ITUC Welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s report "Our Common Agenda"

The much-anticipated report of the United Nations’ Secretary-General presents recommendations to accelerate the 2030 Agenda and share a renewed multilateralism that is fit for the new era.

Launched on Friday 10 September, the report depicts the fundamental tipping point facing humanity by contrasting two potential futures, one of a collapsing world heading towards breakdown and perpetual crisis, and another one of a breakthrough in which humanity takes hold of itself and works towards a greener, safer, sustainable future.

“The global labour movement supports the proposals that the UN Secretary General is laying out in his report to overcome the challenges that we are facing today and will face tomorrow if we don’t act now. It is particularly encouraging to see that the report explicitly calls for a new social contract and to see how it stresses the central role of expanding social protection systems, and promoting decent work and labour protection floors with Just Transition. We see clear interlinkages with our own Demands for a New Social Contract,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

On the role of social protection, Mr. Guterres urges states to accelerate steps to achieve universal social protection coverage and refers to the opportunity of a Global Social Fund for Protection, as it could “support countries in increasing levels of funding devoted to social protection over time".

Regarding labour protection floors, the UN chief emphasizes that decent work is a basic human right, at the same level as food, health care, water and sanitation, and education, and he underlines that “decent work opportunities for all are also needed for shared prosperity” and thus, it is imperative to ensure “a floor of rights and protections for all workers, irrespective of their employment arrangements, as laid out in the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work”. Additionally, Guterres calls for major public investments in the creation of decent jobs in such sectors as the green, care and digital economies. He also provides key recommendations to uphold equality in the world of work by calling for measures to reboot labour market access and equal economic participation for women (“including through large-scale investment in the care economy and equal pay”) and youth (by considering “youth labour guarantees”, investing in upskilling youth and ensuring meaningful youth engagement in decision-making processes at all levels).

Deepening further the connection of decent work with climate sustainability, the report insists on the role of investing in Just Transition to create decent work and quality jobs as a key enabler for climate action and ambition. Also, the UN Secretary-General calls “on all countries to embrace the ILO Guidelines for a Just Transition towards Environmentally Sustainable Economies and Societies for All and adopt them as the minimum standard to ensure progress on decent work for all”.

The ITUC equally supports the call to share “a global economy that works for all”, starting from finding measures of progress that complement GDP, promoting a fairer trading system and a reformed international tax system, and boosting greater business accountability, by arguing that “strong and sustainable businesses are built on global values, including human and labour rights, environmental sustainability and fighting corruption”.

“Every detail in this report is important. Therefore, it is a particularly strong message to have chosen to make a stand-alone graphic of the fact that 92 per cent of all the Sustainable Development Goals are linked to human rights and labour standards. This shows that unions’ call for a New Social Contract with SDG8 at its core-for a job-rich recovery and resilience is the way to go to overcome today’s challenges and build a sustainable world for the future generations. We stand with Guterres’ call for a more networked, more inclusive and more effective multilateralism, and we are ready to engage through social dialogue at all levels,” said Sharan Burrow.