IEMA staff are attending the Bonn Climate Change Conference over the next couple of weeks to build up support for the Institute’s campaign to ensure that the UN climate change process effectively considers the role of green skills. IEMA’s Head of Policy, Ben Goodwin, reflects on a first day in Bonn.

As we have already set out this week, IEMA is attending the climate conference in Bonn to lay the groundwork for our COP28 skills campaign. Specifically, that the COP28 negotiations deliver outcomes that better reflect the need to invest in and develop a global workforce that can tackle climate change head-on.  

It is our hope that this could result in greater strategic thinking around the skills agenda being captured across the updated Nationally Determined Contributions that UNFCCC countries are due to submit in 2025.

At Bonn, we are seeking to socialise our campaign aims with government, business, and NGO stakeholders at the many discussions and events taking place.

What’s been apparent so far is that it remains clear that the costs and impacts of climate change continue to be felt differently around the world, and even more so, that everybody needs to be part of the conversation if we are to tackle what is ultimately a global challenge.

The absence of delegates from countries most vulnerable to climate change was pointed out in the very first discussion that I attended this morning. Jaw dropping at an event curated specifically to examine what is required in these countries to tackle its impacts!

It follows that while skills development should be a goal that is prioritised through the UNFCCC process, it needs careful contextualisation and the circumstances within different countries to be properly considered.

This is certainly something for our campaign to consider, and as IEMA continues to grow internationally we will be able to deliver on this through the endeavours of our members and by grasping opportunities to collaborate with others.

At a later session that I attended today, there were well rehearsed presentations on the different scenarios for phasing out fossil fuels and phasing in renewables to ensure that the IPCC 1.5 °C pathway is realised. These were underpinned by discussion on some of the key enablers be that policy, investment, research, and so on.

Nothing new, but very little about the skills development required across these enablers to support the transition and capacity building throughout wider economic sectors. It was also striking again to only hear success stories from developed economies on their journeys to phasing out fossil fuel production and use.

The penultimate event that I managed to get attend was focused on the role of non-state actors in addressing climate impacts. In particular, private sector organisations and the need for them to make progress on climate reporting and transition planning.

Both things that urgently need to be done, but that require organisational capacity and resources, so again workforce development and skills are key underlying factors.

There will be more tomorrow from Chloe Fiddy, IEMA’s Policy and Engagement Lead on climate issues, so please watch this space.

Photo of Ben goodwin
Ben Goodwin

Director of Policy and Public Affairs, IEMA, IEMA

Ben is Director of Policy and Public Affairs at IEMA. In this capacity he looks after the delivery of IEMAs core policy, practice and public affairs activities across a range of environmental and sustainability issues. Prior to joining the organisation Ben worked in several similar policy roles at organisations including the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Renewable Energy Association.


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