The African Ministerial Conference on the Environment highlights the job creation potential of going green

The 15th regular session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) was held in Cairo, Egypt, from 2-6 March 2015.

News | 11 March 2015
Ministers and delegates from 54 African nations met at the 15th regular session of AMCEN under the theme: "Managing Africa’s Natural Capital for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication". The session looked at policies and strategies to support Africa’s economic transformation and growth from harnessing its natural capital.

The welcoming remarks from Mr Ibrahim Mahlab, Prime Minister of Egypt, stressed that it was important to mobilize resources to create new job opportunities for young people and enable them to fulfil their potential to contribute to the development of the continent.

The Cairo Declaration, the conference outcome, recognizes the green job creation potential of transitioning to a green economy. Indeed, it calls on member states to integrate the green economy into development planning to create jobs, targeting in particular small and medium-sized enterprises and the informal sector, by promoting entrepreneurship and skills development.

With the objective to foster dialogue amongst experts and policy makers from the world of work and those in the fields of environment and climate change, the ILO co-organized a side event with the United Nations Environment Programme on the theme “Climate Change and Jobs in Africa: Is there a Double Dividend?” on 2 March 2015. This event aimed to raise awareness on the effect of climate change on jobs in Africa and share information on existing and emerging policy approaches. For instance, South Africa discussed their “Working for Water” programme that have so far created over 440,000 job opportunities and Zambia presented the ILO-led Green Jobs Programme promoting green business development in the construction sector. Egypt called for greater attention to the impacts of climate change in the tourism sector and pro-employment solutions for energy, transport and urban development.

With over 60 delegates, the dialogue resulted in several recommendations including the need to leverage climate financing mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund to scale up successful experiences that create employment opportunities, provide social protection and build skills for Africans while promoting adaptation and mitigation of climate change. This would require that climate negotiators recognise important links between climate change and decent work and just transitions for all.

The ILO participated in the Pre-Session Regional Workshop “Inclusive Green Economies for Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development in Africa: From Inspiration to Action” on 28 February to 1 March 2015, which generated key messages to consider green economy approaches as a vehicle to the Sustainable Development Goals, accelerate wealth creation in Africa by creating employment and decent jobs, reducing poverty and promoting social and environmental entrepreneurship.

AMCEN was established in December 1985 and is the African ministerial forum mandated to provide guidance with respect to key regional policies and initiatives related to the environment and sustainable development in Africa.