South Africa: boosting the employment potential of an inclusive low carbon economy

In South Africa, the ILO provides capacity building opportunities for green jobs creation.

Since 2014, the ILO has been providing a series of training and capacity building opportunities in South Africa to address the employment creation potential of a greener economy. This process has enabled national stakeholders to further discuss the specific policy interventions that would allow the country’s transition to a more inclusive, job-rich and sustainable economy, as foreseen in UNEP’s South African Green Economy Modelling (SAGEM).

Quantitative assessments of the employment impact of investing in low carbon technologies to green products and processes were discussed at a National Green Jobs dialogue, held with ILO support in April 2014. The event contributed to a better understanding of green jobs concepts andfacilitated the growing exchange of best practices. Moreover, it informed targeted capacity building initiatives on green jobs at national and provincial level, such as a comprehensive national training programme on green jobs supported by the Department of Environmental Affairs and jointly implemented by the Green Fund, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), and the ILO, which is underway since November 2014.

With a view towards unleashing the green jobs potential in South Africa, the programme targets 160 government officials, private sector and civil society organisations at national and provincial level. Two courses on "Green jobs for sustainable development: concepts and practices" have been implemented so far, and two sectoral trainings, with a focus on waste management and natural resources management, are planned for 2015.

In parallel, given the 3rd phase of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) in South Africa, which is diversifying its operation by placing more emphasis on quality and sustainability of jobs and livelihood opportunities, a dedicated training course on “Green Jobs for Public Employment Programmes” took place in Johannesburg, from 2-6 March 2015.

Implemented by the ILO’s International Training Centre, in collaboration with the Department of Public Works and the ILO’s Decent Work Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa, it provided government officials from a wide range of sectors and departments with an introduction to green jobs and its potential linkages with the implementation of EPWP initiatives in South Africa. With more than 40 delegates introduced to the concept of green jobs in both mitigation and adaptation strategies, specific actions to be carried out in the framework of the EPWP were identified.

In early 2015, South Africa joined the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) which will step up its efforts for better coordination and more coherence among the rapidly growing number of green initiatives across sectors and provinces.