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Thursday, December 17, 2009

ILO to impress UN to create 'green jobs'

By Quintus Perera - Asian Tribune   |  Colombo, 18 December, 09

In a dispatch from the International Labour Organization (ILO) Colombo Office, it was indicated that ILO participates in the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen to draw attention to the value of “green jobs” for reaping the development benefits and meeting the employment challenge associated with the goal of cutting CO2 emissions.

It said that ILO in close cooperation with other UN agencies, could contribute among others to facilitating economic and social transition for key sectors; promoting green jobs which contribute to growth while reducing emissions; and greening the workplace by mobilizing employers and workers.

The dispatch indicated that in this context, Ms Sachiko Yamamoto, Director of the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and head of the ILO delegation at the Conference, spoke during panel discussions on “Advancing work on adaptation to climate change” and on “The U.N. system: Delivering as one on climate change” , to show how well designed climate and labour market policies can contribute to realizing a double dividend on both environmental and social fronts.

The ILO’s latest World of Work Report which provides an attempt to quantify the employment challenge arising from the urgency to curb CO2 emissions indicates that nearly 40 per cent of all jobs worldwide – accounting for about 600 million workers – are in highly carbon intensive sectors.

The dispatch said that the report shows that by imposing a price on CO2 emissions as it will be discussed in Copenhagen, and using the consequent revenues to cut labour taxes, employment would rise by 0.5 per cent by 2014. This is equivalent to over 14.3 million net new jobs for the world economy as a whole. And even larger gains would arise due to technological change induced by green policies.

Ms Yamamoto has said that there is growing international awareness of the need to arrest climate change, in order to put the world economy on a more sustainable track. Already, as part of packages to overcome the ongoing global economic and jobs crisis, countries have launched infrastructure investments designed to promote transitions to a greener economy.

Such efforts would at the same time serve social objectives because spending on green projects promotes recovery and job creation.

The dispatch further indicated that the ILO is endeavouring to become the recognized international organization for dealing with the impact of climate change and other environmental challenges and opportunities in the world of work.

To this end, it is working to deepen its expertise in analysis and policy advice on the formulation and implementation of policies and measures which contribute to recovery from economic crisis in the short-term and to promoting fair globalization and the development of sustainable enterprises and economies which are efficient, socially just and environmentally sound in the medium to long term.

The ILO is currently assisting 10 member countries in addressing these issues.