With the countries across the world plunged into recession, the International Labour Organisation along with the World Wide Fund for Nature opined that the best opportunities for stimulating economic recovery and job creation lie in “green” industries.
They noted that half of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is to a greater or less degree dependent on nature. “Stressing or destroying vital ecosystems will have enormous economic as well as environmental and social costs, the ILO and the WWF said in their latest report “NATURE HIRES: How Nature-based Solutions can power a green jobs recovery.”
The report notes that nature based solutions that harness ecosystems to address key societal challenges can generate jobs and contribute to food security. It can reduce disaster risk, help in urban regeneration and help tackle the climate crisis, the report added. Addressing climate change could create 65 million new low-carbon jobs by 2030. Every million dollars invested in renewable energy could create 7.5 jobs compared to 2.7 jobs for the same investment in fossil fuel projects, it said. Moreover, they said that solar panel power generation delivered the highest employment per unit of energy produced.
The report included some examples of green projects that help in green economy. It said that 21 countries and international organizations in Africa are developing the Great Green Wall Project. This aims to restore 100 million hectares of land and halt the advance of the Sahara Desert. The project will provide food security for 20 million people, create 350,000 jobs and remove 250 million tons of carbon from atmosphere. The report also includes the Emscher Landscape Park project in Germany. This project is aimed at building urban forest and ecosystem restoration project across 19 German cities. Over 100,000 jobs were created as part of this project till now.
The ILO and WWF also mentioned the collapse of economies, with the resulting loss of hundreds of millions of jobs and livelihoods, has revealed the inherent laws economic structure of our societies. The report stated that nature and the economy are too often placed in opposition – where there is believed to be a trade-off between human well-being and a healthy planet. “But while this trade-off may seem real in the short term, it is also obvious that, over the term, it is false; there will be no decent jobs on a dead planet,” the report said.
- Job losses of unprecedented magnitude with as many as 1.6 billion workers, nearly half the global workforce, at risk of losing their livelihood
- Economic impacts are exacerbating inequality and poverty
- For more packages to be sustainable, they should:
- Improve human well-being without harming natures
- Aim for setting the foundations for the transformation of sectors and systems
- Use existing institutional arrangements and proven measures
- Adopt multi-level and cross-sectoral approaches. Recovery packages that focus on Synergies between development, climate and nature are more likely to increase national well being
- Maximise creation of decent jobs
- Some multilateral development banks have recognised that economic room from COVID-19 is an opportunity to both tackle the climate crisis and build higher societal resilience through nature
- Nature-based Solutions augments cost-effective approaches. This helps to achieve a number of Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those relating to poverty, food and human health water security and climate action.
- Some of the most job-intensive activities that are an integral part of many Nature-based Solutions include reforestation, ecosystem or watershed rehabilitation and restoration management of massive species and the use of agroecological approaches in food production