The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Regional Office in Africa, has launched it’s ‘Climate Action for Jobs Initiative’ in Africa, to protect the environment and promote climate-neutral and climate-resilient economies and societies.
The Initiative seeks to promote opportunity, equity and a just transition towards a green economy and solutions to defining challenges such as sustainable development and climate change.
It encourages governments, employers and workers to collaborate on coherent policies and programmes to realise a sustainable and just transition with green jobs and decent work for all.
The launch, which forms part of the ILO’s Green Week celebration, brought together innovators, experts and environmental leaders from around the globe to explore what a green future of work could look like, and how they could get there.
Speaking at the virtual launch of the Initiative, Madam Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, Assistant Director-General of ILO, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had revealed how vulnerable current economic and social systems were.
She said it was an important wake-up call on the critical need for economies and societies to become more resilient to global disruptions including the looming crisis of climate change.
She said fortunately, Africa was not starting from scratch, saying, the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 provided stakeholders with a commitment by African Countries to develop strategies to grow the African blue/ocean economies and the green economy.
Madam Samuel-Olonjuwon, who is also the Regional Director for Africa, said an estimated 59 per cent of jobs in Africa relied on ecosystem services, therefore, taking decisive action to adapt to climate change and contribute to its mitigation could yield a significant potential to create more and better jobs.
“However, we must not overlook the implications that such a transformation will have on enterprises, on workers, and communities.”
She said winning the battle against climate change while advancing social justice and promoting opportunities, there was an urgent need to put African young people and women as agents of change to drive the transformation.
Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, noted that Africa’s contribution to the global cumulative emission from 1751 to 2017 stood at three per cent, which was much lower, compared to that of the United States, at 24 per cent.
He said despite that, it was important to ensure Africa’s industrialisation path was guided not to follow the trend of developed countries.
Mr Baffour- Awuah, who is also a member of the International Advisory Board for Climate Action for Jobs, underscored the need to adopt sustainable and innovative technologies that would not pollute the environment for current and future generations.
“As of April 2017, 33 countries in Africa including Ghana ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change,… an indication that Africa is an industrialized future, which is sustainable and environmentally friendly,” he said.