Report launch: Regional study on Green Jobs policy readiness in ASEAN

Summary of ASEAN Green Jobs Policy Readiness Report Launch event held as part of Asia Pacific Climate Week 2021

Meeting document | 19 July 2021
Date: Friday, 9 July 2021
Time: 10:00 am – 11:00 am JST (GMT+9 Tokyo Time)

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Mr A Maniam, Deputy Secretary General (Policy and International), Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR) Malaysia – delivered by Dr Zaki Zakaria
  • Welcome to the launch. Thanks ILO and ASEAN secretariat for publication of final report.
  • ASEAN GJ Declaration was adopted in Nov 2018 at ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur. It requires strong coordination and collaboration among all stakeholders to realize the goals set in the Declaration.
  • ASEAN Labour Ministers Meeting established a Green Initiative at 108th International Labour Conference in June 2019 with the objective to develop a common platform for Green Jobs (GJ) promotion for regional development in each AMS.
  • The first ASEAN Green Jobs Forum on implementation of ASEAN Green Jobs Declaration was held on 7-9 Oct 2020.
  • Key findings of the regional study concluded that already a range of strategies and initiatives are in place that contribute to the promotion of green jobs and green skills. Gaps remain in the definition of GJ and Green Skills. Clear definition in line with the ILO GJ concept is important.
  • The current economy is undergoing rapid transformation bringing transformation also to the world of work. The New Normal following the COVID19 pandemic requires balance based on principled inclusion and sustainability to realize a just transition toward greener economy and contribute to SDGs achievement.
  • ASEAN Member States (AMS) will work together to enhance green skills in the workforce and promote new green jobs and green technology. AMS will also work together to promote GJ and green skills with other bodies and partners. Common and workable framework and knowledge sharing platform are important. Malaysia will provide continuous support to promote GJs in line with the ASEAN Declaration and affirm its readiness and role to contribute to the cooperation in promoting GJ and green skills.
ILO Ms Panudda Boonpala, Deputy Regional Director
  • We are finding ourselves in an extraordinary challenging time with COVID emergency amidst climate change emergency. It is more important than ever for the labour market to adapt to climate change, promote GJ and decent work.
  • At the 2021 ILC the ILO tripartite delegates adopted the ILO Global Call to Action for a Human-Centred Recovery, to promote economic growth and employment and a just transition to advance decent work, while putting people at the heart of the transition.
  • GJ are a high priority in ASEAN with the 2018 Declaration as a significant step for AMS in the effort to promote GJ.
  • ASEAN is an important region for energy transition toward renewables with GJ creation, which will benefit all AMS. This is taking place at different paces.
  • ILO supported the research and shared results of the study, and will continue collaboration with AMS as they are preparing to build back better their economy, learning from each other and facilitating a just transition, while protecting workers’ rights and realizing employers’ ambitions.

Presentation on regional study

Dr Samantha Sharpe, Research Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney
  • Just transition is both the pathway and the goal set against different country context.
  • The study looked at the policy readiness of AMS in the 9 policy areas outlined in the ILO JT Guidelines.
  • Policy coherence and coordination is important. It’s necessary to break down silos among departments. Coordination mechanisms in early stages are available in AMS. Need evidence on how these mechanisms are working.
  • Incentives for private sector are also critical.
  • Findings from the report can be found online.

Panel discussion

Malaysia – Dr. Zaki Zakaria, Undersecretary, International Division, Ministry Of Human Resources
  • Policy coherence and coordination is essential in effective promotion of green jobs. How is Malaysia addressing these needs for integration?
    • Inter-ministerial collaboration on GJ needs strong policy. Before coordination, it is key to first have the national policy in place, which is formulated based on the Climate Convention, Paris Agreement and Tokyo protocol.
    • Environmental sustainability is one key focus strategy along economic and social development which is integrated into the main agenda of growth and development in the national development plan.
    • The policy direction provides the foundation for coordination. The vision is then translated into objectives, programmes and initiatives. The green agenda is integrated into the national technology policy with a green technology master plan. The national strategy on climate change, GJ and green skills are integrated into the work of Ministries of transport, natural resources, and education, which also calls for coordination among the relevant ministries.
  • How does Malaysia enable inter-Ministerial collaboration on promoting green jobs?
    • The Minister chairs the committee calling among several ministries involved in GJ. Next step will be to reidentify and realign GJ and green skills in the agenda. Come up with figures. Plan GJ mapping study, and plan how to move forward.
Philippines - Mr. John Emmanuel B. Villanueva, Acting Supervising Labor and Employment Officer
  • How has the enactment of the Green Jobs Act supported the promotion of green jobs in the Philippines?
    • ü The Green Jobs Act is the first legislation in ASEAN on GJ. The law follows policy framework to create demand with well-functioning arrangement. Supply and demand strategies include fiscal incentives. encouraging businesses to generate green jobs, e.g. through tax incentives for skills training, promotion of green goods and services, and green technologies.
  • How has the Philippines Green Jobs Act supported the acceleration of greening of vocational education and training systems in the Philippines?
    • It has provided education and training systems under the Climate Change Commission. It has also enabled further integration of green topics and learning areas of environment and disaster risk management in the curriculum of technical education and higher education through the Department of Education. This includes Green Skills in green funds qualifications.
    • It has also enabled the Department of labour and employment to integrate GJ in national HR development plans to enable and sustain a transition to a green economy, that promotes social justice and workers’ welfare.
    • It has also created an institutional arrangement that involves an inter-agency committee of government agencies implementing GJ, linked to tripartite and social partners through social dialogue and multi-stakeholder consultation.
    • As well as contributed to the formulation of a Monitoring & Evaluation of Plan and enhance statistics on GJ and strengthen structure of GJ Plan.
Singapore - Mr. Leon Ang, Senior Assistant Director, International Relations Unit, Workplace Policy and Strategy Division, Ministry of Manpower of Singapore
  • How does the Singapore Green Plan 2030 coordinate greening of industrial sectors and employment in Singapore?
    • Sustainable development has been at the forefront for Singapore since 1960s.
    • In Feb 2021, Singapore reviewed its next 10-year development strategy and strengthened its commitment to SDGs and Paris Agreement with 20 targets and 5 pillars: including green, livable and sustainable city, cleaner energy and energy efficiency, which involves multiple agencies incl. education and environment.
    • Green growth brings new opportunities to industries and the workforce to capture export and market access with new job opportunities and sustainable competitive advantages.
    • Green finance, consultancy and management also contribute to the greening of industrial sectors and employment.
  • How does the Singapore Green Plan 2030 support innovation both in the private and public sectors to support greening of employment?
    • The public sector is a key component and enabler in greening of employment. More ambitious targets are being set along the way to enhance environmental sustainability in the public sector infrastructure and operation, public service, procurement and education.
    • It’s important to develop a culture of sustainability among public servants and the whole of society.
    • Part of the Plan is to promote research innovation, attracting companies to strengthen R&D for new sustainability solutions.
    • The Singapore Ecological Fund supports individuals, groups and enterprises for innovative ideas.
    • Singapore is dedicated to collaboration with the region to promote greening of employment.

Q & A

1. How is training used to create awareness on GJ by SMEs in Malaysia?

Efforts to encourage private sector SMEs to engage further is still being coordinated between ministries. SMEs wishing to have training can apply to green technology and financing scheme/fund for GJ required skills. Discussion is being held with top management on possibility of a special fund for SMEs. Financial incentives to SMEs to motivate them is important for the GJ agenda.

2. What will GJ creation look like in industry development, e.g. electric vehicles, green hydrogen? How can GJ contribute to greener environment?

It will take some time for the employment implications to become more apparent in the Just Transition process. In the short-term, there are significant opportunities in increasing the energy efficiency of transportation and improving the production process.

Additional comments

Dr Cristina Martinez, Senior Specialist, Environment and Decent Work, and Asia Pacific Coordinator – Green Jobs & Just Transition, ILO
  • The COVID-19 emergency is still strong, as well as the climate emergency. These two events emphasize the importance for pushing for actions in line with Paris Agreement.
  • Congratulation to ASEAN on the report, as well as the significant work and overall collaboration under the lead of Malaysia.
  • Dr Zaki alluded to collaboration among different portfolios and ministries. The ASEAN Forum in October 2020 represented inputs from various ASEAN portfolios. The collaboration for knowledge sharing and peer learning brought experiences from AMS not only for learning by ASEAN countries, but also for the whole world which is looking up to ASEAN on how the Declaration is implemented.
  • While unfolding green economic development through planning JT priorities, peer learning experiences are shared today.
Ms Mega Irena, Assistant Director, ASEAN Secretariat
  • All AMS need to look back at the origin of the study as a follow up to the Declaration to promote GJ for equity and growth of ASEAN with focus on policy readiness across AMS.
  • It’s critical for the labour force to siege the opportunity of highly important GJ potential and competency. It’s easy to say but the process takes time. One key takeaway today is the policy and strategies to promote GJ and green skills, both sector specific and as part of broader national dev planning.
  • We heard best practices of Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore with inspiring policies and programmes. Next, how do they achieve results? What challenges are there? How can other countries ambulate policies and practices based on their needs?
  • ASEC will follow-up under Ministry of Human Resources of Malaysia to continue the exchange. The ASEAN Ministers of Labour Meeting approved support to the ASEAN cooperation initiative/mechanism in the next 5-year planning. Thanks to ILO for continued support as JT goes forward.


Khun Rakawin Leechanavanichpan, Programme Officer, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Thank you to all panelists and speakers for attending today’s session.