26 July, Suva, Fiji -The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) join forces to promote a just transition towards a greener economy through decent work.
Whilst the effects of climate change in the Pacific Islands have been discussed in many fora, and particularly during the COP23 under the Fiji Presidency, the potential for job creation is often less known. Jobs that help restore the environment. Jobs that help fight, mitigate and prevent climate change. They are defined as decent jobs that are also good for the environment.
The ILO-SPREP Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on the 26th July and witnessed by the Government of Fiji during the Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP) Conference II – 2018 held in Suva, Fiji from the 26th - 27th July 2018.
Mr. Jone Usamate, Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations of the Republic of Fiji expressed his gratitude at the signing ceremony: “The initiative pledged by the ILO and SPREP fosters our efforts to promote sustainable development in the Pacific Region. All Pacific nations will benefit from this partnership and the Fijian Government stands ready to actively support the cooperation activities conducted by both organisations”.
In her remarks during the signing ceremony , ILO Regional Director for Asia Pacific – Ms Tomoko Nishimoto underlined the spirit and principles enshrined in both the Paris Agreement and the the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Agenda. “It is the commitment of the two institutions to bringing in our respective strengths and together making optimal contribution towards the achievement of the sustainable global goals. With this MoU both ILO and SPREP would hope to intensify the already strong partnership with BOSs (Big Ocean States).” She said.
SPREP Director General Mr. Kosi Latu outlined that the ILO mandate and areas of expertise are highly complementary to the mandate of SPREP: “The two organisations have already demonstrated cooperation already in the context of occupational safety and health training.” Mr Latu guaranteed further commitment from SPREP to the MoU and new partnership with ILO, including exploration of an application for a Green Climate Fund proposal.
“We look forward to working together under this new partnership to add value to our collective work with our Pacific island countries,” said Mr Latu.“There are a range of opportunities for us to explore that will help progress our vision of a resilient Pacific environment.These could include looking at our pipeline of projects, or for opportunities for working with ILO experts on national or regional guidelines for example on gender inclusiveness, workplace safety, green jobs and just transition. There are many opportunities.”
The ILO-SREP MoU provides a framework to foster joint initiatives promoting the interlinkages between decent work and climate resilience. It includes:
- Collaborating on the promotion of jobs that Improve energy efficiency, Limit greenhouse gas emissions and Minimize waste and pollution.
- Conducting environmental and social impact assessments and safeguards of projects as required;
- Developing joint initiatives to be submitted to the Adaptation Fund and/or Green Climate Fund;
- Promoting Occupational Health and Safety of workers involved in waste management industries;
- Knowledge sharing and peer-learning between Pacific countries and other countries, particularly from the South.