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Guterres announces new Climate Action Summit jobs initiative

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, September18, 2019 announced a new initiative aimed at ensuring that decent job creation and protecting livelihoods are at the centre of countries’ efforts to boost climate action and urged countries to join the initiative.

Antonio Guterres  Guterres announces new Climate Action Summit jobs initiative Guterres addresses the UN after the oath ceremony
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General

The new “Climate Action for Jobs” initiative will be presented at the Secretary-General’s 2019 Climate Action Summit on Monday, September 23 at UN Headquarters in New York City.

The initiative has been developed jointly by the Climate Action Summit, together with the International Labour Organisation and other members of the Summit’s Social and Political Drivers Action Area, co-led by Spain and Peru.

The initiative provides a roadmap for ensuring that people’s jobs and well-being are at the center of the transition to a carbon-neutral economy.

Mr. Guterres said, “Today – along with the International Labour Organisation and partners Spain and Peru – we are launching the Climate Action for Jobs, an initiative to put job creation and protecting livelihoods at the centre of national climate action plans.”

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He added, “Some 1.2 billion jobs or 40 per cent of world employment rely directly on a healthy and stable environment.  Business cannot succeed on a planet that fails. Jobs cannot be sustained on a dying planet.

“We will need government, businesses and people everywhere to join these efforts so we can put climate action into a higher gear.”

The new initiative calls on countries to formulate national plans for a just transition, creating decent work as well as green jobs, and sets out specific measures for inclusion in these plans, including:

  • Assessing the employment, social, and economic impacts of climate action
  • Implementing skills development and upgrading measures
  • Designing innovative social protection policies to protect workers and vulnerable groups
  • Increasing the transfer of technology and knowledge to developing countries, and innovation and responsible investment
  • Fostering a conducive business environment to enable enterprises, in particular SMEs, to adopt low-carbon production processes
  • Devising economic policies and incentives to support and encourage enterprises’ transition towards the environmentally sustainable production of goods and services 
  • Creating mechanisms for inclusive social dialogue to build consensus for transformative and sustainable change.
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The ILO Guidelines for a Just Transition, adopted through tripartite consensus, offer a framework to guide the transition to low-carbon economies that countries can make use of.

According to the International Labour Organisation, measures to green the production and use of energy will lead to net job gains of some 24 million jobs by 2030.

As emissions increase to record levels and global temperatures continue to rise, the Climate Action Summit aims to galvanise actions that will reduce emissions and build climate resilience. It will launch concrete initiatives that governments, businesses and people everywhere can join to boost climate action.

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, who will be attending the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23, said, “The actors in the world of work – governments, employers and workers – have a key role to play in developing new ways of working that safeguard the environment for present and future generations, eradicate poverty and promote social justice by fostering sustainable enterprises and creating decent work for all.”

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Implementation of the initiative will be spearheaded by the ILO, with support from other partners in the Social and Political Drivers Action Area, including the B-Team, the International Trade Union Confederation, and the International Organisation of Employers.

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