The International Labour Organization (ILO), together with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) and China Enterprises Confederation (CEC), organized a Forum on Green Jobs for a Better Life at the UN Pavilion of the Shanghai EXPO on 26 August 2010.
Climate change itself, adaptation to it and efforts to mitigate it by reducing emissions have far-reaching implications for economic and social development, production and consumption patterns and thus for employment, incomes and poverty reduction. These implications harbour both major risks and opportunities for enterprises and workers in all countries.
The concept of green jobs illustrates the transformation of the economy into an environmentally sustainable, low-carbon, climate resilient economy that provides decent work. Green jobs reduce the environmental impact of enterprises and economic sectors, ultimately to levels which are sustainable and ensure that working conditions are safe and healthy. Green jobs thus embody the two concepts of environmental sustainability and Decent Work. In her opening speech, Ms Sachiko Yamamoto, ILO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, said Green Jobs policies could prepare the conditions for a just transition when they were based on social dialogue among Government, industry and trade unions. She argued that these policies could play a critical role in engaging the country in a job-centred recovery and long-term environmentally sustainable growth.
The Shanghai Expo with the theme of "Better city, Better life" draws global attention and represents an opportunity to shed the light on ILO’s agenda on Green Jobs and Decent Work and on the roles played by the government, workers’ and employers’ organizations. Mr Chen Lantong, Vice President, CEC, stressed that enterprises should make a commitment to social responsibility for green and harmonious development and CEC had an important responsibility to guide Chinese enterprises to be more integrated, efficient and pollution-free. Mr Xu Zhenhuan, Vice President of All-China Federation of Trade Unions, proposed that green jobs be put at the top of the working agenda of the government, enterprises and trade unions in their tripartite consultations and dialogue. Pollution reduction, workplace safety and health and green skills training were all important items for collective bargaining to promote green jobs.
China is one of the first ILO member States to start technical cooperation on green jobs with the ILO. Research on the skills needed in a low-carbon economy, and projected job gains along green value chains has strengthened understanding of the green jobs concept.. This has laid a good basis for future policy development and brought new partnerships into the world of work, addressing the need for balanced social, economic and environmental development. “It is our common mission to promote Green Jobs policies and a just transition to realize global environmental sustainability,” said Mr Zhang Xiaojian, Vice Minister of MOHRSS. The Chinese Government is strengthening the coordination between employment policies, environmental policies and industrial policies so that new employment growth point would be formed
In the Forum, national and international speakers shared the latest developments in terms of green jobs policies and their contribution to the green economy. The Forum is a milestone for the ILO and its national counterparts in a joint effort to promote green jobs for decent work and a better life continuously in the process of economic transformation and especially the development of a green economy.
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Ms Chen Qiaoling
Media Focal Point
ILO Office in Beijing