The role of civil society in the realisation of the Paris Agreements

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By Isabel Caño

The Paris Agreements represent a revolutionary and unprecedented change in the structure of the economy and society. For their implementation to be a success, the EESC, in its own-initiative opinion "Building a coalition of civil society and subnational authorities to deliver commitments of the Paris Agreement", calls for a large coalition of political leaders, territorial authorities and civil society.

This coalition, which must adopt a bottom-up approach while at the same time considering global strategies, should breathe new life into the principle "think global, act global". This is essential in order to encourage action from all actors and at all levels which is necessary to attain the common goal of reducing emissions and limiting global warming.

We insist in particular on the need to develop an understanding of the climate strategies that civil society can carry out, to ensure that as many of those actors as possible can participate in this effort, and to ensure the spreading of best practice. Civil society must act but the responsibility for the elimination of bureaucratic and legal obstacles lies with political decision-makers. For this, it is necessary to set up a coordinated and centralised framework supported by the EU institutions, which have a long experience in the establishment of common rules and principles.

The EESC's opinion is unequivocal but, as the Workers' Group, we wish to highlight one essential aspect: the repercussions of COP 21 on the world of work. A change in the energy model requires a transformation of production structures which will seriously affect workers. We know about these consequences as they have already been verified in the coal industry; today, other sectors will have to face a shift towards different modes of production as well.

The new economic model should encourage the creation of high-quality jobs. Social dialogue and collective bargaining between employers' and trade unions organisations must create the framework that will regulate the new professions and working methods. Training in the skills needed for new jobs is essential to cover the demands of new production models.

We must insist that workers' rights, trade union freedom and collective action are a fundamental ingredient to a fair transition for workers and citizens.