Green Jobs are the future, but where to start from?

Cropped shot of a team of colleagues holding a plant growing out of soil

Pretty much everybody believes in the importance to create green jobs of course! And the core question here is on how to set the wheel in motion to start creating and fostering green livelihoods, what ideal combination can create the right environment for green jobs to develop? The question is indeed more complex than the answer, which actually is fairly simple. First of all, there is a need for genuine care, support and empowerment of local communities, and ensure that they acknowledge their utmost important role in protecting the productive territories such as forests, pasture lands and woodland, waterways and fisheries, upon which their livelihoods depend. According to the Green Livelihoods Alliance, the communities need to have inclusive and sustainable governance, which translates into participatory and efficient decision-making processes removing obstacles that prevent sectors of society and groups to fully participate and to be centred around the principles of social, economic and environmental sustainability. Which is a great starting point, and yet not enough, because in order for this to work properly there are three conditions to be met. First of all, security of land tenure or at least access to the land; secondly to be included in the decision-making when it comes to the land used by either by the government or the private sector; thirdly the management of the natural resources needs a nature-based approach combined with traditional practices already in use. Once the three elements are in place, then the communities can start dialogue and engagement with public and private stakeholders and actually be included and involved in decision-making when it comes to using the land, thus implementing a sustainable governance of the lands and the productive activities and livelihoods it supports.

If we want to talk about a fertile ground for green livelihoods we’d be looking at a mix of national and international legislation existing and applied, and on the other hand corporate policies in the private sector; the purpose of these policies and legislations is to foresee an active role for the communities and their participation in all three pillars of sustainability (social, economic and environmental).

When we look at these processes we often see them as initiatives coming from the civil society sector, actively engaging stakeholders through advocacy and lobbying to influence policies and practices in both public and private sectors towards a more inclusive and sustainable governances of the land, fostering cross-sectoral cooperation while promoting joint actions; at the same time, civil society organisations build on their competencies and capacities to technically, economically and politically representing the local communities when engaging the other societal sectors.

The obstacle here is that often civil society organisations have an attitude of confrontation if not antagonism towards the public and private sectors, although not always, and steps need to be made for confidence-building and mutual trust among these sectors to pursue a goal of collaboration to the benefit of all, and only then the multi-stakeholder dialogue will truly be possible, with the involvement of all sectors, alongside a solution-oriented mindset.

Published by Lorenzo Nava

Consultant, Trainer and Coach, on participatory learning processes, experiential learning dynamics, non formal education and NLP certified practitioner