HLPF 2019 - Plenary on progress, gaps and obstacles

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 and highlighted the main obstacles towards achieving SDG 8. Read the speech she delivered to the HLPF plenary on 9 June in New York:

I speak on behalf of the International Trade Union Confederation, which represents more than 200 million workers all over the world.

Trade Unions recognise the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals as an historical landmark to uphold a universal agenda based on rights and encompassing the three dimensions of sustainable development.

Nevertheless, structural challenges remaine to be tackled. Indeed, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve the objectives of the Agenda 2030 in time.

As far as SDG 8 on decent work is concerned, major gaps remain to be addressed. As highlighted by the ILO World Employment and Social outlook 2019, “at the current rate of improvement, SDG8 is unlikely to be achieved by 2030”. Challenges include increasing violations of fundamental workers’ rights, widespread unemployment and underemployment, shrinking democratic space, wage stagnation, poor social protection coverage, increasing informal economy, and lack of business accountability through global supply chains.

In order to leave no one behind in the context of SDG8, we call Governments to commit to a Labour Protection Guarantee for all workers, which 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.

In terms of financing, we need a strong commitment to ensure universal social protection coverage, as a primary way to fight poverty and inequality, as well as, to foster formalisation of the informal economy.

Concerning the strengthening of national institutions, social dialogue and tripartism need to be recognised as a way to put in place participatory, representative and transparent decision-making processes, and a way to grant accountability at the very heart of the SDGs progress assessment.

Moreover, SDG8 will be reached only if private sector engagement in development adheres to responsible business conduct and due diligence, as prescribed by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and through aligning their business models with SDGs.

Thank you very much,

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