Under the theme ‘Green jobs: a chance for youth’, governments, trade unions, youth groups and civil society representatives from various countries came together at RioCentro Convention Centre on Friday, 15 June 2012. The participants discussed ways to ensure youth involvement in the transition to green economies and the incentives and policies required for the creation of green jobs for youth. The employment needs of young people have to be addressed in a strategic and comprehensive way to enable their contribution to sustainable development.
Executive Director of UNFPA, Babatunde Osotimehin and Deputy Director of UNEP, Amina Mohammed both urged, in their opening remarks, to build upon the full potential young people offer and ensure adequate investment in their skills and livelihoods. Without national incentives and investments in this area, the promotion of a transition to sustainable development and green economies will not be possible. Ms Mohammed stressed that partnerships will be needed for the promotion of green jobs opportunities for youth.
In the panel discussion Mr. John Wali, Executive Director of the Junior Achievement Programme Kenya, called for the provision of capacity building and training programmes that allow young men and women to find business opportunities in emerging green sectors and become green entrepreneurs. Contributions were also mady by Ms. Rosana Sousa, National Youth Secretary of the Brazilian Unified Workers Central (CUT), Mr. George Zedginidze, Deputy Minister of the Georgian Ministry of Environment Protection and Mr. Modest Mero, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Permanent Mission of the United Republic of Tanzania to the UN.
The panel discussion illustrated experiences in catalyzing a transition to an inclusive green economy particularly for youth. Successful activities at all regional levels proved that the creation of green jobs for youth can lead to attractive economic opportunities for this young generation and contribute simultaneously to national effort in moving towards a green economy. Capacity building and training are necessary to equip young women and men with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes necessary to actively contribute to a sustainable future and a greener world for all.
An engaging discussion with the audience showed the immense interest in this topic. The results of this side event encourage UNEP and ILO to broaden their partnership and invite stakeholders to jointly build an initiative for the creation of green jobs for young women and men.