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Investing in nature can create another 20 million jobs

It is possible to create 20 million new jobs in nature-based solutions if investments triple in this field, indicated a study

By Ground Report
New Update
Investing in nature can create another 20 million jobs

It is possible to create 20 million new jobs in nature-based solutions if investments triple in this field, indicated a study by three international entities presented at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) on Biological Diversity in Canada.

Investing in nature

Today, almost 75 million people are already employed in nature-based solutions, and according to the Decent Work in Nature-based Solutions report, the vast majority (96%) live in Asia and the Pacific and in lower-middle-income countries.

Many of these jobs are part-time, total employment is estimated to be around 14.5 million full-time equivalent jobs, and furthermore, the figures do not reflect losses and displacements that may occur in those jobs.

With new and increased investment, those jobs numbers can rise many times, especially in rural areas, the report argues.

Most of the spending on nature-based solutions occurs in high-income countries, indicated the report released in Montreal and produced by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Environment Program ( UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

UNEP estimates that some 154 billion dollars a year are currently invested in nature-based solutions, a figure that to address the set of challenges in the sector should rise to 384 billion in 2025 and 484 billion dollars by 2030.

Meaningful job opportunities

The new report underscores the need and opportunity to harness more of the power of nature to address challenges such as climate change, disaster risk, and food and water insecurity, while "creating meaningful job opportunities."

He recalled the definition given by the United Nations General Assembly of nature-based solutions as “measures aimed at protecting, conserving, restoring, sustainably using and managing natural or modified terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems ”.

These solutions "address social, economic and environmental problems in an effective and adaptive manner, seeking human well-being, ecosystem services, resilience and benefits for biodiversity", according to the UN text.

In low-income and lower-middle-income countries, almost all of the work done on nature-based solutions (98% and 99%, respectively) takes place in the agriculture and forestry sectors. This percentage drops to 42% in upper-middle-income countries and 25% in high-income countries.

Agricultural productivity is high

In industrialized countries, where agricultural productivity is high, spending on nature-based solutions is concentrated on ecosystem restoration and natural resource management.

Utilities contribute most of the work done on those solutions in high-income countries (37%), with construction also accounting for a sizeable share (14%).

But if the investment triples in the coming years, another 20 million jobs can be generated in the sector, between now and 2030, matching achievements such as biodiversity conservation, land restoration and climate objectives.

Standards for green jobs

However, the report warns that there are currently no guarantees that the use of nature-based solutions meets ILO standards for green jobs, since this requires that the jobs belong to the environmental sector and meet labour standards. decent.

In decent work, the ILO includes international and national labour standards, and decent work is defined as fairly remunerated work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.

The report calls for applying just transition policies, with measures to incubate and support companies and cooperatives working on nature-based solutions, and measures to help workers prepare for and secure jobs based on such solutions.

Also, universities integrate the subject into their curricula and policies that help to comply with basic labour standards, including minimum wages, safety and health at work, freedom of association, and the use of social dialogue.

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