The world needs a new social contract,” ILO’s Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo told members of the ILO’s Governing Body at the opening session of their last meeting of 2022.
This was revealed in his first address to the Governing Body since taking up office, the Director-General said, “The founding values of the ILO in 1919 remain relevant. I pledge to do my utmost to defend these founding values of the ILO – our common values of peace, social justice, equitable economic growth and solidarity, while respecting and protecting the environment.”
Houngbo went on to call for a “Global Coalition for Social Justice” to face the challenges currently disrupting the world of work. The coalition would entail the participation of a wide range of stakeholders and would work to “facilitate and strengthen collaboration and collective action, and serve as a framework for policy coherence on social justice at the wider multilateral level and beyond,” he told delegates.
The meeting of the Governing Body also discussed issues arising from the 110th Session (2022) of the International Labour Conference concerning decent work and the social and solidarity economy and the inclusion of a safe and healthy working environment in the ILO’s framework of fundamental principles and rights at work. In addition, it would look at ensuring decent work in supply chains and promoting productivity systems for decent work, among many other items on its 47-point agenda.
The Governing Body is the executive council of the ILO. It meets three times a year in Geneva to take decisions on ILO policy and establish the programme and budget. The 346th session runs from October 31 to November 10, 2022.
Also, the ILO has launched the first Green Jobs for Youth Pact at the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt, also known as COP27.
The launch was a strategic step to accelerate green job creation for youth as well as the Just Transition Finance Tool on Banking and Investment Activities and opened the Just Tradition Pavilion.
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The Youth Pact, a partnership with the UN and other agencies, aims to close the skills gap for young people in developing countries and target climate vulnerable sectors. Its goals include creating one million green jobs, supporting the greening of one million existing jobs, and helping 10,000 green entrepreneurs.
The Pact is part of the ILO’s work to promote a Just Transition to a more sustainable and greener future. It brings together the ILO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the European Commission, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the children and youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (YOUNGO) and LinkedIn.
During the launch ceremony, on November 9, Moustapha Kamal Gueye, Global Coordinator for Green Jobs at the ILO, reminded the participants that, “investments in the green economy including clean and renewable energy, construction, sustainable agriculture, would create 8.4 million jobs for young people by 2030.”
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On November 10, the ILO, together with the London School of Economics Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and Environment, launched the Just Transition Finance Tool on Banking and Investment Activities.
The initiative aims to provide financial institutions with practical advice, emerging practices and links to relevant resources on how to embed a just transition lens into their operations, in alignment with the Paris Agreement. It focuses on banking and investment activities and outlines entry points for a systematic integration of social considerations in financial institutions’ approach to a just transition.
Speaking at the launch, Vic Van Vuuren, Director of the Enterprises Department at the ILO, said, “We are seeing first movers, we are seeing concrete actions coming from the financial sector. But to move from the current nascent stage into mainstream, the sector can benefit from further guidance. We trust that the tool will support implementation of tangible measures.”
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The launch was hosted at the ILO’s Just Transition Pavilion at COP27. The Pavilion, the first of its kind, was officially open on that same day by Eric Oechslin, Director, Decent Work Team and Country Office, Cairo; Joost Korte, Director-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission and James Grabert, Director, Mitigation, United Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The opening event, which brought together high level governments, international organisations and social partners, highlighted the key role of the new Pavilion in providing a platform for negotiators and all COP actors to engage in constructive ways to support the UNFCCC process.
The Pavilion is also hosting a Knowledge Hub to boost knowledge sharing and foster exchanges between just transition practitioners and interested actors.