The South African Department of Environmental Affairs, as the custodian of the Green Fund, will jointly collaborate with the International Labour Organization (ILO) in hosting the National Green Jobs Dialogue today in Gauteng Province. The dialogue will provide a platform for refining current government approaches to addressing green jobs.
The main objectives of the Dialogue include the following:
- To present existing green jobs opportunities and challenges in the country, in relation to youth unemployment,
- To create a platform for sharing best international approaches to the green jobs concept and
- To contextualize the South African definition of Green Jobs.
More importantly, insights will be shared on how to create an enabling environment for green jobs, and the Green Jobs Report, also included in the programme, will present a short to medium to long-term road-map outlining substantial opportunities for the creation of sustainable employment through the introduction of new activities in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors.
The concept of Green Jobs has become a focus of policy debate and has been mainstreamed into the work of the United Nations and International Labour Organization (ILO). The ILO has contextualized the definition of Green Jobs within the framework of sustainable development – by demonstrating linkages between the environment, economy and society. Green Jobs is thus defined as jobs that are decent in sectors including agriculture, manufacturing or services that reduce consumption of energy and raw materials (de-materialize economies), limit greenhouse gas emissions (decarbonize economies), minimize waste and pollution, protect and restore ecosystems and help in adapting to climate change.
Although South Africa has a clear perspective on its approach to transitioning towards a green economy, the approach to green jobs will be further explored during the dialogue, as best practices are deliberated.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (The Department) has to date successfully launched various green job projects such as the ‘Farming the Wild’ project, a community based initiative to green the rural economy of the uPhongolo Local Municipality. The project aims to create green jobs and sustain two rural communities in the province through game farming initiatives. The Department also launched the ground-breaking R300 million Groen Sebenza project on 08 June 2013. The Groen Sebenza project is aimed at developing skills and bridging the gap between education and job opportunities in the biodiversity sector, and involves the placement of 800 unemployed youth in skilled jobs across public, private and non-governmental institutions in the local biodiversity sector for a period of two and a half years.