The report identifies agriculture, forestry, energy, transport, waste management, tourism, and construction as holding the most potential to create decent jobs.
The report notes that adequate measures can help ensure “that those who lose out in the transition are protected and supported,” while contributing to climate action, boosting growth, tackling inequality, and advancing the SDGs.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have published a study, predicting a net growth of 15 million new jobs by 2030 in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) if countries in the region adopt net-zero carbon emissions policies. The report highlights the importance for governments to hold social dialogue with the private sector and trade unions to ensure that a transition to net-zero emissions creates decent jobs and aligns with the SDGs.
The report titled, ‘Jobs in a Net-zero Emissions Future in Latin America and the Caribbean,’ recognizes that dependence on fossil fuel exports, current prevailing work deficits, and inequalities have made the LAC region particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and, similarly, to future impacts of climate change. The publication finds that the agriculture, forestry, energy, transport, waste management, tourism, and construction industries hold the potential to create decent jobs and, with adequate measures, to ensure “that those who lose out in the transition are protected and supported,” while contributing to climate action, boosting growth, tackling inequality, and advancing the SDGs.
The report acknowledges that net jobs “mask winners and losers.” While 22.5 million jobs are expected to be created in LAC’s agriculture and plant-based food production, renewable electricity, forestry, construction, and manufacturing, a just transition would eliminate 7.5 million jobs in fossil fuel electricity generation, fossil fuel extraction, and animal-based food production industries.
The report highlights the importance of retraining and on-the-job training programmes to prepare workers for the transition from carbon-intensive sectors, including gaining new skills to cope with climate change impacts. New low- and medium-skill jobs will also benefit a portion of the 66 million people in the region currently being underutilized in the labor market, including the 9 million youth who are unemployed, according to the report. The report warns, however, that 80% of the new jobs would be in male-dominated sectors, so women would not benefit from job creation “unless the current gender segregation by occupation is addressed.”
In seeking to provide a blueprint for countries to create decent jobs, the report makes a number of recommendations, including: extending social protection coverage, unemployment benefits, and access to health care; improving agricultural risk management programmes; enhancing occupational safety and health measures; and improving producers’ access to markets and integration into supply chains. [Publication: Jobs in a Net-zero Emissions Future in Latin America and the Caribbean] [IDB Publication Landing Page] [ILO News Release]
By Gabriel Gordon-Harper, Thematic Expert on Climate Change and Sustainable Energy