The Nigerian government has partnered with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to create the “Nigeria Just Transition and Green Jobs for Nigeria Project.”
The project’s goal is to mobilize the government, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and development partners to accelerate climate action through decent jobs and a fair transition for all.
Strengthening institutional capacity for the design and implementation of integrated evidence-based just transition policies is one of the project’s key goals.
In a message read at the launch in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said that while Africa as a whole contributes less than 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the impact of global warming on impoverished countries is more severe.
He added that the situation is exacerbated by the fact that some, if not all, developing countries are already dealing with intermittent economic instabilities and recessions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other development challenges, all of which contribute to their high poverty levels and low social indices.
“The climate policies and strategies established for Nigeria must be carefully designed, implemented, and reviewed to guarantee that no one is left behind,” according to the Minister. That is the essence of the project Just Transition.
“Due to Nigeria’s substantial reliance on crude oil exports as a major source of foreign exchange profits, the vigorous global campaigns to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources have negative consequences for the country’s economy.”
According to him, the impact of climate action on Nigerian industries varies, with the oil and gas industry projected to be the most severely affected.
“However, if the agricultural industry, as well as five (5) other sectors identified in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), is ignored in the process of cushioning the impact of the actions on workers, the agricultural industry, as well as five (5) other sectors identified in the NDCs, will be hard hit.”
“This would generate a dependency problem, with large-scale job losses and considerable economic constraints on the impacted workforce’s life, ultimately having negative macroeconomic consequences,” Ngige added.
In her remarks, ILO Country Director Ms Vanessa Phala stated that the measures planned under the project will help to boost local economies and expand chances for decent job development.
She cited the 2015 Paris Agreement, which highlighted a just transition and decent work as essential elements of climate change responses, as well as the ILO constituents’ Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all, which she said “offers a framework to guide this transformation.”
“At the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit, the UN also launched the Climate Action for Jobs initiative, which aims to enable ambitious climate action that delivers decent jobs and advances social justice; support countries on bold solutions for a transition to a sustainable future that is just for all and has broad support; and facilitate an inclusive and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis for rebuilding better,” Ms phala said.
She revealed that the ILO Country Office in Abuja has launched a project on the social dimension of ecological transition, dubbed the Just Transition and Green Jobs for Nigeria Project, with the backing of the French government.
According to her, the project is a multi-country initiative that is also being undertaken in other African nations such as Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Nigeria, and will last until December 2024.
Emma Ugboaja, General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, said in a goodwill message that the Just Transition is the World of Work’s hallmark contribution to the Climate Change conversation.
“The fight to mainstream workers’ concerns and perspectives in the global climate change discourse was not easy. Just Transition was mainstreamed into the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Agreement at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico, after years of battle by trade unionists.
“This historic mainstreaming of Just Transition is rendered as: 2 | P a g e “Recognizes that addressing climate change necessitates a paradigm shift toward building a low-carbon society that provides significant opportunities and ensures continued high growth and sustainable development, based on innovative technologies and more sustainable production, consumption, and lifestyles, while ensuring a just transition of the workforce that creates decent work and quality jobs…”, he said.
The launch of the “Just Transition Project in Nigeria” is expected to raise awareness and educate stakeholders and the general public about the importance of supporting the project in order to capitalize on the different opportunities generated by Nigeria’s climate change measures.
According to the organizers, the project, which is to be led by the private sector, will ensure that the replacement of fossil energy with solar, wind, and other renewables does not result in job losses, but rather opens up new and diverse opportunities for new investments, new technologies, and new jobs, particularly for young Nigerians.
The French government, the Nigerian Trade Union Congress TUC, and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association NECA, among others, sent goodwill notes.
A panel discussion was also held to shed further light on the project.
Mr Stephen Agugua was the ILO project co-coordinator for the Nigeria Just Transition and Green Jobs for Nigeria Project.