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Green jobs for sustainable development: myth or reality?

Many countries are becoming interested in investment and development strategies that stimulate growth, create jobs and enhance social inclusion in a green economy. Recognising this growing trend, the Rio+20 Outcome Document “The Future We Want” devoted a full section on promoting full and productive employment, decent work for all, and social protection. It encouraged each country to consider the implementation of green economy policies in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, in a manner that endeavours to drive sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth and job creation, particularly for women, youth and the poor.


However, what is the evidence that greener economies create more and better jobs? An event, hosted by the Geneva Environment Network Secretariat in December 2013, discussed national experiences from developed and developing countries in promoting green and decent jobs. The panel, moderated by Kamal Gueye from the International Labour Organization (ILO) included Steven STONE, Head of UNEP Economics and Trade Branch, Ulrike LEHR, from the Institute of Economic Structures Research (GWS) in Germany, Riad Mohammed AKHTAR SULTAN, from the University of Mauritius, Monia BRAHAM, from the Ministry of Equipment and Environment of Tunisia, and Regina GALHARDI from ILO Mexico.


The panel started the discussion on addressing environmental challenges by creating decent jobs. There is evidence from research on the issue of green jobs. Much money is moved in the green jobs sectors, and indirect jobs arising from the shift to greener economies are twice as high as direct jobs. Overall, a positive economic impact of greening was detected.


Through its Green Jobs Programme, the International Labour Organization is working with governments, social partners and other stakeholders to understand better the potential impacts on employment of greening initiatives, with a view to promote i) growth in employment, ii) quality jobs, and iii) social inclusion through innovative social protection mechanisms.


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