SANTIAGO, Chile (CMC) — The United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) have stressed the importance of moving towards a more sustainable development model to create new job opportunities in the region.
In a new joint publication, ECLAC and the ILO said that “Latin America and the Caribbean is the most biodiverse region in the world, but it is losing its natural wealth due to the environmental harm being caused by the current development pattern.
“That is why there is a pressing need to transition toward a more sustainable model, both from an environmental and labour point of view, which would enable access to new opportunities and improvements in employment,” the UN agencies said.
In the 19th edition of “Employment situation in Latin America and the Caribbean,” ECLAC and the ILO address how urgently needed environmental sustainability – especially the decarbonisation of the energy sector and the circular economy – can affect the world of work, and the challenges posed by this situation.
For example, the United Nations organisations project that the transition toward energy sustainability would create more than one million jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2030.
“Similarly, the evolution toward a circular economy – in which the efficiency and lifespan of materials improve upon promoting durability and repairability, remanufacturing, reuse and recycling – would create 4.8 million net jobs by 2030, since job creation in those sectors reprocessing wood, steel, aluminium and other metals will easily compensate for the losses associated with the extraction of minerals and other materials,” the report states.
However, it warns that environmental transitions also entail challenges for the world of work and the need to develop suitable skills among the labour force.
“To achieve a transition with the capacity to create decent employment and which is fair for everyone, the complementarity of policies is key,” Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, and José Manuel Salazar, the ILO’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, write in the document.
“Policies that aim for environmental sustainability must be accompanied by integrated legal frameworks and policies for social protection, skills development and gender equality, which promote social dialogue,” they add.