Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, said on Wednesday that the shift to a resilient, low-carbon economy can and should be a net driver of job creation.
Mohieldin made the remarks in a speech at the Human Rights Council in a session titled “the future of the right to work in connection with climate change actions, responses and impacts in the context of sustainable and inclusive economies.”
The session was attended by Katharina Stasch, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Ahmed Ihab Abdelahad Gamaleldin, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations Office, and Nada Al-Nashif, Acting United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
In his speech, the UN climate champion stressed that there would be transitional challenges, however, for workers, communities and countries as this shift occurs. Thus, he added, the full range of environmental, social and governance dimensions of responsible investment need to be incorporated in the strategies to address the negative impacts of climate change.
Mohieldin added that it is imperative to adopt a “holistic approach” within a more comprehensive agenda for sustainable development.
“After all, climate action is the 13th of a more comprehensive action plan of 17 SDGs, including SDG 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth,” he said.
In a related context, Mohieldin stressed that the phasing-in of low-emission technologies and phasing-down of high emission ones must meet the rights and needs of all those impacted by such transition, including their right to work.
The climate champion affirmed that people’ jobs and well-being should be at the centre of the transition. Ensuring that all workforces find secure pathways in these sectoral redeployments is a key element of a successful just transition, he noted.
Mohieldin also highlighted the need to move from pledging to climate action at COP27 through translating agreements and pledges into concrete initiatives, including through scaling up climate projects. The latter create new jobs.
In this regard, Mohieldin referred to the initiatives that have been launched at the regional and national levels.
On the regional level, the COP27 Presidency, UN Regional Commissions and Climate Champions launched a series of five regional roundtables that resulted in many projects ready to be financed in the areas of mitigation and adaptation were presented in these forums.
On the local level, Mohieldin pointed out that the Egyptian government has launched the National Initiative for Green and Smart Projects as a pioneering initiative in the areas of achieving sustainable development goals, addressing the effects of climate change and implementing digital transformation.
The initiative aims to develop a governorate-level map of green and smart projects that present innovative climate solutions at the local level, and mobilising the necessary investments for the implementation of these projects.
Mohieldin is the jury chairperson of the initiative that is responsible for selecting winning projects that shall be presented at COP27.