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You are here: Home Events The ILO and the United Nations Climate Change Conference - COP21: ILO at COP21 in Paris

The ILO and the United Nations Climate Change Conference - COP21: ILO at COP21 in Paris

The twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21 ) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place from 30 November to 11 December 2015, in Paris, France. The ILO advocated that the global response to climate change must be founded on decent work and a just transition to environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all.

    When Nov 30, 2015 10:00 AM to
    Dec 11, 2015 12:00 AM
    Where Le Grand Palais, Paris, France
    Attendees Vice president of African Development Bank and environment ministers of Nigeria and Zambia;
    Ms. Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy of France and senior officials from the Asian Development Bank, UNESCO, AFD and ILO;
    Mr. Raymond Torres, Director, ILO Research Department;
    Tripartite panel comprising representatives of workers’ organisations, employers’ organisations and governments;
    Mr. Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Policy Specialist, Green Jobs and Ms. Ana Sanchez, ILO;
    Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnership, ILO talked on Social Inclusion and Job Creation;
    Mr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director;
    Ms. Wanjira Mathai, Green Belt Movement, Kenya;
    Mr. Ewan Cameron, Secretariat of the Pacific Region Environment Programme (SPREP);
    H.E. Henri Djombo, Minister of Forest Economy and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Congo;
    Mr. Vincent Brynat, Cofounder of the Startup DEEPKI
    Mr. Kees van der Ree, Manager, Green Jobs, ILO;
    Mr. Peter Poschen, Director, ILO Brasilia Office,ILO;
    Ms. Michelle Leighton, Chief, Labour Migration Branch, ILO.
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    The ILO has been involved in the negotiation process leading to the COP21 and has also organized various platforms for discussion on how to advance the climate change and decent work agendas in a mutually supportive manner.

    A Dialogue on Climate Change and Jobs: Shaping the COP21 Agenda of Solutions  in May 2015, generated momentum, ideas and a wide range of solutions on how actors in the world of work can contribute to the climate agenda.

    Building on this, the World of Work Summit on Climate Change  on 11 June 2015 included a High-Level Panel discussion centred on how to build resilience and create solutions in pursuit of social justice, productive employment and sustainable enterprises, and to ensure a just transition for all. At a special sitting, French President François Hollande  called on tripartite mobilization to take action to fight climate change, anticipate technological transformation, and ensure successful energy transition, amongst others.

    France and Peru launched on 10 June 2015 a "Joint Call for Action on Climate Change and Decent Work ", initiated by the ILO, urging all countries to undertake efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change which can act as a powerful engine of growth, job creation, social justice, gender equality and eradication of poverty.

    In October 2015, the ILO organized a last dialogue 50 days before the Climate Conference Towards a Successful COP21: Decent Work and a Just Transition to Address Climate Change . It was noted that the draft agreement includes these dimensions. 

    The ILO and UNFCCC committed to strengthen their collaboration  and mobilization of constituents in support of an ambitious and successful global climate change agreement. Ahead of the UN Climate Summit in New York in 2014, they called on world leaders to recognized that putting the planet on the path toward de-carbonization can deliver a safer, healthier, and more prosperous world that provides millions of decent work opportunities.

    ILO at COP21

    Climate change and employment and just transition issues

    Raymond Torres, Director of the ILO’s Research Department, discussing the labour market implications of transitioning to a low carbon economy at an event hosted by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. Mr. Torres highlighted the central importance of social dialogue for the development and implementation of climate policies, and the need to identify and anticipate the skill needs for a low-carbon economy.

    TRANSFORM // Transform our Productive Systems
    Gilbert Houngbo, ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Field Operations and Partnership, giving a keynote presentation at COP21 Action Day . Mr. Houngbo introduced several ILO decent work and climate change solutions and discussed the ILO’s role in building skills for green jobs and climate change adaptation, implementing post-disaster employment programmes and providing social protection. He stressed the need for social dialogue, social inclusion, equity and fairness in climate change response measures.

    The mobilisation of territories to accompany the evolution of jobs and skills for the energy transition
    Kees van der Ree, ILO Green Jobs Programme, presented various ILO initiatives for upgrading skills for green jobs in emerging and developing countries (most notably the Zambia Green Jobs Programme ), complementing French panellists who discussed local level public-private partnerships in the building sector and participatory planning for green local development.

    Youth, climate change and jobs
    Moustapha Kamal Gueye, ILO Green Jobs programme, discussed the findings of a recent survey on youth, climate change and jobs covering 12 major economies. He highlighted that the survey results indicate that 85 per cent of youth are optimistic that climate action will yield higher employment opportunities in their countries.

    Director-General Meeting with Trade Union Delegations
    ILO’s Director-General met with trade union representatives to exchange views and perspectives on labour issues as related to the climate change agenda, also addressing questions on decent work and just transition in the context of the Paris negotiations. The Director-General commended the trade unions for their engagement in COP21 and for their role in drawing attention to decent work, rights and social justice in the climate negotiations. He expressed ILO’s support and willingness to continue to work with unions on the follow-ups to the Paris outcomes.

    Climate Innovators: Empowering a Global Generation of Young People
    ILO Director-General speaking at a side event co-hosted by UNFPA, the ILO and other UN agencies. He called on governments, workers and employers worldwide to build on the existing areas of youth training and education in order to unleash the potential for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship and enable young people to best serve the needs of their communities and the planet.

    Africa Day ILO Director-General addressing COP 21 on Africa Day
    He highlighted the importance of accounting the social and labour dimensions of the implementation of national climate change contributions (INDCs) and invited African countries to build on social dialogue and tripartite engagement of governments, workers and employers’ organization for effective implementation of the Paris outcomes.

    Director-General Meeting with Business Delegations
    ILO’s Director-General met with Business and Industry NGO (BINGO) representatives to exchange views and perspectives on the role of businesses and the private sector in the climate agenda. The Director-General noted that effective responses to climate change depend on the involvement of enterprises and the private sector. It was agreed that businesses can and must play their role in advancing labour and climate goals, and that collaboration with the ILO will be crucial going forward.

    Skills and human capital development for green growth, green jobs and climate adaptation in Africa
    ILO Director-General speaking at an event co-organized by the African Development Bank and the ILO. He stressed that with education, technical skills and support for business development, thousands of young African women and men can become business leaders that will drive the clean energy revolution, transform agriculture and bring about the green innovation is needed for climate change solutions.

    Greening skills and jobs for COP21 and the post2015 Transformation
    Peter Poschen, Director ILO’s Brasilia Office, speaking at a Conference co-hosted by the ILO and French development partners. Mr. Poschen discussed how to manage the jobs and skills transformation necessary for the transition to low-carbon economies and societies. He described potential and existing green jobs and discussed the specialized skills gap that impedes development projects in, for example, China and India.

    Human mobility and climate change
    Michelle Leighton, ILO Migrant Branch, discussed labour migration at joint UN event Human mobility and climate change. She highlighted the importance of articulating labour market policies that would ensure that migrant workers are adequately integrated into host countries. She called attention to the complexities of policies relating to climate change, labour and migration and the need for coordinated approaches.

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