ILO adopts guidelines on sustainable development, decent work and green jobs

The Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a decision concerning Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all.

Press release | 05 November 2015
GENEVA (ILO news) -The ILO’s executive body has adopted new Guidelines aimed at enabling governments, workers and employers around the globe to leverage the process of structural change towards a greener, low-carbon economy, create decent jobs at a large-scale and promote social protection.

The Guidelines allow the practical country-level application of a set of conclusions focused on achieving sustainable development, decent work and green jobs. The conclusions were adopted by governments, workers and employers’ organizations of the ILO’s 186 member States at the 2013 International Labour Conference (ILC).

“All sides of this tripartite house need to join forces to ensure that a just transition to a sustainable future takes place which properly addresses the imperatives of decent work… It is time now to move from the general proposition of the compatibility of sustainable development and employment to the concrete mechanics of making it happen,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said at the expert meeting on the Guidelines.

The Guidelines were drafted by a tripartite meeting of experts convened from 5 to 9 October 2015. Eight of the experts were nominated by the Governments of Brazil, Indonesia, Germany, Kenya, Mauritius, Turkey, South Africa and the United States, while the Employers’ and the Workers’ Group in the ILO appointed another eight for each of the two groups.

The Meeting was chaired by an independent Chairperson, Minister Esther Byer Suckoo (Barbados); Vice-Chairpersons were Ms Vanessa Phala (Employer expert from South Africa) and Mr Kjeld Jakobsen (Worker expert from Brazil).

At recent climate negotiations in Bonn “a just transition of the workforce and creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities” was recognized as an important consideration for climate action and was integrated into the draft climate agreement to be discussed at COP21. The Guidelines therefore come at a timely moment, providing a practical tool for national implementation of commitments expected to be made in Paris.

Based on evidence and lessons learned from country-level policies and sectoral strategies geared towards environmental sustainability, greening enterprises, social inclusion and the promotion of green jobs, the Guidelines include:
  • Employment-centred macroeconomic and growth policies;
  • Environmental regulations in targeted industries and sectors;
  • Creating an enabling environment for sustainable and greener enterprises;
  • Social protection policies to enhance resilience and safeguard workers from the negative impacts of climate change, economic restructuring and resource constraints;
  • Labour market policies that actively pursue job creation, limit jobs loss and ensure that adjustments related to greening policies are well-managed;
  • Occupational safety and health policies to protect workers from occupational hazards and risks;
  • Skills development to ensure adequate skills at all levels to promote the greening of economy;
  • The establishment of mechanisms for social dialogue throughout policymaking processes at all levels, and
  • Policy coherence and institutional arrangements for the mainstreaming of sustainable development and ensuring stakeholder dialogue and coordination between policy fields.
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