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Arab World unions shape first climate change plans

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Participants at Cairo Climate Change Seminar

Participants at Cairo Climate Change Seminar

Urban transport unions from the Arab World gathered in Cairo to discuss climate change for the first time and develop action plans, in the face of rising temperatures, more frequent dust storms and increased risk of rises in sea level in the region.

Twenty-four participants, most of them young workers, represented unions from Algeria, Egypt, Palestine and Tunisia at the two-day seminar from 26-27 August. They discussed the impact of transport emissions; the ITF’s ‘reduce, shift, improve’ model for sustainable transport; the promotion of public transport; the implications for employment; and the role of trade unions.

By the end of the seminar, all the unions had developed action plans on climate change. These included raising public and member awareness; meeting transport and health ministers; strengthening the enforcement of environmental laws; and holding workplace meetings, workshops with maintenance workers and training for drivers on eco-driving and dealing with extreme weather. The unions also focused on campaigning for the reintroduction of rail freight transport and the modernisation of bus fleets, and establishing workplace environmental representatives.

The unions agreed to participate in the ITF road and rail action week (5-11 October), which will include a focus on climate justice.

Following the seminar, ITF Arab World regional secretary Bilal Malkawi said: “Our region is already feeling the impact of climate change. That’s why these discussions and action plans to promote public transport and reduce CO2 emissions are so vital. Trade unions have the power to make change happen!”

He added his thanks to Union to Union Sweden for their support for the seminar.

Find out more about the ITF’s work on climate change.

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