DURBAN, South Africa (ILO News) – As the 17th Conference of Parties of the UN Convention on Climate Change enters its second week1, the International Labour Office is organizing and participating in a series of events aimed at addressing the challenges and opportunities of climate change impacts and policies on the world of work.
“In ILO’s view, the negotiations in Durban should further work towards the implementation of the commitments of countries so as to ensure the creation of opportunities for decent work and a just transition to a low emission economy as agreed in Cancun2 one year ago. Green job opportunities should be maximized and policies that help to reduce negative impacts on jobs and incomes should be implemented” said Peter Poschen, Director of the ILO Job Creation and Enterprise Development Department, who is leading the ILO delegation to the Conference.
The ILO expects to achieve several goals:
- A sound climate change adaptation mechanism that takes into account and properly addresses impacts on workers and employers, strengthens social protection systems to cope with these impacts and considers employment intensives strategies to build infrastructure to raise climate resilient communities. (In order to assist policy makers and social partners in their discussions related to adaptation to climate change, the ILO has recently published the report entitled “Towards an ILO approach to climate change adaptation”).
- A robust clean technology transfer mechanism that considers changes needed in the current professional training system to provide new skills which are necessary for the transition to an economy based on green jobs. (The ILO has recently issued four publications which identify the new skills needed for this transition and which address the work of governments, workers and employers).
- A global instrument which will reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, (also known as REDD+) whilst respecting relevant international conventions such as the Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention (C.169) and an ex-ante assessment of the socio-economic impacts on workers and employers of the communities which are affected by such measures.
- The promotion and application of Decent Work standards to the new Green Fund and creation of green jobs in various sectors such as construction, sustainable agriculture, renewable energies, water infrastructure, waste management and recycling that will allow countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and set their pathways for the creation of real sustainable development.
The ILO is co-organizing the following events aimed at obtaining a positive outcome in the negotiations in Durban:
- Interactive discussions on the Social dimensions of climate change on 2 and 6 December in the Digital Media Lounge of the International Conference Centre (ICC)
- A side event on “Investing in people: tools and country experiences integrating social dimension in climate” on 7 December in Lebuvu River Room. During this side event, the recently published UN publication entitled “Social Dimensions of Climate Change” will be presented. In addition, the South African Industrial Development Corporation will present its new publication “Green Jobs: estimating the employment potential of a growing green economy in South Africa”.
- The ILO will also organize a side event to discuss issues related to green jobs, decent work and sustainable development. This event, chaired by Mr. Poschen will take place on 6 December in the World of Work Pavilion, the main space for the labour movement of the COP17.
1 The Conference is being held in Durban, South Africa from 28 November to 9 December 2011.
2 Discussions in Durban (COP17) follow on the 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) held last year in Cancun (Mexico) where participants agreed on a series of steps towards an international framework to address climate change. The Cancun Agreement underlined the need for a transition to a low emission economy which ensures a just transition to the workforce and the creation of decent work opportunities.