Protecting Jobs: Decent Work Solutions for a Just Transition

The inter generational dialogue "Protecting Jobs: Decent Work Solutions for a Just Transition", convened under the SDG Action Zone, will bring together youth representatives from the Secretary-General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate and the Principals of ILO, IOE and ITUC, to discuss a green COVID-19 recovery and the urgent need for just transition strategies.

Decent work is not just a Goal, it is a driver of sustainable development. More people in decent jobs means stronger and more inclusive economic growth. Improved growth also allows more resources to create decent jobs. The efficiency and sustainability of this virtuous cycle is linked to the environment since nearly 1.2 billion jobs globally are dependent on a stable and healthy environment. This is a simple equation but one that has been largely neglected in international policymaking.

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare that a healthy life, labour markets and productive economies depend on a healthy environment. Decent work can serve as a catalyst to rebalance the development paradigm and help achieve the 2030 Agenda, but it requires proactive policies to navigate the transition. The greening of economies implies that many existing jobs will be transformed, with working methods and skills being redefined. At the same time, new jobs will be created, while others may be substituted or eliminated. But those who lose their jobs are not necessarily the ones who will get the new jobs in a greener economy. Just transition strategies are needed to help make the shift to a greener economy while creating decent jobs, overcoming poverty, improving livelihoods for this and future generations and ensuring no one is left behind.

Social dialogue is a prerequisite for developing just transition frameworks and to achieving the Paris Agreement. During the Climate Action Summit of 2019, 46 countries made a commitment to formulate national plans for a just transition, placing decent work and a just transition for all at the centre of action to address climate change. Such actions draw on the ILO Guidelines for a Just Transition, adopted by governments, workers and employers’ organizations and based on evidence and lessons learned from country-level policies and sectoral strategies.

This discussion will bring together youth representatives engaged in climate action from various regions, for an informal discussion with the ILO and its social partners represented by the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). The discussion aims to generate inputs from youth representatives on key priorities and actions concerning just transition to enable higher ambition on climate change action, deliver quality green jobs and ensure no one is left behind. The discussion will be framed around the ILO Decent Work Agenda, the SDGs and aligned with the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change.


  • Mr. Guy Ryder, Director-General, ILO
  • Ms. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
  • Mr. Roberto Suárez Santos, Secretary-General, International Organisation of Employers (IOE)
  • Ms. Paloma Costa, UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change (Brazil)
  • Ms. Nisreen Elsaim, UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change (Sudan)
  • Mr. Vladislav Kaim, UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change (Moldova)
  • Ms. Archana Soreng, UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change (India)