IBSA International Conference on South-South Cooperation: Theme II: Asset creation linkages with green works and climate adaptation generation & poverty alleviation

Meeting document | New Delhi, India | 20 February 2012

Exploring ways of broadening evidence base of low income countries on direct impact on beneficiaries (increased use of infrastructure facilities), secondary and indirect impact (road, market, irrigation) and reduction of poverty and stimulating the local economy through Green Works

The effects of climate change are already being felt around the world which is having great impacts, not only on economic and social development in general, but also on enterprises and workers. Helping affected populations and especially poor communities to adapt to changing weather patterns is now necessary to safeguard and possibly improve their livelihoods and living conditions. A right combination of investment decisions and practices is essential in this respect.

Green jobs help to prevent and reduce environmental damage, thus contributing to sustainable enterprises and economies. Green jobs can be found in all sectors of the economy; they are associated with a more efficient use of natural resources and the reduction of carbon emissions, as well as with the provision of decent work opportunities and a just transition of the workforce. Green jobs through green works in infrastructure, for instance, seek to use environmentally-friendly appropriate technologies and optimize the use of local resources in construction while ensuring that workers have quality jobs. Climate change is having an effect on many aspects of infrastructure and the availability of land, water and transport, which can have a severe impact on the economic and social livelihoods of the rural poor.

The choice of employment intensive works and assets created under MGNREGA fit well into climate change adaptation and mitigation works. The majority of MGNREGA works contribute to development and regeneration of water bodies and bio-mass. The livelihoods of the rural poor are directly dependent on environmental resources such as land, water and forests, and are vulnerable to weather and climate variability. With increased growth, increased water stress, reduced groundwater levels and soil fertility declines, in addition toreduced forest habitats, climate change will only exacerbate the vulnerabilities of the rural poor. As climate-sensitive, natural ecosystems deteriorate, rural poor who have least contributed to its deterioration are disproportionately affected due to the direct consequences of climate change on their livelihood. Understanding the dynamics, risks, and opportunities that climate change brings, and how to respond to these is in many ways is a new challenge facing all the developmental partners.

MGNREGA works, not only provide local environmental services, they have the potential to yield co-benefits of adaptation and mitigation to global climate change; the former through rejuvenation of the livelihood base and thereby strengthening resilience of rural communities, the latter through enhanced carbon sequestration in agricultural soils, pasturelands and forest areas.

Various countries - to name a few Cambodia, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines and South Africa are already proposing some aspects of a national employment / social protection schemes , promoting green jobs through green works.