The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has charged world leaders, especially the governments of its member states to preserve the environment to boost development and provides jobs for the billions of unemployed persons around the world.
The Director General of ILO, Guy Rider, who was speaking at the 105th International Labour Congress in Geneva, Switzerland warned that illegal wildlife trade harms the environment and risks jobs, development and livelihoods.
Ryder, who was speaking on World Environment Day, said this year World Environment Day 2016 comes at a significant moment, as it is the first to follow the historic adoption of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
According to the ILO director general, both landmark agreements have propelled sustainable development to the centre of the global agenda.
He said: “The theme of this year’s observance – illegal trade in wildlife – is important to the world of work in a number of ways.
“Wildlife, through a range of productive activities and industries dependent on it, such as nature-based tourism, supports numerous jobs. Also, workers such as park rangers and forest managers are vital to the protection and conservation of the world’s biodiversity.
“Many countries facing illegal poaching and trade in wildlife rely to a significant extent on industries and jobs based on biodiversity.
“Nature-based tourism is a fast growing segment of the global tourism industry. It generates millions of jobs around the world and provides a huge potential for economic growth and poverty reduction. It is essential therefore that the important social and economic contributions of wildlife to jobs and livelihoods be preserved and protected. Furthermore many of the world’s poor depend on natural resources as their principal means of making a living.
“Sustainable development also implies designing strategies that create alternative employment opportunities for those trapped in exploitative practices in forests, mines and wildlife hunting.
“On the occasion of World Environment Day, we are reminded of our individual and collective responsibility to protect our environment and to enhance environmental sustainability.”