29 Feb 2024

Europe's green transition shall go global to be just and fair to all

Joint press statement from SOLIDAR, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, Fairtrade International, and the World Fair Trade Organisation

Brussels, 29 February 2024 – Farmers protesting in the streets for living incomes could easily join unite in solidarity with their counterparts in the Global South. One in three workers are employed in agriculture in most developing countries and, despite common belief, they do not reap significant benefits from trading with the EU. Furthermore, they are now forced to abide by the rules contained in the European Green Deal, which are not only hard to implement, but also threaten their livelihoods. Beyond farming, the EU needs to reconsider how it supports North and South producers to achieve environmental, social and trade justice in the context of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

Today, SOLIDAR, the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), Fairtrade International and the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) issued a powerful Call to Action to transform the European Green Deal into a Global Green Deal to make it more social, equitable, just and fair at the international level, and to recreate a common vision and commitment to its essential goals.

In its current form, the European Green Deal leads to environmentally and socially harmful impactcs on the Global South and exacerbates, rather than eliminates, inequality and poverty. The Global Green Deal (GGD) vision is of an inclusive European transformative agenda that firmly assumes its responsibilities vis-à-vis third and partner countries with regard to imposed externalities. The GGD is a Green Deal with an external dimension to guarantee a fair distribution of the transition costs between Europe and partner countries.

Today's launch marks a pivotal moment in the discourse on adapting the EU flagship initiative to the social and political realities of a world in social and geopolitical turmoil. Low-income households and the disadvantaged were encouraged by populists to find fault with remedial environmental measures typified by the present European Green Deal. Setting this in a broader, global context and introducing aspects of fairness and justice will provide an antidote to the negative effects of populism and Euroscepticism. The GGD will also contribute to maintaining an international framework of law that is acceptable to all.

Professor Olivier De Schutter from UCLouvain and Sciences Po Paris lends his support to the initiative, which also received the generous contribution of the Sustainable Development Solution Network (SDSN). The Call to Action is the result year-long set of deliberations with like-minded organisations that have culminated in the event on "Just Transition for All: Why the European Green Deal needs to go Global" that was held at the European Economic and Social Committee on 23 January 2024.

Sophie Aujean, Director of Global Advocacy for Fairtrade International, said: "No deal can really be called a Global Green Deal unless the very people who are most impacted - the climate-vulnerable small-scale farmers and workers in countries disadvantaged by unfair global trade structures - have an equal say in it. The Global Green Deal we're calling for will enable a bold and fair transition in Europe and beyond."

The policy proposals contained in the Call to Action are available here.

Download a PDF of the joint press release here.