Asia Clean Energy Forum 2017

The road to clean energy: Policy coherence and convergence of actions key to a just transition

The Good and Decent Jobs, Skills, and Entrepreneurship for a Just Energy Transition Workshop gathered over 80 representatives from governments, enterprises, workers, financial institutions and development partners to discuss the future of work for a clean energy and just transition with a panel of experts. The workshop is part of the Asia Clean Energy Forum 2017.

News | 23 June 2017
By Minette Rimando, ILO Country Office for the Philippines1

Combating climate change and ensuring a just transition to a clean energy economy is vital for the people and the planet. According to Senator Loren Legarda, it is crucial to grasp this opportunity so that future generations will not suffer.

Senator Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committees on Climate Change, Finance and Foreign Relations in the Philippines, led the Panel of Experts of the Good and Decent Jobs, Skills, and Entrepreneurship for a Just Energy Transition Workshop as part of the Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) 2017 held at the Asian Development Bank from 5 to 8 June in Manila.

“I am glad to see that the transition to clean energy is being connected with good and decent jobs, because transition to a low carbon economy to make our communities healthy, safer and more resilient is directly connected to the well-being of the people, whether it is the creation of more jobs or the health of our people, the communities or even the availability of livelihoods,” said Senator Legarda.

The workshop brought together over 80 representatives from governments, enterprises, workers, financial institutions and development partners. The workshop was held as part of the ACEF on 6 June. The International Labour Organization (ILO) co-organized the workshop with the ADB and the Platform for Advancing Green Human Capital (PAGHC).

Mr Priyantha Wijayatunga, Chairperson of the ACEF 2017 from the ADB stressed the need to look at a just transition in a holistic manner. “We need to make an attempt to fill the gaps and to achieve what we want, which is a just transition,” he said. “The energy sector will create jobs but it is important that we have a trained population and that these jobs will pay them in a just manner.”

Growth in the renewable energy sector has led to job creation. The 2017 Renewable Energy and Jobs Report of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) showed about 8.3 million workers in the renewable sector [excluding large hydropower] in 2016 or almost 3 per cent job growth from 2015.

“Employment in renewable energy can mean new opportunities to enter into innovative dialogue arrangements between workers and employers, increasing the quality of jobs when compared to traditional energy sectors. This not only means more jobs, but better and decent jobs,” said Mr Khalid Hassan, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines in his opening address.

While jobs are rising in clean energy, Ms Cristina Martinez, ILO’s Senior Environment and Decent Work Specialist highlighted the need to manage and ensure a just energy transition. “We must work on the design of the interventions so that they bring about decent jobs that contribute to inclusive and sustainable growth,” said Ms Martinez as she shared the key messages from the workshop to the ACEF session on ‘Managing the Energy Transition’.

Senator Legarda further recognized the role of the government to facilitate and to seize the opportunity for clean energy and a just transition. “The laws are in place but the transition has to be private sector led. We have to provide incentives so livelihoods and decent jobs will follow.”

Under the Philippine Green Jobs Act, which the Senator co-authored, companies that create green jobs or employment that contribute to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment, can avail of tax incentives for skills training and research and development and duty-free importation of capital equipment used in the promotion of green jobs of the business enterprise.

Mr Robert Parua, Education Specialist in the UNESCO Beijing Cluster agreed on the need for education and skills training. “Responding to the needs of the private sector also requires providing the right skills and capital. Education and training should be accessible based on in-demand skills towards clean energy and just transition that will contribute to inclusive and sustainable growth,” Mr Parua affirmed.

Meanwhile, the Just Transition Guidelines of the ILO was among the key points raised by Mr Leonardo Montemayor, Deputy General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines and Chairperson of the Federation of Free Farmers. In 2015, the ILO tripartite constituents – governments, workers and employers’ organizations – have endorsed the policy guidelines for a “Just Transition towards an Environmentally Sustainable Economies and Societies for All” (Just Transition) to manage the transition to a low carbon, green economy.

“We support of the goals of decent jobs and inclusive growth through a just transition. This means observance of international especially core labour standards; employment creation and just remuneration with profit sharing schemes; social protection and decent working conditions; and social dialogue and workers’ participation in decision making,” Mr Montemayor stated.

The ILO Just Transition guidelines offers a policy framework and a practical tool to help countries manage the transition to an environmentally sustainable economy that drives quality job creation, social inclusion and poverty eradication, in support of the Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The application of these guidelines are currently being piloted by the ILO in the Philippines, Ghana and Uruguay.

To fully achieve a just transition, policy coherence and convergence of all actions are vital. The workshop, as Senator Legarda said, has brought a lot of convergence points and issues to go forward. Participants of the workshop recommended the following to ensure a clean energy transition:
  • Support small green entrepreneurs to accelerate a clean energy transition and create decent jobs.
  • Provide more incentives for human capital development at all levels of society and incentives for SMEs (start-ups) for green economy.
  • Include workers, employers and governments in the interventions.
  • Design instruments for policy coherence and social dialogue for the just transition across Ministries and different levels of government.
  • Scale up training for the clean energy transition in a much more rapid way assuring that more investments target the capacity of education systems, the quality of teachers and Information Communication Technology (ICT) connectivity as these are as important for the transition as are greening laws and regulations.
  • Invest at the local level so that implementation happens on the ground, reaching also the informal sector and ensure adequate financing for green skills reaches the local level.
1 Content from the Good and Decent Jobs, Skills, and Entrepreneurship for a Just Energy Transition Workshop.

For further information please contact:

Ms Cristina Martinez
Senior Environment and Decent Work Specialist
ILO DWT for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific