National Just Transition Commission Must be Established as a Matter of Priority

Commission Stresses Climate Change is a Human Rights and Equality Issue

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission) today published its Policy Statement on a Just Transition.

Climate change poses an immediate and pervasive threat to the natural environment and societies throughout the world, including Ireland. Urgent action on climate change is non-negotiable

Human rights and equality standards must form an integral part of our transition towards a low-carbon country. We must ensure that a move towards a climate neutral economy happens in a fair way, leaving no one and no place behind.

Our Policy Statement, which includes 15 key recommendations, calls for the immediate establishment of the promised and delayed Just Transition Commission and that human rights and equality are explicitly included in its mandate and embedded in the functions, expertise and diversity in its governing body and staff. In addition, the Commission’s mandate must take into account the Public Sector Duty obligations enshrined in law.

We call for an ambitious approach, greater co-operation across Government policy and strategy, a stronger emphasis on evidence-informed targeted measures, improved participation and social dialogue, and robust accountability mechanisms.

In the face of catastrophic climate change, it’s crucial that all of Government demonstrates solidarity and leadership towards a Just Transition, one that brings us from the use of fossil fuels and to a sustainable future. The State is in receipt of substantial EU funding for Just Transition policy implementation, programmes and research. This funding must take account of human rights and equality concerns and ensure the necessary resources are provided to those who most need them, safeguarding against inequalities.

This represents a critical juncture for the State to advance human rights and equality, promote and enforce the Public Sector Duty, and futureproof the policy framework.

Chief Commissioner Sinéad Gibney said:

“A truly Just Transition should tackle the inequalities and injustices caused by and exacerbated by the climate crisis. Protecting the planet while simultaneously protecting structurally vulnerable groups is not an impossibility, nor is it a choice, it is a necessity and a duty.

“This is an opportunity for the Government to prioritise resources to advance human rights and equality in Ireland and to provide leadership internationally.”

“The green transition is happening alongside a digital transition, which has significant impacts for society and the economy. As these transitions progress and interact, it is vital that the the Just Transition Commission consider both strands rather than climate in isolation.”


Other policy recommendations include:

  • That the Government has due regard to the situation of climate refugees, and the need for support through relocation and resettlement, and proactive asylum planning for Ireland.
  • That the Government takes active targeted measures to support structurally vulnerable groups and guard against maladaptation in the design, monitoring, review, and evaluation of the Just Transition in Ireland, whilst adopting both intersectional and intergenerational perspectives.
  • That the Government considers climate change vulnerability assessments, with a focus on economic and geographic vulnerability, in the adaptation planning process.
  • That the Just Transition Commission’s mandate includes express commitments to develop research and data, with a strategic focus on structurally vulnerable groups.
  • That the Government place greater emphasis on evidence-informed targeted measures in tandem with one-off measures, to forestall the impact of the energy poverty on structurally vulnerable households.
  • That participation and social dialogue are critical approaches to addressing employment vulnerability associated with the Just Transition, and calls for ongoing involvement of workers and stakeholders.
  • That the Government enhances participation by prioritising community development in affected areas, including through funding, supporting alternative and sustainable employment opportunities and training and development.
  • That the Government ensures the Digital Ireland Framework and Climate Action plan operate in tandem to ensure meaningful participation in policy design, monitoring and review by all structurally vulnerable groups. This includes Government prioritisation of targeted offline non-digital mechanisms for consultation, including at community level.


Notes for Editors:

The Policy Statement for the Just Transition is available at:

The concept of a ‘Just Transition’ was included as a key commitment in the 2015 Paris Agreement and is also reflected in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


For further information, please contact:
Sarah Clarkin, IHREC Communications Manager,
01 852 9641 / 087 468 7760

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Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission:


The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures