• Lead-organizer: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • 11:30 - 13:00
  • Date: 15 Jun 2012
  • Room: T-4

Green Jobs: a chance for Youth!

Organizing partners

Main organizer (submitting the event): UNEP
Co-organizers: ILO, United Republic of Tanzania
Other partners involved: UNCDF, IOE, ITUC, others


Youth are faced with unprecedented levels of unemployment. But the prospects of greening economies now offer potential for a wide range of new jobs to be created. The challenge is to seize the major opportunities for decent work the emerging new green sectors and by making existing jobs both more decent and greener at the same time. A sharper focus on youth may prove to be an important accelerator for making progress on all three dimensions of sustainable development. Significant progress can be made in poverty eradication and social inclusion by making green jobs a reality

The side event would pave the way for a global partnership for green jobs, scaling up existing efforts, identifying the policy levers and crafting a global funding mechanism.

Detailed programme

The event will focus on green jobs and youth employment. There is growing evidence on the current state of green jobs in a wide range of countries. International assessments by ILO and UNEP show that the transition to the green economy holds the promise of substantial green job creation with overall net gains in employment. But this is not the automatic outcome of environmental policies alone. Complementary economic and social policies are required to address and guide the shifts in the labour market within and among economic sectors.
It has been widely recognized that the youth of the world have not been benefitting proportionally from the benefits of development. With as much as one in three unemployed persons today between the ages of 15 and 24 years, governments are called on to shift priorities toward greater investment in youth. Youth represent enormous potential for growth and development, as many of them are well educated. Not engaging them in productive activities is a huge waste of human resources. This plight of Youth has been acknowledged by many countries and organizations in their submissions to the compilation of the Outcome document for this Conference. There is a need for bolder initiatives of what might be done affirmatively for and on behalf of Youth.
The prospects of widespread orientation to greening economies now offer potential for a wide range of new jobs to be created. Country level assessments undertaken with support of ILO and UNEP provide insight and guidance for the shaping of policies and strategies that can generate inclusive and sustainable development. By engaging in social dialogue with workers? and employers organizations (social partners) a road map can be chartered with commitments and action of all stakeholders.

To realize this potential youth will need support in terms of career guidance, focused vocational training, development of relevant and portable skills for green jobs, labour market intermediation, green entrepreneurship promotion and facilitating start-ups, acquisition of work experience in sustainable enterprises and green value chains. At the same time, investment in green sectors and the greening of enterprises should create work opportunities for youth. Public employment schemes in sustainable infrastructure and natural resource management, too, can be powerful instruments to create jobs and income, and spur local development.
The event will include a knowledge component with the presentation of the key findings of the second ILO/UNEP global report on green jobs, which will be issued on 1 June. The report represents a major milestone of the growing knowledge base on green jobs and could mark the kick-off of a global knowledge network or Green Jobs Centre, as proposed by the Republic of Korea.
The event will also present promising initiatives that could be scaled up or replicated in other countries. This will include innovative financial services, entrepreneurship promotion and skills development, with a presentation of the Youth Entrepreneurship Facility in East Africa. This is an effort underway since 2009 in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda with support from Denmark and implemented by the ILO. Speakers will include young entrepreneurs that have started green business in one of the countries.
The event will conclude by bringing together the different elements of green jobs roadmaps and begin by laying out the menu of policy options that countries may wish to follow. It will call on countries partners to commit to or accelerate the policy process.
Thus, the side event will:
- explore the potential of scaling up existing initiatives
- explore the scope of the process of greening of economies for generating new and additional job prospects for which young people might be prepared
- discuss examples of innovative financing, skills development, entrepreneurship promotion and governance mechanisms that might be considered for mounting such a strategy
- engaging interested partners ready to commit to this initiative
- identify initial steps to be taken to continue the process
Speakers will be drawn from developing countries with promising initiatives for green jobs and youth employment creation (S. Africa, Brazil, Kenya, and India). ILO and UNEP will present background analysis on green jobs. Youth organizations will show their experience and voice their proposals. Together, these contributions will lead to a better availability of relevant knowledge on tools and experience, which in turn will be a significant reference for increased efforts by countries to roll out effective green jobs strategies with a focus on youth.
The overall objective of this side event is to link green jobs policies with existing initiatives that are aimed at youth. The event will explore the creation of a global partnership to enhance opportunities for green and decent work creation for youth through investment promotion, training and entrepreneurship promotion. This will require identifying policy levers and setting up an innovative global funding mechanism. The aim is to forge a uniquely new and different response mechanism, with the urgency and focus required by the plight of a generation, involving a range of stakeholders in a non-hierarchical way and capable of implementing twenty-first century innovative financing solutions.
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