Tanzania: ILO-led programme creates green jobs, builds green homes in Zambia
3 June 2015 - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) – Zambia's construction sector has not only played a central role in the country's growth, but also proven it can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to an expert working on the Zambia Green Jobs Programme which is led by the International Labour Organization (ILO) with financial assistance from the Government of Finland.
Tapera Muzira, chief technical advisor of the Programme, said in an ILO statement Wednesday that it was among factors that can cut down the emissions through the promotion of eco-friendly building materials, services, goods and technologies such as energy saving, renewable energy and water conservation.
"The Programme aims to support the creation of green jobs among small- and medium-sized enterprises in the Zambian building construction industry," the ILO said, announcing its new book about the solutions that the world of work can offer to achieve environmental sustainability with social justice and inclusion.
The UN specialized agency will on 5 June 2015 launch the book entitled 'Decent Work, Green Jobs and the Sustainable Economy' to mark the World Environment Day.
According to ILO, Zambia's economic growth, like that of many developing countries, has been steady especially during the last ten years and it is expected to reach 7.4 per cent in 2015.
"But sustained growth has not led to significant job creation and poverty levels remain high with more than half of the population estimated to be living below the poverty line," the agency said, noting that much of the country's growth has come at a significant environmental cost.
According to UN statistics, the proportion of area covered by forests decreased from 71 per cent in 1990 to 67 per cent in 2010.
Quoting the World Health Organization (WHO), ILO said most people in Zambia ─ 82%, still depend on traditional fuels such as wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste to meet their daily energy needs.
Household air pollution is attributable to deaths for all age groups and both genders in Zambia amounted to 8,240 in 2012, according to WHO statistics published in May 2015, with more than half a million total years of life lost due to ill health, disability or early death in 2012.
"This led authorities to look at the linkages between job creation and the greening of the economy, which resulted in the establishment of the Zambia Green Jobs Programme – a five-year US$ 12.1 million project developed jointly by the Government of Zambia and the UN," ILO said.
According to ILO figures from 2012, Zambia requires 1.3 million new dwellings before 2030. That is one house every two minutes of each working day for the next 19 years. So the sector also offers good opportunities for job creation.
"We estimate that the programme will, facilitate the creation of 5,000 jobs by 2017 through its partners from the government and the private sector. It will also improve the quality of 2,000 existing jobs by enhancing productivity and working conditions," said Muzira.
Since the building construction sector is among those prone to workplace accidents and injuries, the ILO programme also includes a component aimed at promoting occupational health and safety in the construction industry.
"Zambia needs more and better jobs for inclusive and green growth. The Green Jobs Programme in Zambia provides a good example of what can be done in developing countries to invest in sustainable development while also moving forward on occupational health and safety and extension of social protection.
"We want to show combining more decent work opportunities with environmental-friendly practices is feasible at a reasonable cost," Muzira added.
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