11.07.2012 - Education Sector

Ministers discuss skills for green economies and societies at ECOSOC

©Picasa- Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education among the distinguished speakers

The role of TVET in the transition towards a greener world was discussed at a ministerial breakfast on “Building Skills for Green Economies and Societies” on 9 July. UNESCO and ILO co-organized the event as part of the High-level Segment of ECOSOC at the UN Headquarters, New York.

The breakfast meeting was a follow-up to the Third International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). It brought together high-level representatives from governments, the UN system, civil society, and the private sector in an effort to draw global attention to the need to transform educational systems, vocational training and skills to achieve low-carbon, climate-resilient development.

Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, and H.E. Mr. Miloš Koterec, President of the Economic and Social Council were among the distinguished speakers. Ms. Christine Evans-Klock, Director of Skills and Employability Department at ILO moderated the discussion.

Participants addressed current major challenges such as rapid population growth, environmental degradation, and climate change. They underlined the role of green and inclusive education in bringing about a more sufficient and sustainable model of development.  Participants also recognized the process of building green economies and societies as a source of job creation in sectors such as renewable energy, energy efficiency in buildings and construction, sustainable transport, and organic farming. Yet it was agreed that the main focus of greening jobs and skills should be within existing occupations.

The discussion also focused on transforming educational systems and  vocational training to meet new demand for green economies and societies. In this regard several successful examples were introduced, notably the German model of dual system of initial training. The model is based on requiring every worker to obtain “green” skills in addition to their professional affiliations. It model also requires close involvement of the business sector in TVET. Another example was the organization of short-term “green” workshops for workers in the United States.

The role of TVET in the transition towards a greener world was discussed along with other important issues such as the necessity of economic growth, good governance, and the rule of law. Among the specific recommendations from the morning session were the ideas to create national TVET partnerships and programmes, to build green schools, to mobilize political will, to involve different stakeholders, as well as to strengthen partnerships and intergovernmental cooperation at all levels. It was also proposed to devote appropriate attention to the principle of equity, basic education and training, and gender issues, involving young people and women in the process of building green economies and societies. Participants emphasized the need to adjust educational systems, curriculum, vocational and professional trainings to better assist students, workers and enterprises in their contribution towards a more sustainable development path. In addition, it was suggested to focus more on rural areas, and to promote entrepreneurship. Lastly participants expressed a strong need of creating a global platform for sharing the knowledge and good practices in regard of building green economies and societies.

<- Back to: Rio+20
Back to top