ILO Governing Body Discusses Green Jobs, Decent Work and Sustainable Development

ILO8 November 2011: During the 312th session of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO), delegates discussed an agenda item on green jobs, decent work and sustainable development.

The 312th session of the Governing Body is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 3-18 November 2011. The agenda item on green jobs was addressed during the Employment and Social Protection Segment of the Policy Development Section, which took place on 7 and 8 November 2011. Delegates examined the paper titled “Green jobs, decent work and sustainable development,” and a representative of the ILO Director-General explained that the Office had submitted a technical contribution to the Secretariat of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), in time for the 1 November 2011 deadline.

During the debate, speakers addressed issues relating to ILO's Green Jobs Initiative and called for an emphasis on greening all enterprises and jobs, noting that the transition to a green economy would lead to losses and gains. They underscored the need: to keep the focus on creating employment in general and not just green jobs; to retain many of the conventional growth policies and employed in the greening of the economy; for the International Labour Office to support the building of skills and scientific and technological capability, as well as facilitating enterprise development and job creation; and for ILO to play a clear role in contributing to policy coherence in the UN System by focusing on the world of work, including in the context of the Rio+20 process involving private-sector workers and employers.

On climate change, the Worker spokesperson called for increased efforts to mainstream decent work in climate change responses and environmental policies at the international and national levels. Noting that the impact of climate change was going to be felt both by working people and business owners, delegates stressed the need for a proactive strategy to anticipate the transition. The idea of a partnership with the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) was put forward, including periodic reporting on progress concerning the implementation of national just transition policies.

Delegates also called: on the ILO to promote collective bargaining with a view to shaping social and environmental policies, as well as to negotiating new green jobs and greening existing ones; for exploring the potential of green jobs for development and social equity; and on the International Labour Office to continue its dialogue with trade unions on the Rio+20 process.

The Office welcomed the suggestion made by various speakers that the outcomes of the UNCSD and its implications for the ILO should be assessed at the 315th Session of the Governing Body in November 2012. The Governing Body concluded by inviting the Office to take into account the views expressed during its discussions concerning green jobs, decent work and sustainable development. [Provisional Report of the Policy Development Section]