#TimeFor8 as unions support Sustainable Development Goals push at UN

Four years on from the historic signing of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs SDGs The Sustainable Development Goals were one of the outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference. The members States launched a new set of future international development goals, which will build upon the Millennium Development Goals and converge with the post-2015 development agenda. ), the focus is turning to Goal 8 and decent work. Last week’s adoption of the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work is a renewal of the social contract, giving strong impetus to SDG 8 as central to achieving the UN’s development agenda. That’s why the ITUC is saying its #TimeFor8.

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“The UN’s Agenda 2030 with its Sustainable Development Goals carries aspirations of shared prosperity, of achieving a world in which all people have access to basic services and no one is left behind. It is an ambitious and achievable agenda, based in multilateralism. It’s also the real alternative to the corporate greed that has swollen the bank accounts of the 1% to bursting point while billions of people have been left behind. People are stepping up to hold decision-makers to account, and this year’s review of the Sustainable Development Goals is a key moment,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality is the theme as the world’s governments gather at UN headquarters in New York from 9-18 July for the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). Countries that have the highest rates of unionisation are also among the happiest, the least unequal, the most socially mobile, the most resource-efficient and the most socially cohesive. It is clear that the world of work is central to the success of all of the Sustainable Development Goals. Governments everywhere should ensure that democratic and independent trade unions are able to perform their crucial role without interference from the authorities or from employers.

“Accountability is the key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. When decision-makers choose to continue with the status quo and ignore exploitation and abuse, instead of committing to this agenda for shared prosperity and social justice, they need to be held to account. The ITUC’s Global Rights Index 2019 reveals that attacks on people’s rights to organise in unions, bargain collectively and defend fundamental standards at work are on the rise. Respect for these rights means that working people can hold corporations and governments to account. The ILO Declaration has established a labour protection floor for all workers including organising and bargaining rights, limits on working hours, an adequate minimum wage and workplace safety and health, providing a well-defined pathway for realising SDG 8,” said Burrow.

2019 is a key year for assessment of the UN’s Agenda 2030, with both the High Level Political Forum in July and the SDG Summit at the United Nations General Assembly in September. Through the work of the Trade Union Development Cooperation Network (TUDCN), unions have shown their continued commitment to seeing through this agenda. The TUDCN is coordinating the trade union delegation to the HLPF as over 45 governments present their national progress reports and SDG 4 on education, SDG 8 on decent work, SDG 10 on reducing inequalities and SDG 13 on climate action all go under in-depth review.

“Now is the time to reclaim multilateralism and put it to the service of people instead of corporations. Trade and investment rules that tie the hands of governments, prohibiting them from regulating to protect people, as well as the paralysing austerity regimes forced on countries by the IMF and the World Bank, have gutted multilateralism of the trust it so desperately needs. We need to create and harness political will for multilateral solutions to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Decent work is the engine which can make that happen,” concluded Burrow.

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