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Climate Change and Green Economy

Youth movement calls for Jobs in Green Economy

On 27th September, at the opening of the Tunza International Conference for Children and Youth in Bandung, Indonesia, over 1,400 participants highlighted the need for Job Opportunities in a Green Economy. They also pointed out the lack of Green Job initiatives and skill shortages as major constraints to employment growth and the transition to sustainable development.

Trade unions, and the ITUC in particular, welcome this message from the youth movement. In the run up for Rio+20, youth employment will be at the heart of union campaigns and mobilisation. It is fundamental that young people have access to decent work, and the green economy has the potential to deliver it, if the youth and labour movement work together towards this end.

Please find here TUNZA’s report from the event

Today, nearly 40 percent of the world’s unemployed — over 80 million people—are between the ages of 15 and 24. According to the Conference participants, Green Jobs are critical for achieving sustainable development goals ranging from eradicating poverty to accelerated growth in sectors such as sustainable agriculture to renewable energies. However, new research by the ILO shows that the educational and vocational training that will prepare youth for these jobs and bring the skills needed to grow sustainable economic sectors is currently inadequate.

“The issue of youth employment is emerging as a challenge to the global economy and to social stability in countries and communities. Some governments are now factoring youth into green employment and green development strategies and launching the vital green entrepreneurial initiative as well as education and skills initiatives to support this,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director.

Some countries and educational institutions have already begun to focus on training programmes for building strategic `green` skills that create and/or transform employment (examples below). Trade unions would like to highlight though that the creation of green jobs must be accompanied by the promotion of decent work and that training programmes need to be designed and implemented with trade unions participation for them to be accessible to all, including youth and women and relevant to the needs of the most vulnerable populations.

• In Bangladesh, the Grameen Shakti has trained over 1,000 women and youth to qualify as certified solar technicians.

• In Indonesia, where 40 percent of the labour force is working in the agricultural sector, the country’s Ministry of Agriculture in 2002 launched the Climate Field Schools to train farmers in planting strategies adapted to climate change.

• India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (NREGA) is a guaranteed wage employment programme that enhances livelihoods in rural areas. Water conservation accounts for about half of the total projects supported under NREGA, with 850,000 water conservation works funded and completed from 2006 to 2008.

• In South Africa there is the Expanded Public Works Programme of ‘Working for Water’ which provides training for disadvantaged communities to control and remove invasive alien plants which pose a threat to water security in the country.

• Faced with a severe economic downturn in the 1980s and 1990s, the regional government of Navarre, Spain, set up a public training centre for renewable energies in an effort to expand the renewable energy sector. Today, some two thirds of the region’s electricity production is derived from renewable sources and employment in renewable energies has jumped 183% from 2002-2006 giving Navarre the second lowest unemployment rate in Spain.

• In Thailand, the Ministry of Agriculture is providing training for agriculturalists on the use of bio-fertilizers to replace chemical fertilizers that emit greenhouse gases. Thailand’s Ministry of Energy is also training technicians in energy management and technology.

• With a large agricultural population that does not depend on fertilizers, Uganda has harnessed a real opportunity to pursue organic farming as an important revenue for farmers. The National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) has promoted organic agriculture with great success as certified organic exports jumped from US$3.7 million in 2003 to US$22 million four years later.