Climate Change and Employment: Turning Risk into Opportunity

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Climate change and employment. It means turning a risk into an opportunity. That is the new approach of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Guest blogger Barbara Kulaga has more.

Past blogs have talked about how climate change can be viewed as an opportunity to increase employment through the green economy, which can add from 15 to 60 million more jobs by 2030.

What I want to address is the other side of the coin: the opportunities that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and allow adaptation to climate change. Efforts like these can generate significantly positive effects. Remember that, thanks to the green economy, we already created tens of millions of green jobs, and this number is rising, especially in Europe.

But what kind of potential can the green economy have in the developing countries? It can play a key role in countries sensitive to climate risk. Consider Bangladesh after the environmental disaster of the earthquake – Bangladesh has enjoyed ten years of a programme that promotes solar panel installation in rural communities thanks to a microcredit system. It has successfully created a rural market in the country.

Community participation has been very successful in developing the rural sector of the country. The microcredit initiative taken by the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh has helped rural markets grow rapidly. It is interesting to note that today, the villagers have 90% shareholding whereas the government has just 10%.

This Bangladesh case study demonstrates how it is possible to promote entrepreneurship training for women in the installation of solar panels and the creation of real jobs. This creates a virtuous circle by stimulating local industrial development.

Another example is in Zambia, where, thanks to the public-private partnership, the French group Lafarge has managed to build affordable housing, creating 4,000 new jobs. In other countries such as Ghana, Namibia and soon Morocco, new policies for job creation, using the lever of the green economy, are being introduced.

“Transaction through low carbon emissions is an opportunity to create jobs, decrease poverty and social inequality,” says Cyril Cosme, director of the ILO, one month before the big conference in Paris about the climate change (COP21).

Land degration, deforestation and overfishing will be the causes of water shortages and soaring prices of raw materials, so all of us can understand how necessary it is to leave the current development model behind.

Article and photo submitted by Barbara Kulaga, who is studying for her Masters degree in Economics and Law. She has wored in many different European programmes abroad and is passionate about writing and photography. She is one of the two founders of the @legoprojectphoto.

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