The 106th International Labour Conference opened Monday with a clear call by the ILO Director-General Guy Ryder to put green jobs at the heart of sustainable development.
On World Environment Day, Ryder highlighted the potential of the Centenary Green initiative to respond efficiently to the current and future global challenges of environmental protection, economic development and social inclusion. He emphasized the potential for greening of production, which could be a powerful engine for decent work creation and inclusive growth and development.
Guy Ryder assured the 5,000 delegates of the International Labour Conference that this was not just theory but that it was happening:
“This is to say the decent jobs of the future will not be green by definition but by design. We need the right policies to make transition happen and to make it just. And like any process of change at work that will require the combined efforts of governments, employers and workers through social dialogue.”
The International Labour Conference - also known as the Parliament of the World of Work – is hosted by the International Labour Organization and this year’s ambitious agenda include green jobs, labour migration, transition to peace and Fundamental principles and rights at work. The conference also welcomed today a guest of honor, President Tabare Vazquez, of Uruguay who proudly portrayed his country as an environmental-friendly advocate.
SPANISH: En fin, hemos mejorado sustancialmente el contexto para la inversión extranjera y los emprendimientos productivos. Nos preocupamos y ocupamos del cambio climático y rechazamos abiertamente que gobiernos de países importantes le den un portazo a los convenios que tenemos para proteger el clima y la única vivienda que ahora tiene la humanidad para sobrevivir. Por ello, en Uruguay, la mayoría de nuestra energía es de fuente renovable, lo que nos permite posicionarnos como un excelente país para invertir, trabajar y vivir.
(ENGLISH: In short, we have substantially improved the context for foreign investment and productive ventures. We are concerned about and take care of climate change, and we openly reject that governments of important countries can close the door to the agreements we have to protect the climate and the only home that humanity has to survive. Therefore, in Uruguay, most of our energy is from renewable sources which allows us to position ourselves as an excellent country to invest, work and live in).
The representative for the employers, Mthunzi Mdwaba, stressed on the specific role that the ILO can play in the transition to a green economy.
“We believe that the ILO could and must provide a unique contribution for a more sustainable environment.”
And closing the opening ceremony, workers spokesperson Luc Cortebeeck underlined the importance of key dialogues on labour migration and better crisis responses. “We trust that in 2 weeks the conference will adopt a recommendation in line with existing ILO standards and other relevant international instruments providing comprehensive guidance on placing decent work and social dialogue at the heart of peace building initiatives.”
Tomorrow and for the next two weeks the conference continues its work with committees. But high on the agenda next week, the world of work summit dedicated this year to gender equality.
Guebray Berhane, for ILO Radio at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.