The time to rescue the SDGs is now
Dhaka July 18 2022 :
The Ministerial Declaration of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) contains many key workers’ demands. But more ambition is needed to rescue the SDGs with a New Social Contractm , said a ITUC press release.
This year’s HLPF focused on “building back better” from Covid-19, while moving towards the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Although the Sustainable Development Goal on Inclusive Growth, Productive Employment and Decent Work (SDG 8) was not reviewed at this edition of the Forum, trade unions welcome that the centrality of its targets has been reflected by governments in the HLPF Ministerial Declaration, supporting key workers’ demands for a new social contract centred on SDG 8:
Governments highlight the “urgent need to create conditions for decent work for all, protect labour rights of all workers and achieve universal social protection”, as well as the need to “ensure just transitions that promote sustainable development and eradication of poverty, and the creation of decent work” with direct reference to the role of the UN Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection of Just Transitions, as requested by the ITUC.
Trade unions particularly welcome governments recognition of the role of social dialogue in designing policies to guarantee equal access for women to decent work and quality jobs in all sectors and at all levels, including through “ensuring equal pay for work of equal value, (…) ensuring the safety of all women in the world of work, and promoting the right to organise and bargain collectively”.
The Declaration also identifies “improved wages, working conditions and social protection” as key to recognising and rewarding women’s disproportionate share of care and domestic work, and calls for gender-responsive social protection policies and care services.
Trade unions welcome the objective to adopt education and lifelong learning strategies and budgets that ensure gender equality and prioritise skills development and decent employment of young people.
While trade unions are pleased with these important recommendations, they are concerned that the declaration does not reflect the urgency needed to rise to the challenge of achieving the 2030 Agenda.
As the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated: “We are far from powerless. (…) We have the knowledge, the science, the technology and the financial resources to reverse the trajectory.”
Halfway to 2030, trade unions believe in the world’s ability and responsibility to change course.
Trade unions therefore urge governments to come together and build a New Social Contract centred on SDG 8 putting in place job creation plans, labour rights, universal social protection, minimum statutory living wages with collective bargaining, equality and inclusion.
The time to rescue the SDGs is now.
Bangladesh Beyond is an online version of Fortnightly Apon Bichitra
(Reg no: DA 1825)