5 June 2017

Africa: Sustainable Production a 'Powerful Engine' for Decent Work Creation - UN Labour Chief

Emphasizing the potential for 'greening' the world of work, the top United Nations labour official told delegates at the International Labour Conference today that job creation and the protection of the planet can and must work together to ensure a sustainable future for all.

Decent "green" jobs are the future and they must be placed at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), said, adding that: "Nothing will more clearly distinguish the first hundred years of the ILO's history from the second than the necessary greening of the world of work."

Mr. Ryder made this plea during his opening address to the 106th session of the Conference -running in Geneva through 16 June ¬¬¬- as he introduced his annual report which is on Work in a changing climate: The Green Initiative and provides a roadmap for a just transition to a green economy.

"Today, the Paris Agreement and the national commitments made under its terms, together with the 2030 Agenda, provide a unique opportunity to translate the tripartite consensus we have constructed into large scale practical ILO work with member States," Mr. Ryder said, stressing that the greening of production could be a powerful engine for decent work creation, and strong and balanced growth and development.

As such, he told the 5,000 delegates at the Conference that: "We need the right policies to make transition happen and to make it just. And like any process of change at work that will require the combined efforts of governments, employers and workers through social dialogue."

Along with green jobs and sustainable development, the 2017 edition of the Conference will also consider labour migration, transition to peace and fundamental principles and rights at work.

Committees of workers, employers and government representatives will be considering how best to promote peace and stability through a possible revision of the Employment (Transition from War to Peace) Recommendation, 1944 (No.71). The promotion of Decent Work opportunities is key in countries emerging from crisis, conflict and disaster.

Other committees will discuss fundamental principles and rights at work as a follow up to the ILO's Social Justice Declaration. The Conference Committee on the Application of Standards will address the situation of labour rights in countries around the globe and focus particularly on occupational safety and health (OSH).

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