Samoa Presides Over International Dialogue on Climate Action for Job Initiatives

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9 October 2021, Apia Samoa Samoa took the international stage on labour matters in its role as the co-chair of the International Advisory Board on Climate Action for Job Initiatives.

It was the second meeting of the Advisory Board. Samoa was elected co-chair at the first meeting of the International Advisory Board in September 2020, alongside Hon Teresa Ribera, Fourth Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister for Labour of Spain.

In the early hours of Saturday morning during the White Sunday long weekend  Honorable Minister Leatinu’u Wayne So’oialo, chaired the second annual ILO International Advisory Board Meeting that started at 3am Samoa time. 

The Minister was supported by MCIL Chief Executive Officer Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling and ILO National Coordinator in Samoa Laufiso Tomasi Peni, as well as MCIL ACEO for Labour Relations Mr Andrew Meredith.

Hon. Leatinu’u as the Minister of the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour (MCIL) co-chairs as the representative of the Asia Pacific Region. 

Samoa is one of four Ministers of Labour on the Advisory Board representing America, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific. The other five members are representatives from the International Trade Union Conference (ITUC), International Organisation of Employers (IOE), UN Executive Office of the Secretary-General, ILO Office, and International financial institutions.

The International Advisory Board for Climate Action for Job Initiatives was established in 2015 to support the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The Board reinforces the need for ‘just transition’ aligned with global goals to ensure that workers and firms affected by the transformation to carbon-neutral economies are adequately supported and opportunities for the creation of decent and green jobs are fully captured. 

As Chair, Hon. Leatinu’u ensured all members of the Advisory Board were well informed on updates from the Secretariat on the progress and challenges arising from the implementation of Climate Action for Job Initiative in 2021. Members were also given a forecast of the initiative going forward, and what it aims to deliver and achieve for 2023.

The Hon. Minister also ensured the Advisory Board provided advice and guidance to issues and other matters raised by its members.

Discussions and member interventions focused on sustainable development to power a human-centered approach to the future of work, and to transform economies and societies to maximise opportunities for decent work.

Decent work reduces inequalities, promotes social justice, develops industry, and supports workers and communities. 

There was consensus that ‘just transition’ matters for every country, at all levels of development. While significant progress has been made to address climate change, the required scale of change needed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 is not nearly enough. It was recognised that progress has been significantly impacted by Covid-19.

Regional Ministers, Presidents and delegations from five regions as well as International Bodies were given the floor for their interventions based on their current activities and programmes, and to present proposed initiatives that require ILO assistance and UN attention.

Before moving into the agenda of the meeting, the Hon. Leatinu’u respectfully greeted the members with an introduction of his role as the  Minister for MCIL, under the new Government of Samoa. 

He reiterated the sentiments conveyed by Honorable Prime Minister; Fiame Naomi Mataafa at the United Nations General Assembly Debate, in relation to climate action, multilateral systems, partners and institutions needed to heed the continued call for tailored and specific solutions to the Pacific’s unique vulnerabilities. 

He also emphasised the importance of developing concrete action plans, to enable real change and  improved livelihoods of our communities and regions. 

He said that as part of the Alliance of Small Island States it would be remiss of him as the Chairman not to highlight the vulnerabilities due to the impacts of climate change. 

He added that efforts and solutions to reduce global emissions must not only have job creation at its center but must be complemented by ensuring climate finance for frontline countries.

Leatinu’u strongly supports the addition of states from the Asia Pacific Region and most particularly Small Island States to the country on-boarding program in 2022. 

Furthermore, he relayed Samoa’s commitment to officially launch the initiative in the Asia Pacific region, to scale up climate action and build leadership locally. Leatinu’u stressed the importance of advocacy across all members to create value and willingness amongst stakeholders including donors, to guarantee sufficient resourcing and successful delivery of activities. 

In closing the meeting, Hon. Leatinu’u acknowledged the hard work of the Secretariat of ILO Headquarter and its Office in Samoa.