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Work to make the world a better place: 5 things you need to know about ‘green jobs’

For the UN, these “green jobs,” play an important role in realising the vision of the future that practically all countries signed up to when they adopted the landmark Paris Agreement in December 2015, an international commitment to combat climate change, and significantly reduce human activity contributing to global warming. 

In the build-up to September’s UN Climate Summit, which will aim to inject momentum into the fight against climate change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on world leaders to come with concrete proposals for decent green jobs, declaring “don’t come with a speech, come with a plan.”  

UN News got in touch with Moustapha Kamal Gueye, coordinator of the Green Jobs Programme at the International Labour Organization (ILO) – the UN agency dedicated to promoting decent work – to find out more.  

The ILO’s Green Jobs Programme

The Green Jobs Programme signals ILO’s commitment to act on climate change and to promote resource efficient and low-carbon societies. Decent work is a cornerstone for effective policies to green economies for achieving sustainable development. This implies that efforts to reduce adverse environmental impact must lead to socially just outcomes with employment opportunities for all.

The Green Jobs Programme has progressively assisted over 30 countries by building relevant ILO expertise and tools in dedicated areas of work

  1. Green Jobs: Progress Report 2014-2015  [pdf 4056KB] 
  2. Green jobs becoming a reality. Progress and outlook 2013  [pdf 1159KB] 
  3. Green jobs becoming a reality. Progress and outlook 2012  [pdf 1572KB] 

Publications on Green Jobs

International Labour Standards

Fundamental conventions

For more information, consult a list of international labour standards relevant to green jobs (pdf 176 KB). 

International labour standards can be found in the NORMLEX  database.

Key ILO documents
  1. Skills for green jobs: a global view, 2011 (pdf 5.31 MB) 
  2. Green jobs creation through sustainable refurbishment in the developing countries, 2011 (pdf 1.13 MB) 
  3. Promoting decent work in a green economy, 2011 (pdf 331 KB) 
  4. Climate change and labour: the need for a "just transition", 2010 (pdf 5.50 MB) 
  5. Estrategias territoriales innovadoras para empleos más verdes, 2010 (pdf 995 KB)  (in Spanish)
  6. The social and decent work dimensions of a new agreement on climate change, 2010 (pdf 218 KB) 
  7. Global challenges for sustainable development: strategies for green jobs, 2008 (pdf 107 KB) 
  8. Employment and labour market implications of climate change, 2008 (pdf 271 KB) 
  9. Green jobs towards decent work in a sustainable, low-carbon world, 2008 (pdf 4.49 MB) 
  10. Decent work for sustainable development : the challenge of climate change, 2007 (pdf 80 KB) 
  11. ILO training manuals on green jobs 

“Jobs are green when they help reduce negative environmental impact ultimately leading to environmentally, economically and socially sustainable enterprises and economies. More precisely green jobs are decent jobs that:
- reduce consumption of energy and raw materials;
- limit greenhouse gas emissions;
- minimize waste and pollution;
- protect and restore ecosystems.”

The Green Jobs Programme of the ILO, 2009 (pdf 1.43 MB)