Monday, September 3, 2012

Asia-Pacific countries call for intensified efforts to create green job initiatives


Government, employer and workers' representatives from ten countries in the Asia-Pacific region called for intensified efforts through social dialogue to promote the creation of 'green jobs' – and the greening of existing jobs – as critical steps in the pursuit and advancement of socially-inclusive low-carbon, climate-resilient, environmentally-friendly economic development.
The Green Jobs in Asia Regional Conference, on August 29–31, hosted by the Government of Indonesia at Surabaya, was convened by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) through the support of the Australian Government – ILO Partnership Agreement (2010 – 2015), as a follow up to the ILO’s 15th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting which prioritised the transition to green jobs and identified key policy recommendations for their further promotion in the region. The issue of green jobs will also feature prominently at the next International Labour Conference at Geneva in June 2013.
The ILO launched the Green Jobs in Asia project in 2010. The project’s main objective has been to develop the capacity of ILO constituents and national partners by strengthening policies and promoting opportunities for green jobs in five participating countries; Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Delegates from China, Fiji, India, Malaysia and Thailand also participated in the regional conference.
"It is the first time a regional conference focusing solely on green jobs has been held in Asia and the Pacific,” said senior environment and decent work specialist from the ILO Regional Office in Bangkok Vincent Jugault. "A lot is already happening on the ground and the meeting has identified critical ways to implement that on a wider scale."
The ILO defines green jobs as decent and productive employment that helps to reduce negative environmental impacts, ultimately leading to environmentally, economically and socially sustainable enterprises and economies.
Learning from the various experiences shared in the Surabaya Conference on the development of green jobs employment models, the greening of existing enterprises and youth employment opportunities, participants called for the replication, expansion and adaptation of these programmes in other countries of the region.
The representatives from governments, employers’ organisations and workers’ organisations introduced their priorities for action and the way forward. They highlighted the need to work together in the short term on such issues as the mainstreaming of green jobs at policy level as well as in the work place through enhanced skills, local economic development, social finance and social protection.
"Indonesia’s development strategies emphasise four pillars – pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-poor and pro-environment,” said director-general of Training and Productivity in the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration Abdulawahab Bangkona. "The aims of the ILO’s Green Jobs in Asia Project are aligned with these development strategies."
The ILO’s Green Jobs Initiative is the result of a partnership established in 2007 between the ILO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). The International Organisation of Employers (IOE) joined in 2008.

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