Working Paper | Advancing a Just Transition: A rights-based approach to climate financing

Crucial Role of Climate Financing in a Just Energy Transition

This Working Paper, Advancing a Just Transition: A rights-based approach to climate financing, authored by the IEJ for the Climate Ambition to Accountability Project (CAAP) aims to critically assess the role of climate financing in achieving a just energy transition and proposes a research agenda for civil society empowerment. The rights-based framework employed considers human rights as intrinsic to every individual, emphasising the state’s duty to ensure their realisation. The “Billions to Trillions” agenda, adopted by global financial institutions, raises concerns by prioritising private sector interests over development goals.

Examining Human Rights Impact

The paper evaluates the impact of current financing models on human rights through five clusters of principles. It highlights challenges in national responsibilities, maintaining sovereignty, procedural fairness, responsibilities of financial investment, and crisis management. The use of private finance introduces risks, including limiting access to essential services and compromising national autonomy.

Proposal for a Fair Climate Finance Regime

Drawing from international agreements like the International Bill of Rights, UNFCCC frameworks, and Guiding Principles on Foreign Debt and Human Rights, the paper proposes a fair climate finance regime. It advocates for a state-based approach that prioritises public investments and green infrastructure development, avoiding overreliance on private actors.

Addressing Gaps in Norms and Implementation

The Working Paper concludes by highlighting the disparity between international norms and the global climate finance architecture. It calls for a research agenda to empower civil society, bridging the gap between climate finance human rights norms and their implementation in investment plans. The proposed agenda aims to hold rights holders accountable and to ensure a just transition.


This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union.

Its contents are the sole responsibility of the Climate Ambition to Accountability Project and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

© 2023 Climate Ambition to Accountability Project. All rights reserved. Licensed to the European Union under conditions.