9 JULY 2021 – According to a new joint Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-International Labour Organization (ILO) report, while good progress has been made in a number of areas, the policy framework relating to green jobs within ASEAN needs further strengthening for green job growth to meet its full potential.

Launched virtually today, the Regional Study Report on Green Jobs Policy Readiness in ASEAN is an initiative endorsed by the ASEAN labour ministers. The report launch was hosted by the Ministry of Human Resources of Malaysia, together with the ILO and the ASEAN Secretariat, as part of the Asia Pacific Climate Week 2021. Governments of ASEAN Member States[1] and stakeholders participated in the event.

Green jobs are decent jobs in economic sectors and activities that contribute to the preservation and restoration of the environment in either traditional sectors, such as agriculture and manufacturing, as well as new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The study finds high levels of green jobs policy readiness across ASEAN in areas including: linking development planning to greening, recognising the need for sector specific strategies and adjustments to training and skills development activities.

Areas where there is less policy readiness relating to greening the economy include developing active labour market policies, social protection as well as occupational safety and health.

“It is essential that towards a greener economy and further contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), ASEAN need to start the change towards environmental sustainability and aims to increase green jobs in our work force. This shift requires new types of jobs, skills and technology,” said Mr. A. Maniam, Deputy Secretary General (Policy and International), Ministry of Human Resources, Malaysia in his speech that was read by Dr. Zaki Zakaria, Undersecretary of the International Division, Ministry of Human Resources, Malaysia.

“While more needs to be done, ASEAN has made good progress in developing a supportive policy ecosystem for the growth in green jobs. Designing and implementing a suitable policy mix is new for policy makers worldwide and with this report ASEAN has identified key actions needed to ensure an effective policy mix is put into place,” said Dr Cristina Martinez, ILO’s Green Jobs senior specialist for Asia and the Pacific.

The policy mix for promoting green skills and just transition is broad and encompasses a variety of fields and levels. Policies are necessary to ensure that the maximum amount of potential green jobs are created, and that the labour force is skilled and ready to take up this employment.

Policies must also ensure that workers who are in industries that will be affected by   greening efforts are provided with support and opportunities for skills development and training so they can effectively transition to new employment.

The report captures the significant work undertaken by ASEAN and provides a series of recommendations for its Member States to further their policy readiness. They include working on a common and workable definition of green jobs, as well as creating opportunities for dialogue through the ASEAN Green Jobs Forum between stakeholders to discuss, identify and share best practices in developing green skills.

The report recommends identifying push and pull factors in developing sector specific strategies, as well as looking at financing mechanisms, private sector incentives and Occupational Health and Safety. It also recommends to map and assess the implications for social protection associated with achieving a just transition.

Further, the report addresses areas of implementation of the 2018 ASEAN Declaration On Promoting Green Jobs For Equity And Inclusive Growth Of ASEAN Community. The Declaration marked a significant step for ASEAN in promoting and prioritising green jobs.

ASEAN Member States can benefit from the opportunities of the just transition to environmental sustainability, particularly for certain sectors and occupations related to energy transition such as wind, wave and tidal power; renewable energies for manufacturing, construction and installation; expansion of the environmental industries; greening transport, and the green building and construction sector.

The ASEAN region is one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world and is especially vulnerable to severe climate impacts. As a whole, Asia stands to benefit the most from the creation of new green jobs, with ILO estimation of 14 million net jobs expected to be created by 2030, offsetting the losses derived from the reduction of carbon-emitting industries in the Middle East and Africa as well as within the Asia region.

The Regional Study Report on Green Jobs Policy Readiness in ASEAN is also available on the ASEAN website: https://asean.org/?static_post=regional-study-green-jobs-policy-readiness-asean

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[1] Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam