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Decent Rural Employment

Green jobs

New FAO estimates show that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry and fisheries have nearly doubled over the past fifty years and could increase an additional 30 percent by 2050, without greater efforts to reduce them. To respond effectively to climate and environmental stresses, the global agriculture sector is in need of a fundamental paradigm shift towards more sustainable practices. This transition is projected to generate over 200 million full-time jobs by 2050, particularly more decent green jobs along the entire food production system.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines a green job as work in agricultural, manufacturing, research and development, administrative and service activities that contributes substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. It includes jobs that reduce energy, materials and water consumption through high efficiency strategies; and that minimize or altogether avoid the generation of waste and pollution. The creation of green jobs in agriculture has the potential to deliver social, economic and environmental sustainability and to provide opportunities in particular for youth to participate in greener economies.

The role of FAO:

FAO aims to foster sustainable agricultural production systems that will generate more green jobs and decent work opportunities for rural communities. In particular, FAO works to:

  • Strengthen understanding and awareness on the employment prospects for rural workers in the context of greener food systems. FAO also collects information on environmentally sustainable and socially acceptable Good Agricultural Practices to improve natural resources management as well as rural workers’ health and working conditions.
  • Promote the adoption of environment-friendly activities in agriculture and develop training for rural populations in the use of green agricultural technologies. FAO produces dedicated capacity development materials on environmentally sustainable food production, including organic farming and conservation agriculture
  • Develop innovative policy solutions that encourage sustainable practices in agriculture with greater returns on labour. An increase in green jobs could foster opportunities in more employment-intensive green technologies; management and preservation of ecosystems; and green agricultural research and extension services.