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Green Jobs in the Forest Sector

cover of publication on Green Jobs

The UNECE and FAO together with the International Labour Organization (ILO), are leading organizations in the work on green jobs in the forest sector. The UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section, based in Geneva collaborates with a number of international and local stakeholders on defining, describing and promoting green jobs in the forest sector, needed competencies, education and training for the forest sector in the context of a green economy.

Forest experts agree that management of forest ecosystem services is a great way to create green jobs in the forest sector. Until recently, forest jobs were mostly associated with traditional activities related to silviculture (the growing and cultivation of trees) and timber harvesting. Today, the potential for the creation of new job opportunities is enhancing all forest ecosystem functions.  

Examples of these green forest jobs, along with emerging tasks and functions that can lead to new employment opportunities in the forest, are summarized in the new UNECE/FAO publication “Green Jobs in the Forest Sector,” which builds on the work of the UNECE/FAO Team of Specialists on Green Jobs in the Forest Sector (Joint ILO/UNECE/FAO Expert Network).

Transition to a green economy offers new prospects to the forest sector and leads to the creation of new jobs. This is how the Forestry and Timber Section addresses specific aspects of this transition: 

 - Improving the Capacity of the UNECE Member States to Create Green Jobs in the Forest Sector

- Forest Ecosystem Management Services - at the core of Green Forest Jobs

- The Ability to Provide Sustainable Jobs - Critical for the Future of the Forest Sector

- Decent Green Jobs in the Forest Sector in a Green Economy

- Gender Mainstreaming in the Forest Sector

Historical view

The need for consideration of questions related to the forest sector workforce in the UNECE and FAO programme was recognized by member States as far back as 1947, at the International Timber Conference. A concept of joint work between UNECE, FAO and  ILO originated a few years later in Geneva. As a result, the Joint Committee on Forest Working Techniques and Training of Forest Workers was founded under the joint auspices of UNECE, FAO and ILO in 1954.

At that time, the technical work of the Joint Committee was undertaken by forest experts. Between 1955 and 1978, study groups focused on the importance of job security, competitive wage rates, adequate living conditions, technical training facilities and better safety measures for forest workers.

Along with the changes of economic context and the transformation of the forest sector itself, the forest workforce experienced a number of structural changes. Accordingly, the topics of UNECE and FAO work related to forest workers have broadened to include environmental and social cross-cutting topics, such as ecosystem management in forestry, climate change mitigation and adaptation, green economy, gender equity, aging workforce and adaptation of skills to technological developments.

Today, the Section’s work on Green Jobs in the Forest Sector is supported by the UNECE/FAO Team of Specialists on Green Jobs in the Forest Sector (Joint ILO/ECE/FAO Expert Network).

Last update date: February 15, 2023