SUMMARY: The briefing paper aims to give clarity to the terminology “Just Transition” and related concepts like “growth”, “economic democracy” and “second generation rights” within the context of the current South African political economic model. The paper notes the structural dysfunctions of the South African economy and how the economic model is failing to achieve South Africa’s developmental and environmental goals of sustainability. The paper identifies the challenges and opportunities of achieving a Just Transition to a low-carbon economy and the key issues which need to be mainstreamed in policies and negotiations to ensure that adaptation and mitigation interventions promote economic democracy.
KEY FINDING / RECOMMENDATIONS: The paper presents the developmental state as an economic model to support a Just Transition and highlights enabling conditions provided by the International Trade Union Confederation and the Confederation of South African Trade Unions. These include Investing in environmentally friendly activities that create decent jobs that pay living wages, meet health and safety standards, promote gender equity, and that are secure; putting in place comprehensive social protections for the most vulnerable; researching the impacts of climate change on employment and livelihoods; and developing skills and retraining workers to ensure that they can be part of the new low-carbon development model.