Minister of Labour and Social Affairs addresses the green economy at ILC 2017

A. Hauglie .JPG
Photo: Marthe Eikeskog, Permanent Mission of Norway in Geneva

Statement made by Norwegian Minister of Labour and Social Affairs on 7 June

From 5 until 16 June 2017, the International Labour Organization (ILO) holds its 106th annual conference (ILC) in Geneva. During the conference, the plenary are discussing the ILO Director General’s report on “Work in a changing climate: The Green Initiative”. The Green Initiative is one of the organization’s centenary initiatives to mark its 100th anniversary in 2019, and was launched to give practical application to the decent work dimension of the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable development path. Norwegian Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Ms. Anniken Hauglie made the following statement on 7 June addressing the report, focusing on the need for a just transition to a green economy, which includes efforts to secure jobs, incomes and social protection for workers.

 

On behalf of the Government of Norway, I would like to convey my greetings to the President of the Conference, its Officers, and to the Director-General of the ILO.

The report in front of us sums up very explicitly what the greening of the economy means for the world of work and point at the challenges and opportunities in a very constructive way. Overall, we can support everything that has been addressed.

Coming from Norway, a small and open economy, the effects of the transition to a more environmentally sustainable economy will be broadly similar to previous transitions although the green shift will represent a tremendous technological and structural change. In addition, we are under heavy time-pressure. We fully agree that transition to a low-carbon, green economy is a necessity, but this would be neither possible nor attractive unless it is built on the principles of a just transition, social dialogue, decent work and social protection.

Our experience show that a key issue is linking the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainable development in practical policies, while including efforts to secure jobs, incomes and social protection for workers.

Another area is skills, training and education in transformation processes.

As we see it, it is our own responsibility that our domestic labour market and societal institutions are organized in a way that redistributes both the costs and the benefits of structural change. We cannot let the burden of the green shift fall exclusively on those who lose i.e. their jobs. Moreover, we cannot let special interests halt progress. We have a choice on how we tackle this.

The domestic challenges arising from greening the economy require attention, but they are not impossible to overcome. It is our experience, that government and social partners and civil society organizations can accomplish a lot together.

When it comes to the role and response from the ILO: First I do hope that just transition to environmental sustainability as a crosscutting issue in the programme and budget runs through. Secondly, we look very much forward to the 2018 edition of the World Employment and Social Outlook on "greening with jobs". We strongly support the efforts taking in research and analyses from the ILO.

Further, we would like the ILO to focus on Decent Work Country Programmes, which includes implementing the Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all, from 2015. We see this as a practical instrument, flexible and adjustable to different challenges in different countries.

Norway contributes 1 percent of GDP in international development assistance. To succeed with the green shift  it is crucial, however, that all countries develop a national ownership to the implementation of the Sustainable Developments Goals which take into account  the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce.

The ILO and other members of the UN family can support national efforts. Initiatives like The Partnership for Action on Green Economy, Page, is an excellent example of cooperation between the different actors.  

 

I wish the Conference every success!

 

Thank you Mr. President.