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Green Recoveries for a Job-Rich Future

9 July 2021, 14:00 - 15:30 CEST

This global discussion during the High-Level Political Forum 2021 focused on how a green economic model will create a strong recovery and be foundational in reaching the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

With smart policies and investments, millions of new green jobs could be created globally by 2030, and with this, economies can be transformed into drivers of social equity and environmental sustainability. The economics and science are clear – an inclusive green recovery from COVID-19 is the best option to provide income growth and mitigate risks to our shared future.

The discussion focused on grasping the opportunity to turn economic recovery into economic transformation — building resilient economies that account for planet and people. Each speaker noted the crucial need to make this green economy transformation just and for the whole society, noting the need to understand the connections of current global crises. “We need to look on the big scale and with appropriate width at the big issues that we have to deal with,” said Guy Ryder. “If we try to compartmentalize the challenges, we will get it wrong.”

The Parliamentary State Secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter noted that global partnerships are a key component to moving beyond the current crisis to a society-wide sustainable future.

“I want to emphasize [that] the partnership approach is particularly important because tasks this complex can only be managed in a strong team,” Schwarzelühr-Sutter said. “Everyone contributes their expertise and together we can overcome fragmented, siloed approaches … We need to share best practices worldwide and PAGE is a role model in this respect.”

In practical terms, each country brought examples relating to energy transitions, national engagement and the challenges in financing. As building the circular economy is a central component to green recovery in Barbados, Ambassador Thompson noted that preparing micro-businesses — the most prominent in the Caribbean region — for a post-COVID environment is crucial, particularly in light of a more digitized world.

“One has to work with citizen engagement and community engagement to get them on board with new practices and behaviors, and to understand the role that individuals and communities will play in the transition process,” Thompson said.

Dr. Febrio Kacaribu, Head of Fiscal Policy Agency, Indonesia similarly called out the importance of national engagement for an inclusive transition. Noting that Indonesia relies heavily on coal, Kacaribu stressed that conversations between government and industry are essential to ensure success.

"How we transition out — this is a very practical, ‘reality check’ question. We have to talk to industry because the cost is going to be distributed," Kacaribu said. "These are political decisions and it has to be made together as a country."

Though noting that each country will have different circumstances, each will face similar choices.

“We need to ensure [that] the transition path — it not only has to be just, it has to be affordable.”

In Germany’s own ambitious plans for carbon neutrality by 2045, it has similarly laid out plans to support business and industry during the transition period. Schwarzelühr-Sutter noted that the German government will carry some of the financial burden of the transition within the energy sector:

“We attach great importance to the social balance in this area.”

In closing, Inger Andersen, UNEP’s Executive Director, captured the spirit of the discussion:

“We are speaking about the green economy but maybe we should broaden it,” Andersen said. “We should talk about the green society. We should understand that the future that we reach for has to be for everyone.”

  • Welcome Remarks

    Vic Van Vuuren, Director of the Enterprises Department, International Labour Organization and Chair, PAGE Management Board

  • Panel Discussion

    Panel discussion addressing ‘Green Recoveries for a Job-Rich Future’, moderated by Nozipho Tshabalala, The Conversation Strategist:

    • Elizabeth Thompson, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary, Barbados
    • Dr. Febrio Nathan Kacaribu, Head of Fiscal Policy Agency, Ministry of Finance, Indonesia
    • Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
    • Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization
    • Inger Andersen, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
  • Interlude

    Video message:

    Youth perspective on the future of work: Melati Wijsen (Indonesia), Founder, Youthtopia

  • Concluding Reflections

    Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

  • Elizabeth Thompson, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary, Barbados
  • Dr. Febrio Nathan Kacaribu, Head of Fiscal Policy Agency, Ministry of Finance, Indonesia
  • Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
  • Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization
  • Inger Andersen, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
  • Melati Wijsen, Founder, Youthtopia
  • Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme
  • Nozipho Tshabalala, The Conversation Strategist
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