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International News : Renewable Energy Jobs Increase, European Forestry Sector Jobs Promoted

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Renewable Energy Jobs Increase, European Forestry Sector Jobs Promoted

Renewable Energy Jobs Increase, European Forestry Sector Jobs Promoted

 

Green jobs have been the focus of recent developments at the global level and in Europe. According to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), renewable energy jobs have increased in 2016, although more moderately than in the past. Green jobs were also the focus of a workshop that addressed their promotion in the forestry sector.

The renewable energy sector employed 9.8 million people in 2016, a 1.1% increase over 2015, according to the fourth edition of the ‘Renewable Energy and Jobs - Annual Review 2017.' The IRENA report details renewable energy employment by technology and in selected countries. It finds that China, Brazil, the US, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable energy jobs, with 62% of the jobs in Asia.

While renewable energy jobs have continued to increase since IRENA's first assessment in 2012, the 2017 Review indicates that last two years have witnessed more moderate growth. It finds that the most consistent increase occurred in the solar photovoltaic PV and wind sectors, and the largest declines occurred in the solar heating and cooling and large hydropower sectors.

The report finds that solar PV was the largest employer, with 3.1 million jobs, a 12% increase from 2015, mainly in China, the US and India. New wind power installations increased in the US, Germany, India and Brazil, with global wind employment totaling 1.2 million jobs in 2016. Liquid biofuels, solid biomass and biogas were also responsible for many jobs, mainly in feedstock supply. However, solar heating and cooling jobs declined by 12%, due to a decrease in installations, primarily in China, Brazil and the EU. The report explains that while jobs data on Africa is scarce, an estimated 62,000 people were employed in the renewable energy sector, with approximately half in South Africa and a quarter in North Africa.

The report also includes the results of a survey on barriers facing women in clean energy labor markets in the Middle East and North Africa. The survey found that employment and promotion challenges could be overcome through, inter alia, mentorship and training, and parenting support. IRENA, the Clean Energy Business Council and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) conducted the survey.

Green jobs were also discussed at a workshop, which convened from 27-28 June 2017, in Bratislava, Slovak Republic. The workshop, titled ‘Promotion of Green Jobs in the Forestry Sector,' brought together nearly 70 participants from 18 European countries. It addressed, inter alia: the identification of new skills required by the European forest sector; policies, tools and mechanisms that encourage environmental sustainability and decent employment in the forest sector; social aspects such as job stability, remuneration, working conditions and informal work; problems with outsourcing; the need to attract younger generations to careers in the forest sector; and measures to promote gender equality as women account for only 20% of the forest sector's workforce.

Workshop participants stressed the importance of diversification, new technologies and the need to adapt forestry education and training in Europe to provide new technical skills. They also drew attention to communication, conflict management and entrepreneurship skills. Participants further underscored the importance of the Rovaniemi Action Plan, a blueprint for the green economy in the forest sector in Europe that addresses green jobs policies. The workshop was organized by Forest Europe, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)

Source: IISD

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