Green jobs in ASEAN

Further policy strengthening required for green jobs to meet full ASEAN potential

First of its kind regional study highlights policy readiness of Association of Southeast Asian Nations to green their economies and areas where additional policies are required to capture full potential of shift towards green jobs and a just transition.

Press release | 09 July 2021
Renewable energy is a major growth area for green jobs. © Shutterstock
BANGKOK (ILO News) – While good progress has been made in a number of areas, the policy framework relating to green jobs within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) needs further strengthening for green job growth to meet its full potential according to a joint ASEAN-International Labour Organization (ILO) report launched today (9 July 2021).

The Regional study on green jobs policy readiness in ASEAN develops a policy readiness framework and uses it to assess each of the ten ASEAN Member States.

Green jobs are decent jobs in economic sectors and activities that contribute to the preservation and restoration of the environment in either traditional sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing, as well as new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The study finds high levels of green jobs policy readiness across ASEAN in areas including linking development planning to greening, recognizing the need for sector specific strategies and adjustments to training and skills development activities.

Areas where there is less policy readiness relating to greening the economy include developing active labour market policies, social protection as well as occupational safety and health.

“While more needs to be done, ASEAN has made good progress in developing a supportive policy ecosystem for the growth in green jobs. Designing and implementing a suitable policy mix is new for policy makers worldwide and with this report ASEAN has identified key actions needed to ensure an effective policy mix is put into place,” said Dr Cristina Martinez, ILO’s Green Jobs senior specialist for Asia and the Pacific.

The policy mix for promoting green skills and just transition is broad and encompasses a variety of fields and levels. Policies are necessary to ensure that the maximum amount of potential green jobs are created, and that the labour force is skilled and ready to take up this employment. Policies must also ensure that workers who are in industries that will be affected by greening efforts are provided with support and opportunities for skills development and training so they can effectively transition to new employment.

The report captures the significant work undertaken by ASEAN and provides a series of recommendations for the Member States to further their policy readiness.

These include working on a common and workable definition of green jobs, as well as creating opportunities for dialogue through the ASEAN Green Jobs Forum between stakeholders to discuss, identify and share best practices in developing green skills.

The report recommends identifying push and pull factors in developing sector specific strategies as well as looking at financing mechanisms, private sector incentives and Occupational Health and Safety (OSH). Mapping and assessing the implications for social protection associated with achieving a just transition is also recommended.

The report addresses areas of implementation of the 2018 ASEAN Declaration On Promoting Green Jobs For Equity And Inclusive Growth Of ASEAN Community. The Declaration marked a significant step for ASEAN promoting and prioritizing green jobs. ASEAN member countries can benefit from the opportunities of the just transition to environmental sustainability, particularly for certain sectors and occupations related to energy transition such as wind, wave and tidal power; renewable energies for manufacturing, construction and installation; expansion of the environmental industries; greening transport, and the green building and construction sector.

The ASEAN region is one of the most disaster-prone region in the world and is especially vulnerable to severe climate impacts. As a whole, Asia stands to benefit the most from the creation of new green jobs, with ILO estimates of 14 million net jobs expected to be created by 2030, offsetting the losses derived from the reduction of carbon-emitting industries in the Middle East and Africa as well as within the Asia region.

For further information, please contact Steve Needham, Senior Communications Officer, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific at