Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has joined world leaders in calling for a common effort to create 50 million good, green jobs by the end of the decade during the C40 World Mayors Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Good green jobs provide opportunities for residents, and at the same time address the concurrent climate and inequality crisis as well as rising poverty, towards a global green, just and resilient recovery by 2030.

“Quezon City’s vision of a liveable, green, and sustainable city is centered on building an economy that ensures equitable access to environmental goods now and in the future. We believe that creating jobs that sustain a healthy environment provides equal benefits to nature and people, especially the marginalized,” Mayor Joy Belmonte said.

“Thus, programs on sustainable food consumption, clean energy, ecological transport, and circular economy, among others, are actively pursued, while climate financing to support more green investments and jobs are explored,” she added.

In a press conference, Mayor Belmonte announced that the city’s food security program, Grow QC, has provided relief to help residents recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and build resilience through nutrition and employment schemes.

Launched during the pandemic, Grow QC is a collective and multi-sectoral food security initiative that addresses food inefficiency that mostly affects vulnerable and indigent families. It aims to increase the consumption of healthy, plant-based food, thus cutting emissions from inefficient supply chains while feeding the city’s population.

Grow QC, which was also one of the 2022 C40 Cities-Bloomberg Philanthropies awards finalists, has established 337 urban gardens and 10 model farms that created a livelihood for 4,119 urban farmers, 258 displaced workers, and 298 vendors and jeepney drivers.

Through the initiative, idle lands were also converted into productive, green, urban farms that reduces carbon emissions as well as empowers the next generation of urban farmers who were previously earning minimal or zero income.

“This is one of the best examples on how we can fight climate change with opportunities that benefit both the people and the environment. We’re showing that good, green jobs exist outside of traditional climate sectors and can set off a domino effect that boosts employment, protects the health of residents, and fights climate change all at the same time,” the mayor added.

C40 Cities Executive Director Mark Watts, moreover, commended Mayor Belmonte for spearheading the program which has provided residents with more livelihood opportunities.

“Mayor Belmonte has shown us the job she has created: converting idle land into urban farms in Quezon City, bringing healthy food to the table for the families when COVID lockdown had affected supplies. From 1,400 jobs there [in urban farms], Mayor Belmonte told me that there are now 15,000 jobs. So I guess it is the kind of inflation that we like,” Watts said during the opening plenary of the summit.