Source: Small Island Developing States
20 July 2019: The International Labour Organization (ILO) has released a report emphasizing the need for “urgent acceleration of efforts” to achieve SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth). The report charts progress to date and articulates interlinkages between sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth, proposing an integrated policy framework moving forward.
Titled, ‘Time to Act for SDG 8: Integrating Decent Work, Sustained Growth and Environmental Integrity,’ the report aims to improve understanding of the Goal at three levels: empirical, conceptual and policy. It does so by outlining progress towards the 12 targets of the Goal, mapping the interlinkages between SDG 8’s targets and those of other Goals, and describing a positive spiral of policy options and institutional support that can create the enabling environment for achieving the three dimensions of the Goal.
The authors question wealthy countries’ continued growth-based approach, and highlight the need for new policy choices.
On progress to date, the report describes a context of slowing and uneven economic growth. It notes that least developed countries (LDCs) are falling short of their target growth rate of 7%, and flags that progress on reducing participation in the informal economy has been slow, with informal workers representing 61% of the global workforce.
On trends in gender and youth, the report highlights that gender pay gaps remain pervasive. The rate of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) is higher for women and youth in low- and middle-income countries.
On interlinkages, the report emphasizes that in order to achieve SDG 8, progress must also be made on Goals 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 1 (no poverty), 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). It notes that decent work can be both an outcome and a driver of these other SDGs, and stresses that progress towards Goal 10 (reduced inequalities) is also key to “ensuring that productivity gains translate into higher incomes and wages for all.” Linking to the environmental dimension of the SDGs, the report questions wealthy countries’ continued “growth-based approach.” Instead, the authors call for striking a balance between economic, social and environmental aims, highlighting the importance of new policy choices moving forward.
On policy options and institutional support to achieve SDG 8, the report highlights the importance of: national employment policies; labor standards and labor market institutions and their role in promoting inclusion, equity and security; and the social dialogue, partnerships and exchange of information needed to fulfill the ambitions of the Goal. These three areas, the report notes, are key to creating a “policy spiral.”
The report concludes that an integrated policy agenda accounting for the dynamic interlinkages between SDG 8 and other Goals is required, and the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda can serve as a key reference point. [Publication: Time to Act for SDG 8 : Integrating Decent Work, Sustained Growth and Environmental Integrity]