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, lifestyles and economies worldwide must achieve climate neutrality by mid-century. This transition will only be successful if it is undertaken together with the developing countries and emerging economies – and it must be fair and equitable (i.e. a “just transition”). On the path towards climate neutrality and climate justice, no one must be left behind.

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 principle 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) supports its partner countries by encouraging them to think about climate change, sustainable economic development and social progress as interlinked topics. 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.

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

The BMZ is committed, in particular, to

  • expanding the use of clean and safe forms of energy;
  • creating decent and sustainable jobs and establishing well-performing social security systems;
  • progressing socially and environmentally sustainable economic restructuring (including the financial sector);
  • conserving biodiversity and vital natural resources;
  • supporting low-income countries’ efforts to adapt to climate change and mitigate climate-related loss and damage;
  • transforming cities into low-carbon, 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-ended 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
Road traffic in Berlin, numerous cars driving closely packed on a multi-lane road
Moorland in Europe

As at: 12/10/2022