Planning the road to a green economy

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The shift to a greener economy has the potential to create employment across a range of sectors. Recent assessments of green jobs conducted by a number of international agencies show that there is considerable scope in sectors like agriculture, energy, buildings and waste management, among others. Most studies indicate gains in the order of 0.5 – 2 per cent, which would translate into 15-60 million additional jobs globally.

Job losses are also expected to occur due to the changes caused by a transition to the green economy. However, studies come to the conclusion that these jobs losses will be smaller than initially expected. The ILO/UNEP/ITUC/IOE report states: “In industrialized countries which stand to see the biggest impacts on their labour markets, the transition between sectors of the economy is likely to affect only 1 per cent of the work force.”

While those shifts in the labour market may appear manageable on a global scale, the impacts at national level require systematic strategies that ensure a socially just and inclusive transition.

In light of the growing interest, international agencies have begun to offer technical support to partner countries to identify the green economy potential and set incentives for its expansion. Typically, preparatory assessments are undertaken to inform a policy dialogue among key stakeholders and determine priorities for further investments and economic development plans.

As the transition to the green economy is still in an early stage in most countries, international agencies find themselves in a crucial moment for comparing assessment methodologies with a view to, improving technical support.

The ILO led Inter-Agency Expert Meeting will provide the opportunity for international agencies and partner countries to exchange experiences related to on-going assessments and to create a common set of tools that provides a more comprehensive and, ideally, complementary offer for interested partner countries.