Global Commission of government leaders and prominent figures announces key recommendations for putting people at the centre of clean energy transitions

Global Commission on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions

Ahead of COP26, the 12 recommendations from national leaders, ministers and civil society representatives address issues of jobs, worker protection, equality, social inclusion and fairness

A global group of heads of government, ministers and thought leaders today unveiled 12 key recommendations aimed at enabling citizens to benefit from the opportunities and navigate the disruptions created by clean energy transitions – a fundamental prerequisite for progress towards a low-carbon future.

The recommendations of the Global Commission on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions will be presented today at its third meeting, which will be open to the public to watch online starting at 16:30 CET.

The recommendations come at a critical moment just before the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow where countries have a major opportunity to raise their ambitions for transitioning to clean energy and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Convened by the International Energy Agency’s Executive Director Fatih Birol in January 2021, the Commission is headed by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and chaired by Dan Jørgensen, Denmark’s Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities. Sophie Gladima, Senegal’s Minister of Energy and Petroleum, serves as co-chair. The Commission’s work is driven by the belief that successful energy transitions must enjoy public support and provide clear public benefits.

The 12 recommendations aim to turn high-level principles into concrete action. Among the key points are a focus on ensuring policies create good quality, well-paid jobs, and bring widespread benefits to people in a fair and equitable way. They also emphasise the vital importance of protecting workers and communities that might be negatively affected by clean energy transitions. The recommendations also include advice on how to ensure all policies have equity and social inclusion at the heart of their design, and how to engage all citizens as active participants in transitions.

“We must never forget that clean energy transitions are for and about people, so plans to advance transitions must have people-focused policies at their core,” said Dr Birol. “The Global Commission’s recommendations can empower decision makers around the world to put this into practice. I’d like to thank Prime Minister Frederiksen and Ministers Jørgensen and Gladima for their leadership – and all the Commission members for their valuable contributions. The IEA is deeply committed to ensuring that as many people and communities as possible around the world are able to benefit from clean energy transitions.”

“For the clean energy transition to succeed it has to be just – or there will be no transition. Individuals and communities that are dependent on fossil industries today must not be left behind tomorrow.” said Minister Jørgensen. “Our recommendations and the many great cases from all around the world clearly demonstrate that people-centred clean energy transition is not only possible – it is already happening. I hope this will serve as inspiration to others.”

“There cannot be a successful energy transition on a global scale without full, adequate and fair consideration of development priorities and continuous improvement in the living conditions of our populations! The sustainable development goals must be the foundation of energy transition policies around the world,” said Minister Gladima. “The work of the Global Commission should be continued and amplified to ensure such considerations are duly integrated in clean energy transitions.”

The recommendations are underpinned by 150 case studies from over 50 countries that were contributed by Commission members and are accessible on the IEA website. They highlight practical advice and best practices across four main areas: decent jobs and worker protection; social and economic development; equality, social inclusion and fairness; and people as active participants.

The Commission’s work complements recent major IEA reports on clean energy transitions such as Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector and the World Energy Outlook 2021.

More details on the Commission and its members are available on its dedicated web page.

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The Global Commission for People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions believes that all clean energy transitions should be truly people-centred and inclusive, and that this is essential to the success of energy system transformation at the pace and scale required to deliver global ambition for climate change mitigation. Inaction is not an option. The actionable recommendations contained in this report draw on recent experiences and best practices from around the world. The Commission recognises that local circumstances and clean energy pathways will differ, and therefore these recommendations may be applied in different ways. The Commission intends for these recommendations to influence the clean energy policies and programmes of governments, funders, investors and international organisations globally in order to maximise their benefits to people and ensure the overall success of clean energy transitions on the path to net zero.

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