This commentary summarizes a workshop held by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on just transitions in South Africa and Eastern Europe. More case studies on sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and developing Asia could shed light on just transitions in countries with fewer economic resources and more limited social safety nets. The commentary includes a table summarizing critical elements of case studies to help identify key insights and best practices in future research.
In South Africa, just transitions are urgent because market and policy signals indicate an inevitable decline of coal, yet a transition could harm workers and communities dependent on coal mining. Policies intended to elevate renewable energy in the country have also failed to support energy access for black communities or address issues of racial injustice. The author notes that just transitions in South Africa need to address issues of inclusivity and power relations.
Central and Eastern Europe is a focal point for just transitions as many countries in the region anticipate phasing out coal and emissions-intensive industries in the coming decades. This commentary cites several positive examples of community engagement and local participation in just transitions. However, case studies indicate that more should be done to boost input at the local level.