Sharm El Sheikh—The ILO, UNEP, and UNICEF joined forces with key stakeholders from youth, governments and private sector at COP27 on November 16 to advance the Green Jobs for Youth Pact, a bold coalition to tackle the youth employment and green jobs deficit.
As the legacy of Stockholm+50, the Pact aims to increase commitments and accelerate action towards green job creation for young people as they face an uncertain future driven by the climate crisis.
“If no action is taken from this COP, 80 million jobs will be lost due to this crisis by 2030,” said Ms. Vicky Aridi, session moderator and GenU’s Young People’s Action Team member.
The three UN agencies called on actors from all sectors to accelerate the creation of more and better jobs for youth and rallied support from government representatives from Argentina, Germany, UAE, and UK, youth representatives, along with the European Trade Union Confederation, the International Organization of Employers and an education partner from India, as well as corporations such as PwC and Iberdrola.
The three founding agencies highlighted the importance of interagency cooperation on green jobs creation for youth. Mr. Vic Van Vuuren, Officer in Charge, Assistant Director General Jobs & Protection at ILO stressed the importance of leaving no one behind in the process of a just and sustainable green transition. Ms. Susan Gardner, Director of Ecosystems Division, UNEP pointed out that the Pact will prepare young people with the skills for the shift to a green economy and that every job has the potential of being a green job in this decade of action. Mr. Kevin Frey, CEO at Generation Unlimited stated that we have to ensure that young people are equipped as innovators and social change agents who will power the transition to a net zero world.
Mr. Vladislav Kaim, Focal Point, Green Jobs Working Group at YOUNGO highlighted that it is vital to get the transition right as the cost is not only 80 million jobs lost, but also the security and well-being of an entire generation. Ms. Amal Ridene, Climate Activist and GenU YPAT member, stated the need for every stakeholder to get involved in the conversation on decarbonization and green jobs creation for youth, and that collaboration is key.
Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change negotiator, Egypt, underlined that we need to create carefully designed policies for a just transition.
Ms. Lola Muller, Policy Officer, Division United Nations, 2030 Agenda, Developing Countries and Emerging Economies, BMUV, Germany underlined Germany’s commitment to the Pact and will to work together on the transition of the labour market in high impact sectors, including brown sectors.
Mr. Abdullah Alremeithi, Director, Environment Policy and planning, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), United Arab Emirates stressed that youth need to be at the core of the discussion and confirmed UAE’s strong will to empower youth.
Along the same lines, Mr. Kartikeya Sarabhai, Director, Centre for Environment Education of India highlighted the importance of environmental education for every young person, which is implemented via mandatory environmental education in every school in India.
Mr. Nick Bridge, the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change, United Kingdom painted a picture of a fundamentally different economy based on the net zero transition, leading to “More jobs and greener jobs, more skilled greener jobs.”
To make this a reality, Ms. Nicole Makowski, Coordinator International Affairs, Sustainable Development and Innovation, Argentina made it clear that we need a cross-sectoral approach and work specifically with companies to build a sustainable economy with an inclusive approach.
The creation of more green jobs has to be preceded by an enabling business environment where the private sector can not only grow but also thrive and innovate. This in turn will allow investments in better technology and upskilling to attract great talent, highlighted Mr. Amadou Sako, Adviser & Project Officer for Africa and Youth, International Organisation of Employers (IOE) from the employers’ side. Mr. Ludovic Voet, Confederal Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) said that “the green transition should be concrete on how industries will change and how it will create more jobs. There are differences between regions and countries which need specific solutions with investments and quality jobs.”
From the private sector perspective, Mr. Gonzalo Saenz de Miera, Director of Climate Change (Chairman’s Office) at Iberdrola highlighted how Iberdrola is accelerating their decarbonization with a positive focus on nature and climate, as well as society and employment. Iberdrola has committed to create 12.000 new jobs over the next three years, especially young people, additionally, together with other industry leaders in Europe, Iberdrola will contribute to creating 5 million new jobs by 2030 through skilling and reskilling. However, Iberdrola wishes to do more and thus expressed their intent to join the Pact: “The Pact is fully aligned with our vision and action. We will be extremely happy to join the Pact to achieve objectives and have a real impact. We are shaping the future and the future belongs to youth.”
Credit: Beatrice Bucht
Additionally, Mr. Robert Moritz, Global Chairman at PwC highlighted how the upskilling and reskilling of youth is critical for a just green transition and referred to the launch of the joint PwC, UNICEF, and GenU report The net zero generation: Why the world needs to upskill young people which offers recommendations for governments, businesses and youth as we set out to address how upskilling enables young people to equitably access employment opportunities created by the climate transition.
Finally, Mr. Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Global Coordinator of the Green Jobs Programme of ILO closed the session by highlighting the importance of intergenerational collaboration and shared a saying from Africa: “If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together.”
Join us as youth leader, private sector entity, government, education partner or civil society actor as we walk together in creating green jobs for a just transition and decent livelihood for all!
More information on the Pact available here.