23-25 May 2017

High Level Tripartite Dialogue on Future of Work in the Pacific

The ILO 11 Pacific member States along with key stakeholders from the Pacific development community are to join the High Level Tripartite Dialogue to discuss the Future of Work in the Pacific and propose recommendations to address the transformations unfolding across the region's labour markets and beyond.

In economies around the world at all stages of development, profound changes in the nature of work are underway. Numerous and diverse drivers account for these changes for instance demographic shifts, climate change, technological innovation, shifting contours of poverty and prosperity, growing inequality, economic stagnation and the ever changing character of production and employment. The transformations we witness now challenges us to imagine the future of work over the long term in order to steer this evolution in the direction of social justice. Rising widespread anxiety about whether the future will produce greater polarization within and between countries brings urgency to this task.

Recognizing the pressing need to begin marshalling global expertise to make the future of work the one we want, the ILO launched the Future of Work (FOW) Centenary Initiative in 2013. Under the global Initiative through a sub-regional dialogue the ILO intends to share the information on the on-going changes in realities of employment and labour markets in the Pacific Island Countries and also facilitate the rethinking of policy direction towards shaping Decent Work.

Programme of the meeting

Session 3: Climate Change Impact on Labour Market in the Pacific

For small island economies, the physical impact of climate change, such as rising sea levels and the impact of more frequent natural disasters, is particularly devastating for the Pacific Island Atoll States. Migration is at times considered as a strategy for survival for the people of atoll states as is the regions reliance on remittances.

Climate change poses an enormous dilemma for the atoll state governments to retain the balance of development at home and decent job opportunities for the ones migrating to other countries. It is an opportunity for countries to plan strategies on how to adapt and respond to labour market changes including in extremis due to climate change-induced migration. With the underpinning of UN 2030 development agenda on “leave no one behind”, the future of atoll states has been accepted as the common concern by the global community.

The ILO Just Transition Guidelines offer a policy framework and practical tool to promote a just transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient and inclusive economies. Increasing numbers of natural disasters like cyclones nullify the development efforts made by the countries and results in dysfunctional social and economic systems lasting several years. In the aftermath of such disasters, the disruption of economic activities ends up with the long term loss of employment opportunities.

Assistance fatigue of donor countries and international organizations with more frequent disasters indicates the needs for more sustainable solutions to the problem. The question that should be asked is what policy responses need to be developed to cope with the negative impacts of climate change, including more frequent natural disasters, and to retain decent work opportunities for the workers in affected Pacific island countries. It is evident that we should not only respond to the negative impact after it has happened, but also to prepare, prevent and minimize it. But at the same time as the threats posed, and the seriousness of these cannot be underestimated, opportunities also exist for the climate change economy. Work to prevent the worst effects of natural disasters can mean more jobs, e.g. installing sustainable energy and water supplies. The session will discuss these both the threats but also the opportunities and how best to participate and to prepare for green growth and the just transition in the Pacific.