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05 June 2023

Eric Roeder portrait

PAGE is engaged in six countries in the Asia Pacific region namely Cambodia, China – Jiangsu Province, Mongolia, India, Indonesia and Thailand. Comprising more than 4 billion people, the region is one of the most diverse in the world, both in terms of cultural, ethical and religious diversity but economically. It accommodates some of the wealthiest countries on earth as well as two-thirds of the world’s poorest households. Due to its geographical location, it is already experiencing an increased recurrence of extreme weather events because of a changing climate, making a strong argument for accelerating a green transition to environmentally sustainable, low-carbon economies and societies for all.

The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) activities within PAGE focus on green jobs and ensuring a just transition as countries commit to greening their economies. The ILO work together with representatives of governments, workers, and employers’ organisations to understand the nature and scale of changes that could happen in labour markets as countries adopt environmental policies and transition away from fossil fuels and unsustainable industries. Through its mandate, range of programmes and tools, the ILO brings to PAGE the necessary expertise needed to understand the details and dynamics of large-scale economic transformations. 

A Just transition means greening the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, paying careful attention to society’s most vulnerable groups. The ultimate aim of a Just Transition is to maximise the social and economic opportunities of climate action while minimizing the risks – ensuring that no one is left behind.

Eric Roeder, ILO expert on green jobs and just transition in the Asia Pacific region, tells us more about the green transition in the region and PAGE contributions.


Q1. What are the main challenges in partnering countries in Asia-Pacific in advancing just transition?

Many countries in the Asia-Pacific region face economic constraints and development priorities that can pose challenges to advancing just transition. Limited financial resources, competing demands for investment, and reliance on certain industries can make it difficult to allocate funds and prioritize green economy measures. Balancing economic growth with environmental and social considerations is a complex task.

Shifting to a green economy may involve the transformation or phasing out of certain industries, potentially leading to job losses in the short term. Ensuring a just transition requires addressing employment and skills gaps, providing retraining and upskilling opportunities for workers in declining sectors, and creating new green job opportunities. This requires coordination among various stakeholders, including governments, employers, trade unions, and educational institutions.

Achieving social equity and inclusivity in the transition to a green economy is crucial but challenging. Disadvantaged communities, marginalized groups, and vulnerable workers may face additional barriers and unequal access to green job opportunities, training, and support. Ensuring that no one is left behind requires targeted policies, social protection measures, and active efforts to address social inequalities and discrimination.


Q2. While challenges such as economic constraints, employment gaps, and social equity issues exist, where do you see opportunities for countries in the region?

The Asia-Pacific region has significant potential for renewable energy generation, including solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal sources. Harnessing these clean energy resources can create substantial green job opportunities and contribute to a sustainable and low-carbon future. Investing in renewable energy infrastructure can stimulate economic growth, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and enhance energy security.

The region’s agricultural and forestry sectors offer opportunities for sustainable practices and green job creation. Promoting agroecology, organic farming, sustainable forest management, and nature-based solutions can generate employment in rural areas and contribute to biodiversity conservation and climate resilience. Emphasizing sustainable value chains and eco-certification schemes can enhance market access and support sustainable livelihoods.

Transitioning to a circular economy model presents opportunities for reducing waste, promoting resource efficiency, and creating green jobs. Encouraging recycling, waste reduction, and innovative waste management solutions can spur the development of recycling industries, waste-to-energy projects, and circular supply chains. Investing in research and technology to advance circular economy practices can lead to economic gains and environmental benefits.

The Asia-Pacific region offers opportunities for international cooperation and partnerships to advance just transition. Collaborating with international organizations, development agencies, and neighbouring countries can foster knowledge sharing, capacity building, and technical assistance.

The textile and garment sector in China and the Asia and Pacific regions have strong social and economic implications. The industry engages 20 million workers, making China the world’s largest textile producer, many being rural women and migrant workers. In 2020, PAGE supported the first conversation in a discussion series on Just Transition in Asia’s Textile and Garment Sector about the implications for a just transition in China’s textile sector.

More recently, a workshop was conducted in Indonesia by PAGE within the ILO project “Decent Work in the Garment Supply Chain in Asia” (DWGSCA), funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The event aimed to spur stakeholder discussions on supporting a coal phase-out in Indonesia and Southeast Asia and its implication just transition. In fact, Indonesia is one of the world’s largest textile producers and the most extensive coal consumer in Southeast Asia, making the garment industry and energy supply critical sectors for green economic transformation.


PAGE recognizes the urgent need to address the pressing environmental challenges while ensuring social equity and economic development. The strength of a programme like PAGE lies in its multi-stakeholder collaboration, policy advice and technical support, capacity building and knowledge sharing, focus on social inclusion and just transition, and political engagement and advocacy. These strengths enable PAGE to effectively support countries in their transition to green economies, promote green jobs, and ensure a fair and equitable transformation.

Q3. What is the cost of not undertaking a just transition vs. undertaking a just transition in the Asia-Pacific region?

Failing to transition to a green economy and continuing with unsustainable practices can result in economic losses. The region is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and ecosystem degradation. These can lead to substantial economic damages, increased healthcare costs, and loss of livelihoods in sectors dependent on natural resources. Additionally, the reliance on fossil fuels can expose countries to volatile energy prices and supply disruptions, hindering economic stability and growth.

In the absence of a just transition, marginalized communities, vulnerable workers, and future generations are disproportionately affected. Lack of access to clean energy, environmental degradation, and climate-related disasters can exacerbate social inequalities, leading to increased poverty, health risks, and social unrest. Furthermore, the failure to address the needs of workers in declining industries can result in job losses, unemployment, and social dislocation.

Undertaking a just transition in the Asia-Pacific region brings numerous opportunities and benefits. Green economy measures, such as investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture, and eco-tourism, can generate new green job opportunities, drive innovation, and stimulate economic growth.

A just transition ensures that workers and communities affected by the transition are supported through social protection measures, skills development programmes, and job placement services, minimizing social and economic disruptions. It also contributes to improved air and water quality, reduced pollution-related health risks, and enhanced resilience to climate change, leading to improved well-being and quality of life.

The long-term benefits of a just transition outweigh the short-term costs, making it a crucial pathway towards a more sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous future.


Farmer in Chiang Mai

Q4: How would you describe PAGE’s involvement in supporting and promoting Green Jobs and Just Transition in Asia Pacific?

PAGE’s involvement in supporting and promoting green jobs and just transition in the Asia-Pacific region is vital for achieving sustainable development. One of PAGE’s key contributions in the Asia-Pacific region is building capacity and raising awareness about green jobs. It works closely with governments, businesses, and other stakeholders to identify sectors with high potential for green job creation, such as renewable energy, waste management, sustainable agriculture, and eco-tourism.

Last year, ILO under the PAGE framework organised a workshop in Chiang Mai to build the capacity of local government, SMEs and farmers’ communities to promote Green Jobs and Just Transition in the sustainable agriculture sector through institutional strengthening and social dialogue. Participants discussed some challenges with Thailand’s greening policies, including the clarification of green jobs definitions, improving the representation of civil society and trade unions in social dialogue, and the need for analysis of the employment impact in the green economy. Participants also received advice on local income generation and Green Jobs opportunities as well as skills needed for sustainable agriculture based on the findings of the ILO Green Jobs assessment and case study analysis.[4]


Q5. What are the strengths of PAGE?

PAGE recognizes the urgent need to address the pressing environmental challenges while ensuring social equity and economic development. The strength of a programme like PAGE lies in its multi-stakeholder collaboration, policy advice and technical support, capacity building and knowledge sharing, focus on social inclusion and just transition, and political engagement and advocacy. These strengths enable PAGE to effectively support countries in their transition to green economies, promote green jobs, and ensure a fair and equitable transformation.

For example, this year ILO has released a policy brief, which was supported by PAGE, to assess the level of preparedness for green jobs creation in Thailand. These types of policy readiness assessments are helpful raise awareness about green jobs, green skills and a just transition and create an enabling policy environment for accelerating the just and green transition in partner countries.[5]

By supporting green jobs and just transition, PAGE contributes to sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region. Green jobs not only help reduce environmental degradation but also offer opportunities for decent work, poverty reduction, and social inclusion. They contribute to the achievement of multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).



  • ILO-CNTAC-PAGE Just Transition in the Textile and Garment Sector in Asia – Discussion series: China 2020

  • Just Transition, Decent Work, and Climate Resilience Report

  • ILO facilitates just transition dialogues for energy and textile and garment industries in Indonesia

  • Promoting Green Jobs and Just Transition among local governments and farmers’ communities in Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • Just Transition in the Textile and Garment Sector in China 2022

  • Thailand Green jobs and Just Transition Policy Brief 2023 cover page

    Green jobs and just transition policy readiness assessment in Thailand

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