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ILO Publishes Report on Recovery and Growth with Decent Work

2 June 2010: Juan Somavia, International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General, presented his report to the 99th International Labour Conference, taking place from 2-18 June 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland. The report, titled "Recovery and Growth with Decent Work," identifies a number of vital and converging objectives for the agenda for policy dialogue and action on an employment-oriented framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth.

Among the objectives that Somavia identified for an employment-oriented agenda for recovery and growth are to: promote a “working out of poverty” approach to accelerating progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); prepare the transition to clean energy through green investments and jobs; and design integrated policy packages promoting convergence and synergy between diverse policy fields within a sustainable development approach. In the report, he outlines stimulus measures to generate employment that governments have implemented in response to the global economic crisis. In this respect, he notes that “green stimulus” measures involving investments in low carbon power, energy efficiency and water management have been prominent. Somavia also underscored the importance of investing in economic dynamism and innovation, noting that providing quality training to workers is "a fundamental prerequisite for sustainable enterprises, particularly in making the transition towards productive and innovative sectors linked to the knowledge economy and emerging green industries."

The report contains a section on "preparing for the transition to clean energy and green jobs," which recognizes that climate change adaptation and mitigation policies are major drivers of change for societies, economies, enterprises and workers. It further highlights that: all economic sectors are subject to “greening” effects; appropriate investments, policy support and skills development could create millions of additional green jobs worldwide; the shift to a low-carbon economy is likely to lead to a net growth of jobs; skills shortages and mismatches are widespread and threaten to reduce efficiency gains from new technology and slow the growth of green industries; and crisis responses in some countries have boosted the transition to a green economy, with green stimulus packages estimated at US$513 billion globally.

Somavia also recalls that, following the climate negotiations in Copenhagen, hundreds of billions of dollars will be mobilized in national investments to meet emission reduction targets, and a climate fund of US$30 billion will be established to assist developing countries. He argues that ministries of labour and social partners can lead the transformation, listing some effective measures at the national level, such as: member States' participation in the ILO Global Programme on Green Jobs; the mapping of projected climate change impacts and environmental policies on labour markets; and the adoption of social protection and economic diversification plans to help the adjustment of regions, sectors and vulnerable groups of workers affected by climate change or new environmental policies. He ends by underlining: the importance of well-designed vocational curricula and training in generating the technology, industries and qualified workers required to support dynamic green industries; and the role of social dialogue in informing and guiding the transition to a greener economy at all levels. [The Report] [99th International Labour Conference Website]