ILO Green Jobs participated in GGKP Webinar on "Green jobs and a just transition: Country perspectives"

This webinar features a discussion on how governments and business can lead a just transition to greener economies. The panel includes country perspectives from Argentina and South Africa, providing an opportunity for an exchange on lessons learned and best practices for overcoming social, political and technical challenges.

News | 20 November 2020
On 18 November, the ILO Green Jobs Programme joined the Green Growth Knowledge Partnership (GGKP) for a discussion on how governments and business can lead a just transition to greener economies featuring country perspectives from Argentina and South Africa. This webinar is the third in a five-part #GGKPwebinar series held under the IKI project Green Economy Transformation in cooperation with the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) - Synergies between low-emission pathways and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The webinar was moderated by Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Coordinator of the ILO Green Jobs Programme. In 2015, the ILO released a set of Guidelines for a just transition to environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all, providing a policy framework and a practical tool to ensure that responses to climate change advance employment creation, social justice and fair transitions for workers, enterprises and communities.

See the recording and summary notes below.

Rodrigo Rodriguez Tornquist, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in Argentina: “There is no plan B and we must be part of the nature! The “spirituality”, as common understanding and jointly putting actions need to be put in the heart of accelerating the transformation with environmental, economic and social dimensions”. It was highlighted that if we think about sustainability we have to drive an integral approach open for innovations in going greener in Argentina.

Mactavish Makwarela, Department of Climate Change, Air Quality and Sustainable Development in South Africa: “Inevitably, the transition will affect and impact jobs directly in some sectors. We need to put more inclusive strategies to respond to current challenges. Green recovery could play a central role in reducing poverty, inequality with sustainable solutions towards driving the economy shifting more to renewables, green transportation, and generating more benefits. In that, role of Government in greener transition is key to create, support and provide an enabling environment. Some measures in that direction are already happening in south Africa through generating more potential for new jobs by promoting green entrepreneurship. Fostering the partnerships through social dialogue could stimulate more ambitious opportunities in job creation. Skill-led interventions and gender issues should be well-planned and better-designed to go forward in the transition. Under the PAGE we are driving this work together to raise ambitions.”

Jobs will be created mainly by the private sectors, out of 10 jobs created almost 9 to be created by the SME enterprises. Pablo Somoza, General Confederation of Labour in Argentina highlighted “We must be guided by the fundamental principles of the social justice and decent work. Jobs must go green and decent in order to lead the transition with social protection package, equal opportunities and healthy environment. Just transition should be not only for workers but for all including communities, indigenous, young generations. Sectors leading trajectory for just transition with more opportunities could be renewables as other important sectors paying big role like waste management and construction …

Companies cannot grow if they don’t find people with right qualifications and skills-set. It is crucial that national and public institutions jointly with private sectors invest more in technical training and skills development to prepare workforce in the transition. Investing in retraining and reskilling of the workers could offer more jobs opportunities. Role of local and sub-national authorities is very fundamental at policy level as well in concrete interventions was stressed by Mike Mulcahy, GreenCape.

Shared perspective from GIZ in area of skills for green jobs highlighted on mainstreaming the green components such as environmental education into regular TVET system and general curricula that are not green per se; second is to support and moderate the process of both sides to talk to each other in potentially facilitating what skills are needed (as was facilitated in Brazil for opportunities in renewables) was shortly presented by Ruth Halle, GIZ.

Moustapha Kamal Gueye, ILO Green Jobs Programme Coordinator concluded “We are in a time of massive disruption and COVID-19, which has impacted our economies. As Guy Ryder, the ILO Director General recently called we need to go back to a better normal! The potential of the green recovery with notion of spirituality, inclusivity with joint work of nations and governments is fundamental since there is only one Planet for all of us. Business and private sector investments are crucial but requires the Government enabling regulatory frameworks to put in place. Just Transition should not be thought as a niche for workers but to consider the enterprises, communities, economies as calls the ILO Guidelines on Just Transition. We know that will be some disruptions and we have to prepare in advance the world of work, especially people in redundant jobs to be not left of that transition and supported through upskilling and reskilling measures”.

The webinar was concluded with five key messages: importance of social dialogue, social justice as cross-cutting approach to tackle poverty, informality and support vulnerable; emerging partnerships towards success, persistence and just transition for win-win solutions with notion of “not one-size fits- all”.