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G8 Labor and Employment Ministers Address Employment and Social Challenges Related to Climate Change

Ilo15 May 2008: Labor and Employment Ministers from the G8 countries and the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities met in Niigata, Japan, from 11-13 May 2008, to discuss the theme “Seeking the Best Balance for a Resilient and Sustainable Society.” [Conclusions of the meeting] [ILO Director-General's speech]

Participants agreed that a number of policies and programmes can help address the employment and social challenges related to environmental concerns, in particular climate change, namely: assessing possible impacts of environmental change and policy responses on labor markets; helping displaced workers from affected industries to transition to new jobs; encouraging skills development that responds to environmentally-friendly innovations and industrial changes; and promoting environmentally-friendly ways of working by adjusting to new patterns of natural resource use and conservation in workplaces.

Participants also noted the work of the ILO's Green Jobs Initiative, which proposes a coherent, tripartite way to address these challenges. In his address to the meeting, ILO Director-General Juan Somavia noted that “employment intensive infrastructure investment can cut poverty, conserve water and fuel and strengthen protection against the severe weather events many developing countries have to prepare for.”