Guest Article #58

The First Interagency “Forum on Green Jobs: Local Strategies and Actions”

What are the linkages between climate change and sustainable local development? What are green jobs and how do they come into the equation? How to shape local strategies and actions for green jobs? How to synchronise local initiatives with national policies intended to foster a low-carbon economy and promote green jobs?

These are some of the questions that around 40 professionals from 20 different countries addressed in the course of the first interagency Forum on Green Jobs, which took place from 4-21 April 2011, at the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization in Turin, Italy.

The Forum was developed as part of a larger ILO effort to assess and address the labour market implications of achieving environmental goals. The ILO emphasises the role of decent work in the processes towards a fairer and greener globalization.

Bringing together decision makers and practitioners, the Forum offered a space for debate and an important opportunity to share knowledge and experiences on the subjects treated. In the participants' own words:

“(….) there was a very pleasant atmosphere for discussions and group work”

“Good mixture of interactive work, theoretical and practical inputs”

“Starting with the general idea on what is green growth and gradually getting down to more specific topics and to real life examples of green enterprises really gave me a complete understanding of what is green growth”

“For me the most outstanding feature of this forum was the huge amount of information collected and the details of the interventions of the most important stakeholders”

“An excellent experience which provided me with a very good foundation and understanding of green jobs to build on in my future work.”

A trilingual event delivered in English, French and Spanish, the programme was organised around a triptych of a review of best practices and tools for green jobs, of study visits in the Italian regions of Alto Adige and Trento (both renowned for their involvement in green policies), and of policy tools. This allowed on the one hand to cover of a wide array of topics, and on the other hand to review them at both practical and policy level. Topics included: greening value chains; productivity and greener production; green building; employment-intensive investment in infrastructure; and sustainable mobility and waste management.

The Forum benefited from the technical and financial support of the International Labour Office and partner organisations including the OECD, UNEP, UN-ESCWA, UN-HABITAT, UNIDO, and UNDP. Agency staff as well as social partners' representatives from ITUC and IOE intervened during the learning sessions to share relevant policy insights.

Participants also exchanged with some of the members of the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development, which brings together bilateral donors and international organisations in the field of small enterprises promotion.

This Forum was the first of its kind and it proved very successful. We'll strive to offer an even better edition next year, drawing on lessons learnt and further involving our partners to provide as pertinent and useful a learning experience as possible to future participants.

If interested about our next courses, or for more information about the Learning Forum, don't hesitate to contact the Green Jobs team in Turin at greenjobs@itcilo.org, or go to www.ilo.org/greenjobs.