World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


UN & labour orgs work to keep environment clean

UN environmental agency and organized labour work to keep environment clean

Leaders from more than 150 trade unions representing millions of workers around the globe agreed today to wrap environmental rights – such as access to water and energy – into their definition of traditional workers’ rights at a meeting hosted in Nairobi by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The move to place access to basic resources like water and energy on par with more traditional workers’ rights as freedom of association and collective bargaining was enveloped into a multi-prong action plan hammered out during the first World Assembly on Labour and the Environment. The three-day meeting concluded today.

Known as The Workers’ Initiative for a Lasting Legacy, or WILL2006, the pact that emerged from the session also included action on climate change and the promotion of sustainable production and consumption patterns.

In addition, union leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation between unions and organizations such as UNEP, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), as well as government ministries – all with an eye to strengthening health and safety standards on the job while achieving broad environmental goals.

“Trade Unions and their role in the work place can be a catalyst for positive environmental change while bearing witness to occupational practices that have the potential to harm or improve not only workers and their families, but planet Earth as a whole,” Klaus Toepfer, UNEP’s Executive Director, said at the Assembly’s close. “I am sure that many case studies, presented here on chemicals and climate change up to cleaner production initiatives, will be taken forward and replicated across the developing and developed world.”

Organized labour’s growing role as a catalyst to improve the global environment came into sharper focus as union leaders pledged to work towards government reforms that recognize environmental rights and to watch programmes that deliver safe and environmentally friendly industrial, manufacturing and production processes.

Held with the support of the UN Global Compact, the Assembly re-affirmed that decent and secure jobs, crucial for sustainable livelihoods, are only possible in an environmentally healthy world. One specific goal was working towards a complete ban of asbestos and its safe disposal as outlined in the Basel Convention, a global agreement that addresses the problems and challenges posed by hazardous waste. The Convention’s Secretariat in Geneva is administered by UNEP.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>


Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>