UNSAS invests in SDG knowledge-sharing among women and young trade unionists

Senegal’s National Union of Autonomous Trade Unions (UNSAS) and the ILO have organised training sessions with women and young trade unionists to raise their awereness on the opportunities and challenges that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) bring to workers and trade unions.

By Anne Cécile Coly, UNSAS Senegal

Like political actors and civil society organisations, trade unions are also committed to the realisation of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda. The entry into force of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) marks a very important turning point for unions, including UNSAS.

As fully-fledged actors in development, trade unions have the legitimacy and the duty to participate in the process of realising the SDGs. Unions know that the SDGs are a trade union issue and an opportunity for workers. They know that the 2030 Agenda, through its SDG 8 in particular, highlights the key role of decent work in achieving a sustainable development with decent work for all.

To strengthen trade unions’ participation and contribution to sustainable development, it is instrumental that unionists are informed about the SDGs and the opportunities and challenges that come along with them.

This is the whole point of the awareness campaign "#time for 8 – the clock is ticking for a New Social Contract" that the global trade union movement is running to stress the relevance SDG 8 (on decent work and sustainable growth) has for workers around the world as a means to improve their working and living conditions, and facilitate the realisation of a New Social Contract.

It is within this framework that around thirty young Senegalese trade unionists, coming from several regions, participated in a workshop on the SDGs, organised as part of a training day on the employability of young people in Senegal. The event was organised in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The SDG workshop stirred great interest and triggered very interesting discussions on the challenges the Goals are bringing to trade unions in Senegal, especially concerning decent work (SDG 8), gender equality (SDG 5) and education (SDG 4).

At the end of the workshop, the participants committed themselves to multiply this kind of training in their local unions and to advocate the inclusion of the SDGs in their unions’ work plans as well as in those of the civic platforms in which unions are active.

Like the young people, the UNSAS women’s committee took advantage of its second ordinary congress on January 18, 2020 to raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges that the SDGs are bringing to women unionists.

The theme of this national conference "Empowering Women" provided an opportunity to discuss the challenges facing the implementation of SDG 5 (on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls) in particular.

This Goal aims to encourage equal opportunities for men and women, to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, including early and forced marriage, and to promote opportunities for equitable participation at all levels. From this point of view, SDG 5 impacts on all the other SDGs and takes into account all aspects of inclusive and sustainable development.

Photo: UNSAS