HLPF 2019 - Putting SDG8 and the New Social Contract at the top of the development agenda

An ITUC delegation participated in the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2019. During the two weeks of the Forum (9-18 July), the delegation stressed the paramount role SDG 8 plays in the 2030 Agenda and carried worker’s global call for a New Social Contract.

Thank you all for making #timefor8 a great success at the HLPF 2019!


Update 19/07/2019 - 11:30 am

Paola Simonetti was invited by the European Economic and Social Committee to participate in its event "#SocialProtection and lifelong learning are central to help people in sustainability transition" to talk about the connection that SDG 8 has to lifelong learning as part of Just Transition, universal social protection for all and its overall links to trade unions’ global call for a New Social Contract and a Labour Protection Floor for all workers.


Update 19/07/2019 - 10:00 am

Marco Cilento from the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) participated in a side event on Delivering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Europe and the World. The event was opened by Amina Mohamed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, and counted amongst others with the participation of two European Commissioners, Neven Mimica and Karmenu Vella as well as the Minister of Education of Finland, Li Andersson. During his intervention, Cilento emphasised that for the support of people to the 2030 Agenda there will need to be adequate working conditions, which must rely on social dialogue. Cilento also said that the European Union is the global benchmark for Goal 8 on decent work and sustainable growth. Referring to the #timefor8 campaign, Cilento connected the key elements of the labour movement’s message and said “It is time for Goal 8 and social dialogue, we need a labour protection floor and a New Social Contract, we need to push for a Just Transition”.


Update 18/07/2019 - 11:40 am

Silvana Capuccio from CGIL and Timothy Ryan from Solidarity Center, participated in the side event Beyond Good Intentions: Translating Conversations into Dialogue to End Forced Labour in Supply Chains. During the discussion participants brought up different examples of existing forced labour situations from Thailand and Italy, among other examples. Speakers stressed that there is an urgent need to raise awareness, use trade law and international legislation to put pressure on those governments, who are fully aware of the existence of such conditions in their countries but yet choose to look away instead of acting with force to end them. Participants mentioned the importance of freedom of association and of collective bargaining for workers to organise and protect themselves. There was a special mention about the practice of “Caporalato”, which is widespread in the agricultural sector in Italy, as well as other countries, and which involves forms of forced labour and human trafficking. Finally, participants highlighted the negative role that deregulation of the labour market has caused, leading to a decrease resource to efficiently implement labour inspection and triggering an increase of forced and trafficked workers, especially in the informal economy.

Read more about the phenomenon of “Caporalato” - http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/07/agromafia-exploits-hundreds-thousands-agricultural-workers-italy/

Tim Ryan and Silvana Capuccio during the event.


Update 18/07/2019 - 11:00 am

The Alliance 8.7 organised a high level event titled Accelerating Action to End Forced Labour, Human Trafficking, Modern Slavery and Child Labour. ITUC Deputy General Secretary, Mamadou Diallo, participated in the discussion and highlighted how, through social dialogue, trade unions play an active role fighting child labour, forced labour and human trafficking. He showed key successes of this engagement in Qatar, Mauritania, Paraguay, Uzbekistan and Myanmar. Diallo insisted that all actors must push for fundamental labour rights using the existing instruments at global regional and national level and implement them. He explicitly mentioned the ILO’s Protocol to the Convention 29 (Protocol on the Forced Labour Convention) - adopted in 2014, which provides the world with an important framework to act with conviction and put an end to these shameful practices.


Update 18/07/2019 - 10:00 am

The HLPF held yet another rounds of VNR presentations. This time it was the occasion for the governments of Central African Republic, Kuwait Mauritius, New Zealand, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Serbia, South Africa, Tonga, Chad, Ghana, Israel, timor Leste, Tanzania, and Vanuatu to present their view on how they have progressed in the implementation of the SDGs.

Sabin Kpokolo (CSTC, Central African Republic) challenged the Central African government’s report. He started his intervention stating that the government’s lack of progress on a series of SDGs is mainly due to the fact that the government has not put in place any inclusive mechanism that would enable trade unions and civil society organisations to engage in the planning and monitoring of the implementation of the Goals. Kpokolo continued his intervention with three questions to the Centralafrican Governement:

  1. Is the Government ready to put in place an inclusive and multi-actor body, which would include trade unions and civil society organisations, to monitor and make an impact assessment of the implementation of the SDGs?
  2. Will the Government take into account the facts and figures that trade unions and civil society organisations are providing, as well as to invest in strengthening trade unions’ and civil society organisations’ capacity to collect alternative data, to be able to take decisions that are inclusive?
  3. What are the Government’s projects and plans to boost progress on the SDGs that are lagging behind?

Sabin Kpokolo ended his intervention on the theme of education. He called for putting in place innovative financing systems to mobilise enough fund to invest in the country’s educational system.

Read CSTC’s report on Central African Republic’s SDG implementation

Read TUC Ghana’s report on Ghana’s SDG implementation

Read UST’s report on Chad’s SDG implementation

Read TUCTA’s report on Tanzania’s SDG implementation

Read about how all the VNR countries are doing in terms of labour rights in theITUC Global Rights Index 2019


Update 17/07/2019 - 17:00 pm

Paola Simonetti participated as a panelist in the HLPF side event that the ILO organised to mark the launch of their report "“Time to Act for SDG 8: Integrating Decent Work, Sustained Growth and Environmental Integrity”.

During her intervention, Simonetti highlighted six point of actions, including:

  • The need to invest in a ‘Wage-led’ growth by limiting flexibility and competition to rebalance the bargaining position of workers in the labour market”.
  • The importance of strengthening the rights and rule of law dimension of SDG 8 as a complementary action to investing on vocational training to boost skills matching; especially when fighting the informal economy.
  • The relevance of recognising that ‘inclusive’ growth starts with compliance with labour rights.

Read more about this event


Update 17/07/2019 - 15:00 pm

Julius Cainglet participated in the side event about “Driving equitable and just transitions: empowering people and leaving no one behind in climate action” where he shared some good examples of Just Transition in the Philippines, such as the Green Jobs Act of 2016, which defines Green jobs as "decent jobs that are productive, respect the rights of workers, deliver a fair income, provide security in the workplace and social protection for families, and promote social dialogue."

Read the Green Jobs Acts

Julius Cainglet, centre, talking about Just Transition good practices from the Philippines.


Update 17/07/2019 - 10:00 am

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Ivory Coast, Croatia, Fiji, and Mongolia presented their Volunteering National Reports (VNR). Olivier Ouedraogo (CSB, Burkina Faso) and Sabin Kpokolo (CSTC, Central African Republic) took the floor to react to Ivory Coast’s VNR.
Using inclusivity as a common thread, Ouedraogo mentioned the research that forecasts Ivory Coast becoming a transition economy within 15 years if it applies inclusive policies; while Kpokolo criticised the VNR for omitting completely the inclusion of handicapped people, which goes against call of the Agenda 2030 for the inclusion of all.
Watch Olivier Ouedaogo’s statement (in French)

Watch Sabin Kpokolo’s statement (in French)

Read the CMCU’s country report on Mongolia’s SDG implementation

Read the UGTCI’s country report on Ivory Coast’s SDG implementation

Read about these countries in the 2019 edition of the ITUC Global Rights Index.


Update 17/07/2019 - 09:30 am

Algeria, Burkina Faso, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Pakistan, Palau, and the United Kingdom presented their Volunteering National Reports (VNR). Olivier Ouedraogo (CSB, Burkina Faso) addressed three key questions to the Government of Burkina Faso in response to its VNR:

  1. How can the Government meet the sanitation performance challenge by taking into account N’Gor’s commitments?
  2. What steps can the government take to better engage marginalised and vulnerable communities living in remote areas, especially regarding its plans to address climate change?
  3. What concrete steps would the government be willing to take to create decent jobs and improve the youth employment rate?

Read Olivier Ouedraogo’s statement (in French)

Read the CSB’s country report on Burkina Faso’s SDG implementation

Read about these countries in the 2019 edition of the ITUC Global Rights Index.


Update 16/07/2019 - 13:30 am

Mamadou Diallo, represented workers at the opening of the ILO Centenary exhibit at the UN. Guy Ryder seized the occasion to show his support to the ITUC’s #timefor8 campaign.

Mamadou Diallo and Guy Ryder supporting #timefor8.


Update 16/07/2019 - 12:30 am

Julius Cainglet (FFW, Philippines) took the floor in the plenary session that analysed four years of VNRs to note that three principles should characterise the VNR process, those of transparency, consultation and social dialogue. He stated the need to include alternative sources of information from CSOs, emphasising the importance of inclusive and meaningful consultation. Finally, Cainglet stressed the importance for governments, workers’ and employer’s organisations to work together to implement, monitor and evaluate the SDGs on the basis of a true respect and promotion of the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

Read Julius Cainglet’s statement


Update 16/07/2019 - 11:30 am

The ITUC Deputy General Secretary Mamadou Diallo spoke at the ILO’s side event on “Learning to Learn for Life and Work”, which marked the international World Youth Skills Day. In his intervention, Diallo denounced the dire labour perspective that young people are facing today and brought tangible examples of how trade unions are working to change this situation.

Read more about this session


Update 16/07/2019 - 11:00 am

Jan Philipp Paprotny (DGB, Germany), participated in a side event on Just Transition organised by the ILO and the German Government. He emphasised that social protection and avoiding job losses in the energy transition are important but that it is also necessary to provide specific training for new skills.

Jan Philipp during his intervention.


Update 16/07/2019 - 10:30 am

Azerbaijan, Chile, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Turkey have presented their Volunteering National Reviews (VNR). Trade unions in three of these countries have produced an independent assessment of their state’s VNR.

Read the country reports of Chile, Philippines and Indonesia.

Read the about these countries in the 2019 edition of the ITUC Global Rights Index.


Update 16/07/2019 - 10:30 am

Yesterday, Silvana Cappuccio (CGIL, Italy) took the floor on behalf of trade unions during the session on "Financing the SDGs: moving from words to action". In her intervention, Cappuccio did not pull any punches. Instead she confronted governments positive describing of "innovative financing" and “blended finance” with what they really are: privatisation of benefits and socialisation of losses at the expenses of progressive policies.

Read Silvana Cappuccio’s statement


Update 15/07/2019 - 10:00 am

The ITUC’s HLPF side event #SDG8 at the heart of the Agenda 2030 was very successful as participants prolonged the discussions well beyond the scheduled programme. The interest in the ITUC’s and ASviS joint project to create a tool to monitor the implementation of SDG 8 worldwide has attracted much attention and curiosity.

Read more about the side event


Update 12/07/2019 - 14:00 pm

Today at 6h30 (N.Y. time) the ITUC will hold its HLPF side event #SDG8 at the heart of the Agenda 2030 - The event will be a great occasion to strengthen trade unions’ profile as active actors of sustainable development and demonstrate the paramount role that SDG 8 plays in the Agenda 2030. During the event, Professor Enrico Giovannini will present the details around the upcoming Index-tool that will be used to measure the implementation of SDG 8 in the world and how this goal impacts the implementation of other SDGs. This work will culminate with a special publication that will be presented later in autumn.

Read more about this session


Update 12/07/2019 - 10:15 am

Paola Simonetti, ITUC’s Deputy Director of the Department of Economic and Social Policies, chaired the HLPF morning plenary session in her capacity of Co-Chair of the HLPF Coordination Mechanism of Major Groups and other Stakeholders.
In her opening remarks, Simonetti highlighted the crucial role of trade unions and civil society for the successful implementation, follow-up and review of the Agenda 2030.

Yvonne O’Callaghan, from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, spoke on behalf of the ITUC. Among other things, she underlined the importance of making a clear difference between merely consulting CSOs and truly engaging with them.

Read more about this session

Read Yvonne O’Callaghan’s statement


Update 12/07/2019 - 09:30 am

Uzziel Twagilimana, Continental Programme Co-ordinator at World Solidarity, took the floor on behalf of trade unions during the HLPF Plenary on the review of SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities). During his intervention, Twagilama stressed that the greatest challenge of our times is a world dominated by a minority of haves against a majority of have-nots.

Read Uzziel Twagilimana’s intervention


Update 11/07/2019 - 12:45 am

Mamadou Diallo, Deputy General Secretary of the ITUC was a member of the podium during the HLPF Plenary on the revision of SDG 8. He talked about the central role of SDG 8 in the 2030 Agenda and its link to the labour movement’s call for a New Social Contract; the state of the implementation of SDG 8 in the world; and the contribution of social dialogue in achieveing SDG 8.
To conclude, he conveyed trade union’s full support to the central role of the ILO in contributing to achieving SDG 8. Norway, which was among these countries, appointed LO Norway’s Anne-Beth Skrede to deliver the country’s statement on SDG 8 "Decent Work & Economic Growth".

Mr. Diallo’s intervention received the support of several country representatives who confirmed that for them labour rights, decent work and social dialogue are indeed paramount to implement and successfully achieve SDG 8.

Read more about Mamadou Diallo’s intervention

Read Anne-Beth Skrede’s intervention on behalf Norway


Update 11/07/2019 - 11:45 am

Paola Simonetti, participated in the HLPF side event on SDG 10, organised by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

During her intervention, she defended that "Financing social protection is not a question of feasibility but of political will and it needs to be seen as an investment, not a cost" and presented the main solutions that trade unions are proposing.

Read more about Paola Simonetti’s intervention

Paola Simonetti, centre, delivering her presentation during the FES HLPF side event.


Update 11/07/2019 - 9:45 am

Mamadou Diallo, Deputy General Secretary of the ITUC participated in the UN DESA side event on Goal 8 and called for the implementation of the ILO Recommendation 204 on formalisation of the informal economy.


Update 10/07/2019 - 10:15 am

Kathrine Fauske, Deputy Director of LO Norway’s International Department, took the floor during the HLPF Plenary on progress, gaps and obstacles. She reiterated unions’ global call for a Labour Protection Guarantee for all workers that includes fundamental workers’ rights like freedom of association and collective bargaining, an adequate living wage, limits on hours of work, and ensuring safe and healthy workplaces.

Ms. Fauske also talked about SDG 8 and cast the spotlight on the major gaps that are remaining to achieve this goal, i.e.:

  1. Increasing violations of fundamental workers’ rights.
  2. Widespread unemployment and underemployment.
  3. Shrinking democratic space.
  4. Wage stagnation.
  5. Poor social protection coverage
  6. Increasing informal economy.
  7. Lack of business accountability throughout global supply chains.

Read Kathrin Fauske’s speech


Update 10/07/2019 - 09:30 am

Education International’s President, Susan Hopgood, intervened in the Plenary Session on the revision of SDG 4 (Quality Education). Ms Hopgood urged governments to take urgent measures as “the world is severely off track to achieve SDG 4 by 2030” and denounced that some governments are even implementing “policies that actively undermine the agenda”.

Ms. Hopgood listed up the five main obstacles to achieving SDG4:

  1. Teaching widely remains an unattractive profession with poor working conditions.
  2. Teachers’ human and labour rights are constantly violated across the world.
  3. Public education is increasingly being underfunded and privatised.
  4. Inequitable systems continue to exclude and discriminate against minorities and vulnerable groups.
  5. Education systems are too slow to include teaching on sustainable development teaching to meet youth’s demands for climate justice.

Read Susan Hopgood’s full speech


Update 9/07/2019 - 15:40 pm


Update 8/07/2019 - 15:30 pm


Update 8/07/2019 - 10:00 am

Why is the HLPF 2019 important?

This year’s edition of the HLPF is very relevant to trade unions for two reasons. The first one is that four out of the six SDGs that will be revised are key to the labour movement. Namely, SDG 8, SDG 10, SDG 13 and SDG 16; and a fifth one, SDG 4, is central to the Global Union Federation, Education International.

The second reason is that the outcomes of the HLPF will probably feed into the Political Declaration on the SDGs that the UN Heads of State and Government will agreed on and sign on 24-25 September. Trade unions are working actively to ensure that their key asks - compiled in the submission to the HLPF that Trade Unions and Workers’ Major Group delivered in April - are taken into account.


SDG 8 and the New Social Contract

The political revision of the SDGs brings an opportunity for trade unions to inform as many as possible about their work and explain why, of all the SDGs, number 8 is paramount to the 2030 Agenda.

In a nutshell, SDG 8 is about decent work and sustainable economic growth. It integrates matters related to growth, employment, productivity and the social dimension. Furthermore, it bears at its core the fundaments for a New Social Contract that trade unions are calling for.

This New Social Contract - between governments, employers and trade unions - would include a labour protection floor that will encompas floors for the respect of fundamental labour rights (e.g. collective bargaining and freedom of association), healthy and safe work places, minimum living wages, access to universal social protection schemes and fair control over working time. Moreover, these elements are fundamental to achieve a Just Transition and Climate Justice that leaves no one behind.


To reinforce trade unions’ position on development and strengthen their profile as development actors among as many people as possible, the ITUC has launched an online campaign called #Timefor8, the clock is ticking for a New Social Contract.

The campaign stresses eight key reasons why SDG 8 and the New Social Contract are connected and how they contribute to building a sustainable way of living, working and producing that puts workers and their families in the centre.

In the framework of the Campaign, come and join us on the following dates:

  • 9 July - Join the online action to mark the start of the HLPF and make that the hashtag #timefor8 viral on social media.
  • 10 July – ITUC Deputy General Secretary, Mamadou Diallo speaks in the HLPF Plenary on SDG 8 (3 to 6 PM, New York time).
  • 12 July – ITUC holds a #timefor8 side event on SDG 8 at the heart of the 2030 Agenda (6 to 8:30 PM, New York time)

Join the conversation on social media - Visit the official #timefor8 website