Just Transition as an enabler to accelerate green economic growth in Zimbabwe

Just Transition will not only help advance climate action but is a key enabler to achieving SDGs in Zimbabwe

March 20, 2023

Participants from different Ministries, research institutions, private sector, youth and civil society organizations

Just Transition as an enabler to accelerate green economic growth in Zimbabwe

Just Transition will not only help advance climate action but is a key enabler to achieving SDGs in Zimbabwe

Following the outcomes of the 2021 Green Jobs Assessment which was conducted by the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) with the support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), the GoZ used the assessment results as a guide for Zimbabwe to further evidence based Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) policymaking and a just transition. The green jobs assessment assisted Zimbabwe to measure the impact of climate measures on key development indicators such as Gross Domestics Product (GDP), employment, skills, income distribution and inequality, and gender inequality based on the outcomes from the assessment.

A 5 day long just transition forum was held to define Zimbabwe’s national vision for a just transition and provide capacity building training to hand over a Green Jobs Assessment Model to national institutes such as the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat), Government of Zimbabwe Ministries and the departments, workers, employers, research institutions, private sector and other stakeholders including youth organizations and civil society organizations.

Conducted as a tool to inform NDC enhancement, the assessment held a pivotal role in strengthening the country’s efforts to understand opportunities that green jobs present noted Mr. Lovemore Dhoba, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism, and   Hospitality , Mitigation Office, in his opening remarks during the workshop. The Green Jobs Assessment Model clearly outlines the structural changes that are likely to come about with the implementation of climate policies envisioned in the Revised NDCs, Zimbabwe's Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy (LT-LEDS), and adaptation actions.

“The model came at an opportune time to contribute to the revised NDCs, and the analyses immensely contributed to the NDC revision process. The report indicates climate change mitigation measures will have positive employment effects for all skills and genders.”, highlighted Mr. Ojijo Odhiambo, UNDP Economic Advisor.

Acknowledging that Just Transition is an enabler of delivering the Paris Agreement,  noting that countries should realize that ambition is not just about numbers but people, Mr. Moustapha Kamal Gueye, ILO Director - Just Transitions reiterated similar sentiments  saying “Enterprises that innovate, workers with the right skills, and communities that are able to transform their economies and societies are the drivers to a net zero economy that delivers more, better jobs and advancing social justice”.

Sangji Lee, UNDP Global Climate Promise team’s Thematic lead on Just Transition noted, “As countries are continuing to update and implement their shorter- and longer-term national climate pledges, there is a unique opportunity to embed the principles, processes, and practices of just transition within them”  Four key entry points have been identified for integrating just transition into NDCs and Long-Term Strategies (LTS): Assessments; Engagement; Institutional, policy, and capacity-building support; and Finance, which can guide just transition efforts in Zimbabwe.

Discussions were mainly on the potential opportunities and challenges that can come with transitioning the economy, and mechanisms to cushion the most negatively impacted groups. Participants were able to master the model presenting different Zimbabwe scenarios focusing mainly on the following sectors - energy, waste, agriculture, forestry and other land use. They were able to analyse the economic sustainability, risks and the impacts that different scenarios have especially on the most vulnerable population groups. During these discussions, participants raised questions on the cost of transitioning, labour market effects, and Zimbabwe’s preparedness to transition.


 What Just Transition towards a green economy means for Zimbabwe

Advancing skills is crucial for economies, businesses, workers, and entrepreneurs to reap the opportunities of the green transition.

Ensuring a fair transition is important for Zimbabwe at all levels of economic development and is not limited to energy supply in urban and rural areas. In line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), the greening of the Zimbabwean economy can enhance the ability to manage natural resources sustainably, increase energy efficiency and reduce waste, while also promoting social justice.

In the transition to environmentally sustainable economies and societies, Zimbabwe can benefit from some major opportunities, for example:

1. Massive potential to create additional decent jobs through investing in environmentally sustainable production, consumption, and management of the country’s natural resources.

2. Improvements in job quality and incomes from more productive processes, greener products, and services in tourism agriculture, construction, waste recycling, and upscaling.

3. Social inclusion through access to affordable, environmentally sustainable energy which is of relevance to women, girls, and residents in rural areas.

As currently anticipated, a transition to a green mode of work is the new net generator of decent green jobs that can contribute significantly to poverty eradication and social inclusion.

Way forward toward a greener and more sustainable economy.

A Just Transition in Zimbabwe involves maximizing the social and economic opportunities of climate action while minimizing and carefully managing any challenges through effective social dialogue among all groups impacted, and with respect for labour principles and rights. The development of a Just Transition Roadmap as part of the Zimbabwe NDC implementation is key.

Consensus and collaboration with various stakeholders is also key as means to ensure that Zimbabwe attains the ambitions of Zimbabwe’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) 2021-2025 which sets the country on a trajectory of becoming a prosperous and an empowered Upper Middle-Income Society by 2030 in a greener economy.

ILO has contributed to this process by providing two complementary tools that are both qualitative and quantitative, that is Rapid Situational Analysis and the Green Jobs Assessment Model respectively. This contribution is informing the Government on the climate policies, as envisioned in the NDCs and LEDS, strategic steps to the Just Transition Agenda.

UNDP has been working through the Climate Promise to support countries to connect the dots between climate action, social inclusion and gender equality, and sustainable development. This project was developed under UNDP’s Climate Promise, with generous funding from the governments of Germany, Japan, the European Union, United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Iceland, Italy, Portugal and other UNDP’s core contributors, and it underpins UNDP's contribution to the NDC Partnership.