Report

Skills for a Greener Future – Ambitious national commitments to implement the Paris Agreement underestimate the role of skills development measures

Skills for a greener future: a global view

The first global report on the implications of the transition to low-carbon and resource-efficient economies for skills, gender and occupations.


The main objectives of this global qualitative and quantitative analysis are to identify:
• the scale of the need for reskilling and upskilling to realize the employment potential of the transition to environmental sustainability (the “green transition”);
• changes in occupations, skills gaps and skills shortages in meeting the skills demand of the green transition;
• progress made since 2011 in the countries surveyed then in coordinating skills and environmental policy matters across ministries and between public and private sectors;
• the specific needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in adjusting to change, and effective skills policy measures to increase productivity and sup- port a just transition.

Ambitious national commitments and sectoral priorities to implement the Paris Agreement underestimate the role of skills development measures

The green transition is conditional on countries’ implementation of their com- mitments to the Paris Agreement. Since that agreement was reached, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has called for the acceleration of measures to limit global warming further, to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, in order to minimize the severe consequences of climate change for people, livelihoods, ecosystems and economies (IPCC, 2018). Countries have committed themselves to the implementation of the Paris Agreement through nationally determined contributions (NDCs), so far submitted by 183 UN Member States, which stipulate the adaptation and mitigation measures they will take in targeted economic sectors. Two-thirds of these countries recognize in their NDCs the importance of capacity development and climate change literacy, but less than 40 per cent of NDCs globally include any plans for skills training to support their implementation, and over 20 per cent do not plan any human capital related activities at all (figure ES 2). This should set alarm bells ringing, for commitments in the energy, agriculture, waste, manufacturing, transport and tourism sectors set out in NDCs are all subject to the availability of relevant skills in these industries. Who other than women and men, workers and managers, will take investment decisions, change production processes, and install and maintain clean technology?

The green transition could create millions of jobs, but would require major investments in reskilling

The ILO has produced estimates of the impact that the transition to energy sustainability by 2030 will have on employment. The extension of this analysis shows that almost 25 million jobs will be created and nearly 7 million lost globally. Of the latter, 5 million can be reclaimed through labour reallocation – that is, 5 million workers who lose their jobs because of contraction in specific industries will be able to find jobs in the same occupation in another industry within the same country. This means that between 1 and 2 million workers are likely to be in occupations where jobs will be lost without equivalent vacancies arising in other industries, and will require re- skilling into other occupations. It also means that massive investment will be needed to train workers in the skills required for close to 20 million new jobs (see figure ES 3).

The ILO also estimates that in working towards a circular economy, a net total of between 7 and 8 million new jobs will be created by 2030, as compared to a business-as-usual scenario (ibid.). The extension of these estimates shows that in the circular economy scenario, nearly 78 million jobs will be created and almost 71 million destroyed. Of those workers whose jobs are destroyed, a large propor- tion – amounting to nearly 49 million – will find vacancies in the same occupation in other industries within the same country, that is, through reallocation. As for the remainder, close to 29 million jobs will be created without reallocation, and a little under 22 million will be destroyed without vacancies in the same occupa- tion opening up in other industries. Figure ES 4 shows the 20 occupations that will figure most prominently in job destruction and reallocation in the circular economy scenario.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ ILO Global Report: Skills for a greener future: a global view

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