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Cancun Agreement: ILO highlights call for a “Just Transition” with green jobs and decent work

The ILO praised the 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) on climate change for including social and decent work dimensions in the outcome document, signaling broad recognition for a “just transition” to a low-carbon economy with decent work and greener jobs.

News | 15 December 2010

CANCUN (ILO News) – The International Labour Office (ILO) praised the 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) on climate change for including social and decent work dimensions in the outcome document, signaling broad recognition for a “just transition” to a low-carbon economy with decent work and greener jobs.

“We are glad to see that countries recognize that it is not necessary to choose between emissions reduction and sustainable development,” said Peter Poschen, Director of the ILO Enterprise Department and head of the delegation to Cancun. “In fact, well designed climate policies and measures can promote social protection, food security, decent work opportunities and create new income. By including social and decent work dimensions into the outcome of these negotiations we create the right environment for a just transition from a carbon-intensive economy to a low-carbon one. The Cancun Agreement is a first step to achieve it”.

The ILO organized a series of side events involving other UN agencies to discuss decent work and the social dimensions of climate change, showcasing progress made by countries with the ILO Green Jobs Programme, such as Brazil, China, India and Costa Rica.

The ILO agenda for Green Jobs promotes a socially fair transition, in which vulnerabilities, changes in the labour market and new business models and opportunities are addressed through an inclusive social dialogue.

A “Just Transition” for the workforce and the creation of decent work are part of the shared vision for long term global action of the Cancun Agreement. The Conference concluded on a series of steps towards an international framework to address climate change.

The Cancun Agreement recognizes the importance of linking labour issues with climate change impact and responsive policies. The agreement signals that addressing climate change requires a major shift in the way the world produces and consumes. This structural change will have significant impacts on enterprises and workers, both negative and positive. The challenge is to create and seize the opportunities for new and greener jobs to off-set the losses in sectors that may jeopardize sustainable development. “If addressed wisely, benefits will outweigh costs. A fair and inclusive structural change to a sustainable economy can be achieved creating millions of much needed jobs and significant advances in reducing poverty”, added Mr. Poschen.

In Cancun further progress has been made, with the creation of the Cancun Adaptation Framework, technology development and transfer – among others. Other key steps are measures to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. An important achievement is the set up of the fast-start climate fund of USD 30 billion for the period 2010-2012, and a longer term perspective of mobilizing USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to address the need of developing countries.

Tags: green jobs, environment

Unit responsible: Enterprises Department (ENTERPRISES)

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