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Creating new jobs

MENA region could create 10 million new jobs by 2050

Key COP28 findings emphasise the need for robust industrial and climate policies, urging MENA nations to adopt a fair transition for sustainability and inclusivity.

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The region has the potential to generate 10 million new jobs while boosting GDP by 7.2%.
The UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 initiative aligns with the global energy transition.
This plan aims to support country-driven, inclusive, and fair transitions.

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A groundbreaking study conducted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) suggests that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has the potential to generate 10 million new jobs while boosting GDP by 7.2% and employment by 5.3% within the next three decades. This could be achieved through the implementation of robust industrial and climate development policies.

Unveiled at COP28 in Dubai at the ILO’s Just Transition Pavilion, the report titled “The Social and Employment Impacts of Decarbonization and Green Industrial Growth Scenarios for the Middle East and North Africa Region” emphasises the necessity for MENA countries to adopt strong industrial policies, intertwine climate considerations with development policies, and increase investments in climate resilience, green water desalination, reforestation, and waste management.

To realise this resilient scenario, comprehensive policies facilitating a just transition towards a green economy must be established, ensuring fairness and inclusivity. This approach aims to create decent work opportunities, leaving no one behind in the process. Emphasis is also placed on directing investments towards human capital, social protection, and the welfare of unskilled and low-income workers.

Her Excellency Shayma Al Awadhi, Assistant Undersecretary for Communication and International Relations at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, acknowledged the challenges posed by climate change and decarbonisation. She highlighted the importance of integrating social justice and equality into economic and social policies related to decarbonisation, emphasising the UAE’s commitment to a just transition through various supportive policies.

The MENA region’s have  potential to become a leader in the global energy transition with the right policies in place.

The UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 initiative aligns with the global energy transition. Al Awadhi stressed that the formulation and implementation of economic and social policies related to decarbonisation, including labour market and employment policies, should prioritise social justice and equality. The UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has introduced multiple policies supporting a just transition, aiming to achieve ambitious climate action while fostering job creation and economic growth for all.

ILO Deputy Director-General Celeste Drake highlighted the MENA region’s potential to become a leader in the global energy transition with the right policies in place. ILO Deputy Regional Director for Arab States Peter Rademaker emphasised the critical juncture the region faces and the need for active participation in the global energy transition to secure a sustainable future for all.

Eng. Mohammad Jamal Alsaati, Special Advisor to the IsDB President, expressed pride in the launch of the Just Transition Conceptual Framework and Action Plan 2023-2025. This plan aims to support country-driven, inclusive, and fair transitions, and the study findings are expected to inform ongoing dialogues with member countries.

Bradley Hiller, Lead Climate Change Specialist at IsDB, reiterated the commitment to just transitions that are fair, inclusive, and leave no one behind. The report, developed by Cambridge Econometrics with funding from the ILO Partnership Department, outlines the socio-economic impacts of climate policies in the MENA region. It presents scenarios ranging from passive participation to active driving of the global energy transition, with the ideal scenario requiring strong industrial policies in green hydrogen, solar power, and electric mobility, combined with just transition policies focusing on upskilling and reskilling in low-carbon technologies. The report involved representatives from ILO, IsDB, UNFCCC, regional governments, workers, employers, and development partners.

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