Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The ILO participates actively in the climate change negotiations at the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) under the United Nation Convention on Climate change (UNFCCC), taking place in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010.

The ILO in Climate Change Negotiations: Climate change @ work

The climate negotiations are an effort to solve a looming environmental crisis, but the repercussions will go far beyond the environment and affect economies and societies around the world. Climate change and policies to address it will transform production and consumption patterns and thus the way enterprises and labour markets operate. Moreover, it is becoming clear that measures to protect the climate and to adapt to climate change will require active engagement of millions of employers and workers.

The ILO therefore participates actively in the UNFCCC process and the climate negotiations at the Conference of Parties in Cancun (COP16), drawing attention to the social dimension of climate change. Together with its constituents and other UN Agencies, the ILO promotes coherent policies which buffer the negative impacts of climate change on the labour market, whilst creating new opportunities for green jobs. The aim is to support Governments, employers and workers in their efforts for a “just transition” in the process of adaptation to climate change.

COP16 is the 16th edition of Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

ILO Participation in COP 16: Side events

Date and Time


2 December

Green Jobs creation: some examples of ILO interventions in different countries

6 December

Improving resilience to protect human health and welfare from the adverse affects of climate change

6 December

Inclusion of social dimensions in climate change policies and programmes: social criteria for impact assessments of mitigation and adaptation actions

7 December

The United Nations system Delivering as ONE on implementation to address climate change

8 December

UN-System Side Event on Adaptation

8 December

Rio+20: The transition to a green economy - implications for poverty alleviation and sustainable development

Background information on climate change, sustainable enterprises and labour markets

The decisions taken in the climate negotiations will affect economies and societies around the world far beyond the environmental aspects. Climate change and responsive policies are transforming production and consumption patterns and, therefore, the way enterprises and labour markets operate. The implications for the world of work of climate-related interventions are profound. More importantly, it is clear that the active engagement of millions of skilled and informed employers and workers is indispensable to realize mitigation targets and achieve sustainable adaptation results.

What do climate change and the climate negotiations mean for the world of work?

There are both positive and negative impacts on the world of work of climate change-related policies and measures. These impacts need to be managed in order to maximize the positive ones in particular for those more vulnerable - women, youth, underemployed, workers in the informal economy and in rural areas - and reduce the negative fallout through a framework for a socially fair transition.

In a document produced for the Conference of Parties in Cancun - ILO Participation in COP 16 - Brief , the ILO identifies the most relevant issues for policy coherence between climate change policies and social development policies, for the promotion of green job creation as part of the Decent Work Agenda and shows how the current gap could be bridged.

In ILO’s views, policies and measures that do not include social considerations and labour issues in particular, will very likely fail due to lack of support from civil society – included workers and employers organizations. Only climate policies that recognize opportunities for job creation, poverty reduction, gender equity and enhancement of social protection - and include these issues as one of their objectives - will be broadly supported and can be effectively and efficiently implemented.

Key documents