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ILO, UNEP Highlight Opportunities for Decent Jobs in a Green Economy

ILO31 May 2012: The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have released a joint study titled "Working towards sustainable development: Opportunities for decent work and social inclusion in a green economy,” which highlights that the transformation to a greener economy could generate 15 to 60 million additional jobs globally over the next two decades and lift tens of millions of workers out of poverty.

According to the report, led by the Green Jobs Initiative, a green economy, if accompanied by the right policy mix, can also create more and better jobs, lift people out of poverty and promote social inclusion. It also demonstrates that employment and social inclusion must be an integral part of any sustainable development strategy.

The report documents evidence that for countries at all levels of development the drive towards environmental sustainability and greener economies is gaining momentum. It cites the example of: employment in environmental goods and services in the US, which amounts to 3.1 million  in 2010 and growing; and Brazil, where 2.9 million green jobs were recorded in 2010 in sectors aimed at reducing environmental harms.

The study indicates that job growth has been particularly strong in the renewable energy sector, with a global increase of 21% annum. Other sectors that are importance sources of job creation identified in the study are: energy efficiency, particularly in the construction industry; and ecosystem services, with 14.6 million direct and indirect jobs protect biodiversity and rehabilitate natural resources and forests in the EU, and over a million new jobs created in China in its forestry programmes.

The report is assesses the employment and income implications of a move to a green economy in the following sectors: agriculture; forestry; fisheries; energy; manufacturing; recycling; buildings; and transportation. [Publication: Working Towards Sustainable Development: Opportunities for Decent Work and Social Inclusion in a Green Economy] [ILO Press Release] [UNEP Press Release]