ITUC-TUDCN General Meeting: Trade unions dialogue with EU Commission vice-president Katainen on the SDG Political Declaration

The ITUC-TUDCN held its General Meeting on 27 and 28 May. The network assessed the work it has achieved in the last year and presented its plans for the months to come. A central discussion topic of this edition of the Meeting has been the Sustainable Development Goal number 8 (SDG 8), its role both for the labour agenda and the 2030 Agenda. The network also discussed the importance of placing SDG 8 on top of the sustainable development agenda.

Dialogue with the European Institution

Commission Vice President Katainen stresses the importance of employment policies and good governance for the implementation of the SDGs

The Vice-president of the European Commission in charge of Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, took the floor to present the work of the European Commission (EC) and its views. He stressed that the EC is not only fully committed to implementing the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda but also sees this not only as a necessity but as a “huge opportunity” for reinventing a new form of sustainable economic growth.

We need a reinvented form of sustainable economic growth. The key message is: achieving the sustainable development goals is not only a necessity but also a huge opportunity for Europe.

- Jyrki Katainen, European Commission

On SDG 8, Mr. Katainen insisted that the principles of social rights are essentials to make sure that we organise a fair transition that leaves no one behind. He stressed the relevance of setting up programmes for life-long learning and re/up-skilling of workers. He also underlined the importance of streamlining employment policies across the block and to bring vulnerable people in the labour market.

Overall, the Vice-president of the Commission stressed the importance of keeping good governance and the rule of law at the core of sustainable development.


Felix Fernández Shaw – Director in the European Commission’s Directorate for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) – stressed the great added value that trade unions provide thanks to their SDGs country reports. Through their connection with the local level, trade unions can produce assessments of the implementation of the SDGs based on how they affect the people in the communities.

For the European Commission, the priority is the country level and organisations like you are key for us because you are everywhere.

- Felix Fernández Shaw, DG DEVCO


More on SDG8 - #Timefor8

The ITUC-TUDCN will run a campaign that will bridge the centrality of SDG 8 with the related trade union’s call for a New Social Contract. The campaign’s slogan is #Timefor8 – The clock is ticking for a New Social Contract.

The secretariat presented the two-leg strategy behind this campaign. On the one hand to advocate on national governments to ensure that trade unions’ key demands on sustainable development are reflected in the Political Declaration on the SDGs that the United Nations’ Heads of State and Governments will approve in September 2019. And, on other hand, to raise awareness about the centraliy of SDG 8 and the role that trade unions play in the implementation of the SDGs among as many affiliates, trade unionists, allies, and members of the general public as possible.


Scoring SDG 8 Implementation

As part of the conversation on SDG 8, the TUDCN Secretariat presented a new initiative about undertaking a global research on the centrality of SDG 8 in the 2030 Agenda. The objective of the project is to demonstrate that achieving SDG 8 is a pre-requisite to reach the other SDGs in a sustainable manner.

The outcomes of this policy piece will be: the creation of a multi-country dataset on SDG8; the production of a composite SDG8 Index - i.e. a unique indicator that is applicable and comparable for all the regions; and an analysis of the interaction between SDG8 and selected indicators of other goals; and a position paper highlighting policy recommendations.

Ultimately, this work will be launched in July during the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) that will take place in New York from 8 to 18 July.



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