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ILO: IYCW & WSM Joint Statement on Sustainable Development, Decent Work and Green Jobs PDF Print E-mail

Joint Statement to the Committee on sustainable development, decent work and green jobs at the 102nd Session of the ILC

4-20 June 2013, Geneva

 

Honorable Chairperson,

Honored Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I thank you on behalf of the International Young Christian Workers (IYCW) and World Solidarity (WSM) for giving me the opportunity to make a statement to this committee. 

 

IYCW and WSM welcome the ILO report “Sustainable development, decent work and green jobs”. Achieving environmental sustainability and generating decent work for all are -certainly in times of budgetary constraints- indeed two of the defining challenges of the 21th century.

 

Decent work for all will not be an achievable objective unless environmental degradation is tackled. That said, unemployment, underemployment, informal and precarious work are still the rule rather than the exception for a majority of the working people today, especially youth.

 

Precarious forms of employment are, for instance, wide spread in the garment industry in Asia. That industry uses also all kinds of chemicals in order to produce its clothing. These chemicals harm the environment and the health of the workers, who are not wearing any special clothing. Garment workers work in unsafe working conditions, as recently proven by the collapse of a huge building in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Their rights are not respected, such as the right to organise and freedom of association. Let me refer to the labour rights violations in PT. Micro Garment, in Bandung, Indonesia. More than 170 young workers were illegally dismissed and are still today, although the Supreme Court of Indonesia stated that they should be reinstated and even compensated.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, we must be vigilant that some sectors that are often described as “green” often promote dirty or dangerous working methods, and are based on precarious employment, informal work (such as waste collection at dump) and low income work. These are not the green jobs we are aiming at to solve the challenges of unemployment, poverty and environmental degradation. For green jobs to build a sustainable future, they must provide decent work. Hence, there is a need for accompanying green job creation policies with a strategy to ensure that these jobs contribute to prosperity and a better living for working people. The policies should pay special attention to the youth, women and migrants that are most vulnerable in the midst of the current global job crisis.

 

Decent work and the environment are, as indicated in the report, closely interrelated dimensions of sustainable development. Moreover, we need an integrated approach on sustainable development, addressing the three dimensions of development; economic, social and environmental.

 

The need for this integrated approach has already been articulated by the outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO +20 in 2012) and in the current ongoing discussions on the new development framework (MDG post 2015), which also highlight decent work as a central goal and driver for sustainable development.

 

We therefore sincerely hope that the discussion on sustainable development in this commission will be linked to and coordinated with the post 2015 process in order to enhance coherence. The new development framework will hopefully integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development and will, in the long run, deliver on equity, social inclusion, decent work and sustainable livelihoods, while protecting our environment.

 

We are truly grateful for this emphasis on sustainable development, decent work and green job by ILO at this critical time. This discussion offers an opportunity to link the promotion of environmental sustainability to the promotion of social and economic development, social inclusion, and poverty reduction. It allows anchoring the promotion of decent work and rights’ based approach as essential elements of a just transition towards environmentally sustainable world of work.

 

But, in order to protect employment and achieve decent work for all,

-        Job creation is needed, especially for the youth, and these jobs need to be decent and well paid to ensure a better life for young people and their families.

-        accompanying decent work policies are needed, including the respect of Core labour standards and other relevant standards, which will ensure the quality of these new jobs. Only the combination of the two will provide a clear path out of poverty to working people.

 

With you, we believe that the time for action is NOW.  It is an opportunity for all of us together to focus on possible strategies, policies and decisions, which will help us to create a better future for all. 

 

Thank you.

 

Ludovicus Mardiyono                                                       Ann De Jonghe

International Young Christian Workers                            World Solidarity

 

 
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