GENEVA (ILO News) – An analysis by the International Labour Organization of progress made towards SDG 8, has concluded that “the world is well off track on nearly two-thirds of [the] SDG 8 indicators of progress,” and that “the international community today is almost as far from reaching the targets of SDG 8 as it was in 2015”.
The new policy brief and separate report will be presented at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-level Week in New York, starting 18 September.
SDG 8 aims to “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.” It is unique among the SDGs in that it covers all three dimensions of sustainable development, integrating economic, social and environmental issues. As such, it embodies the principle that sustainable development is only possible if advances are made in all three areas.
The Policy Brief, Sustainable Development, Decent Work and Social Justice: An update on progress towards SDG 8, finds that overall, progress on the environmental and social dimensions of SDG 8 is lagging that in the economic dimension. It offers recommendations for actions to improve the prospects of meeting the 12 targets. These include:
- Implementing policies to support a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all.
- Increasing multilateral and national action, through integrated policies, whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches.
- Providing additional multilateral support for decent work, universal social protection and social justice in low-income and lower-middle-income countries.
- Addressing unsustainable debt burdens and enhancing fiscal space for developing countries, to enable them to invest in the policies, systems and institutions that underpin SDG progress, including in relation to social and labour protection, employment and informality, youth employment and gender equality.
- Integrating policy responses for SDG 8, decent work and social justice, including through the Global Coalition for Social Justice, which presents an important opportunity to integrate tripartism and social dialogue to create better, more sustainable, development outcomes, including universal social protection.
- Supporting the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions, a UN initiative led by the ILO that aims to help countries create 400 million decent jobs and extend social protection for 4 billion additional people.
The Policy Brief concludes that increased multilateral and national action to accelerate progress on SDG8 is needed to strengthen both the pace and pattern of sustainable development, as well as the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The report, Transformative change and SDG 8: The critical role of collective capabilities and societal learning, analyses the prospects for countries to achieve the economic, social and environmental aspects of SDG 8, based on their performance between 2010 and 2022. It cautions that action is “not yet advancing at the speed or scale required”, calls for a “circular cumulative process to drive balanced progress”, and identifies patterns and imbalances. It also looks at the existing policy framework and distils several principles and policy recommendations, including promoting collective capabilities and international cooperation, mobilizing investment, technological change and innovation, and economic structural transformation.
The two new documents follow a 2019 ILO report, Time to Act for SDG8: Integrating Decent Work, Sustained Growth and Environmental Integrity.
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