Chair’s Summary: Global Summit on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions

Global Summit on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions

The opening session of the IEA's Global Summit on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions

Chair’s summary points

The Global Summit on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions took place at IEA headquarters in Paris on 26 April 2024 and represented a unique gathering of governments, labour, business and community leaders, Indigenous voices, youth representatives and others to engage in vital discussions about the most pressing socio-economic issues at the heart of fair and inclusive energy transitions. Labour leaders representing 200 million workers worldwide participated. The Summit also saw the first ever visit of the Paris Mayor to the IEA Headquarters, with a special opening address from Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris.

The Summit participants shared experiences of working to build inclusive people-centred processes and outcomes in clean energy transitions. These discussions have helped develop a stronger collective understanding of what adopting a people-centred approach means and reinforced the need to move towards defining and tracking inclusiveness and social impacts of clean energy transitions.

In his opening remarks, Summit Chair and IEA Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol stressed that, as the transformation of the global energy system gathers speed, it will be essential to stay focused on ensuring that clean energy transitions benefit everyone, especially the most vulnerable in societies. The Summit sends a clear signal that the perspectives of labour, youth, Indigenous peoples and other key groups must be properly integrated into clean energy transition planning. The key word for energy transitions is equity, he said.

Responding to Shifting Labour Dynamics

Exploring the transforming labour market, key opportunities for decent job creation, skills development and inclusive workforce pathways

The Summit clearly heard that labour issues are central to all clean energy transitions, and therefore labour voices must be central. Experience was shared about the positive value of social dialogue, and about the risks of not taking such inclusive approaches. Looking at the issue only in global, macro terms will not adequately address the specific place-based issues that need to be addressed from the very beginning of all transition processes. The importance of skills development was also emphasised.

Participants shared transition experiences from their countries and regions, some with positive lessons, and some that are not seen to have sufficiently involved workers in the process, or to have led to fully successful outcomes. Delegates emphasised the importance of getting the process right in order to ensure the best results for workers and communities.

Advancing Gender Equality

Exchanging best practices to address gender gaps in energy access, workforce development, entrepreneurship and education.

There are clear gender inequities in energy, ranging from poorer labour participation and remuneration for women in energy jobs, to asymmetric impacts of climate change. A particular inequity is the burden placed on women and girls in regions where traditional biomass is still the predominant means of cooking. Delivering universal access to clean cooking is an urgent global priority, and is the subject of an upcoming Global Summit in May being convened by the IEA and other stakeholders.

Clean energy transitions represent an opportunity to address pressing gender inequalities through approaches such as targeted skills, employment and entrepreneurship programmes, energy access initiatives, and the design of policies with enhanced equality to the fore. A lack of gender disaggregated data is a barrier to progress. The role of finance was also stressed.

Designing Policies to Maximise Positive Social Impacts

Discussing clean energy policy design to ensure that benefits are maximised and fairly distributed amongst all segments of the population.

In both design and implementation, the question of the exact distribution of impacts, costs and benefits of clean energy policies should be a priority consideration. The IEA will soon publish a landmark report on affordability and social impacts of clean energy policies, assembling the evidence for how policies can ensure positive and fair distribution of impacts through intentional design.

As in other sessions, the need for better data, and the question of access to finance, were common themes. Policymakers should identify and track the social impacts of policies and adapt the design where appropriate.

Engaging People as Active Participants

Exploring mechanisms and strategies to engage all parts of society to build public support for clean energy transitions. 

Participants widely agreed on the necessity for all transitions, as general strategies and in terms of specific policies and measures, to be based in meaningful inclusive participation in their creation and implementation. Transitions will not be seen as legitimate, nor indeed optimally designed, without such public participation.

Many models of participation were discussed, ranging from formal social dialogue processes involving governments, companies and unions, to wider public participation, education and communication initiatives. Many highlighted how important it is to engage effectively and meaningfully, with ownership and empowerment, and with all relevant sectors of society.


This event represented an important global dialogue on how to progress clean energy transitions in a people-centred and inclusive manner. Participants expressed appreciation to the IEA for bringing this diverse group together, and recognised the important role that the IEA can play in leading clean energy transitions with a focus on people and inclusivity.

Dr Birol announced that he is now convening a new Global Commission on People-Centred Clean Energy Transitions: Designing for Fairness. This Commission will comprise ministers, unions, business, and key voices such as youth and Indigenous communities. It will develop principles and guidance on how to ensure all clean energy policies are truly people-centred and are designed to deliver the benefits to those who need them most.

The discussions of both this Summit and the new Global Commission will form direct inputs into the G20 Presidency of Brazil as well as wider international and multilateral processes, including COP.

Dr Birol thanked all participants for their contributions and their important engagement on these priority issues and looks forward to strengthening relationships with all.