ILO Paper Focuses on Sustainable Development, Green Jobs

ILOMarch 2013: The International Labour Organization (ILO) has released a paper, titled “Sustainable development, decent work and green jobs,” which is to be discussed at the June 2013 session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Noting that environmental degradation and climate change will increasingly require enterprises and labor markets to adjust their ways of working, the paper argues that the shift to a sustainable, greener economy offers opportunities for social development, including: creating more jobs; enhancing the quality of existing jobs; and advancing social inclusion.

The authors highlight recent calls for decent work and "a just transition" to low-carbon economies, made in the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), the Cancun Agreements on climate change, and some national policy statements. Drawing on a study of 25 countries and situations, they cite examples of social and labor policies that combine social protection, employment creation, and skill development.

The International Labor Conference, which meets for its 102nd session, will discuss the paper under an agenda item on the policy framework for the transition to sustainable development.

The ILO has been hosting global consultations on Growth and Employment in the post-2015 development framework since May 2012, beginning with a global thematic consultation in Tokyo, Japan, on 15-16 May 2012, involving over 80 participants from research and academic institutions, civil society, governments, trade unions, the private sector, and international organizations. Participants recommended that the post-2015 framework include: financing and technology transfer for green growth; policies to promote labor-intensive and high-productivity growth along with better labor standards; and recognition of the growing scarcity of resources. On the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), they recommended maintaining health, education and public services as the focus of the new agenda, while focusing on quality of achievements, in addition to quantitative measures.

The Government of Japan, ILO, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) organized a December 2012 briefing for permanent missions to UN Headquarters in New York to discuss messages from the Tokyo meeting. Online public consultations on growth and employment in the post-2015 development agenda recently concluded on the “World We Want 2015” portal. An ILO spokesperson indicated that another expert meeting might be organized in June 2013. [Publication: Sustainable Development, Decent Work, and Green Jobs] [International Labour Conference Agenda] [ILO Press Release on Tokyo Meeting] [Report of Tokyo Meeting] [Report of Briefing to Permanent Missions] [ILO Webpage on post-2015 development agenda] [Online Public Consultation on Growth and Employment] [IISD RS Sources][Post-2015 Policy & Practice post on Growth and Employment Global Consultation]