Desertification-related employment opportunities

The Just Ecological Transition: An ILO solution for creating 100 million jobs by 2030

The International Labour Organization (ILO) participated in the fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which was held in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, from 9 to 20 May 2022. A high-level delegation led by Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Global Coordinator of the Green Jobs Programme at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, participated in a number of meetings and issued a statement.

News | 24 May 2022
Abidjan (ILO News) – Effectively combating desertification and land degradation is indispensable for promoting decent work for all, advancing social justice and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

ILO delegation at COP15
An estimated 1.2 billion jobs depend on healthy and well-functioning ecosystems. Agriculture, the world's largest employer, supports about 1.1 billion people. Desertification and land degradation have a negative impact on jobs, lead to unwanted labour migration and exacerbate crisis situations.

Yet a positive scenario is possible, the Declaration says, adding that there is a huge opportunity to create decent jobs through land restoration programmes, using labour-intensive approaches, and through public works programmes and enterprise development.

The ILO estimates that 100 million jobs can be created by 2030 by ensuring a green transition that fully takes into account its social dimensions. Actors in the world of work, government representatives, employers' and workers' organisations are key actors for change.

The ILO is currently working to promote a better understanding of the nature and scale of opportunities for job creation through the implementation of the Convention.

The ILO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other partners are working on a new report on decent jobs and work in nature-based solutions. This report is intended to be the flagship report for monitoring job creation through the conservation and restoration economy. In addition, the ILO is working with IUCN on a restoration barometer that assesses the impact of land restoration on employment.

The UNCCD and the ILO have concluded an agreement signed by the Executive Secretary Ibrahim Thaw and the Director General Guy Ryder, providing a basis for further collaboration.

The ILO encourages the parties to reflect the social and employment dimensions fully and practically in relevant COP decisions and follow-up actions.

The ILO looks forward to working with the parties, the UNCCD secretariat and all relevant actors to decisively combat desertification and land degradation, promoting the creation of decent jobs and ensuring a just transition for all.

Group photo between the ILO delegation and COP15 participants