just Transition"

Video Responsible mineral supply chains for the Just Transition

The BMZ is engaged in efforts, in particular, to

  • expand the use of clean and safe forms of energy;
  • create decent and sustainable jobs and establish effective social protection systems;
  • advance a socially and environmentally sound transformation of the economy (including the financial sector);
  • protect the rights of vulnerable population groups, especially women in all their diversity, and strengthen their resources on a sustained basis;
  • conserve biodiversity and vital natural resources;
  • support vulnerable countries' efforts to adapt to climate change and cope with climate-related loss and damage; and
  • transform cities into climate-smart, high-quality living spaces.

All groups within society must be involved in this radical transformation. For the just transition to be successful, there must be a willingness to reform, invest and engage in an open dialogue with business and civil society, as well as better intergovernmental communication.

Areas of work

Wind turbines in South Africa
Logo: Global Shield against Climate Risks
Solar panels of a solar power plant in Ouarzazate, Morocco
Apartment complex in Tirana, Albania
Symbolic image on the subject of the social safety net: Three fishermen hold a net
Moorland in Europe
Wind turbines in Rio do Fogo, Brazil

As at: 11/09/2023