ITUC welcomes UN Secretary-General’s report “Our Common Agenda”

photo: AFP

A much-anticipated report from UN Secretary-General António Guterres backs the call for a renewed social contract, setting out an ambitious plan for multilateral action to address the multiple crises facing the world.

The report contrasts two possible futures: a world heading towards breakdown and perpetual crisis, or a positive outlook based on solidarity and cooperation to secure a better, sustainable, peaceful and secure future for people and the planet with a renewed social contract.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “António Guterres has laid out the challenge with a clear and comprehensive agenda with sustainability and social and economic justice at its heart. He has set out the direction the world must take with his call for a new social contract with decent jobs, social protection, Just Transition, the labour protection floor set out in the ILO Centenary Declaration, and global solidarity to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control.”

The report points to:

  • the benefits of a global social protection fund for the least wealthy countries as a centrepiece for universal social protection;
  • the need for active and equal participation of women and girls; and
  • investment in the green, care and digital economies.

Decent work is recognised as a basic human right, and the range of commitments set out in the ILO Centenary Declaration receives strong backing. It also sets out the crucial importance of supporting jobs and education for young people as part of the agenda for intergenerational solidarity.

Other key features are restoring trust in governments, including through global tax reform, making businesses accountable, reforming the global trade system and expanding accountability beyond the narrow measure of GDP. SDG 8, on decent work, is rightly acknowledged as integral to achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

“The United Nations is clearly responding to the demands of working people for a new social contract built on jobs, rights, social protection, equality and inclusion. Governments must heed this call to rebuild trust and put humanity on a positive and sustainable pathway for now and for future generations,” said Sharan Burrow.