The United Nations envisions sustainable development

A United Nations Summit on the Post-2015 development agenda is scheduled for 21-23 September 2015 during the general assembly in New York. Heads of State will agree a Post 2015 Framework of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to replace the Millennium Development Goals which expire in 2015.

Preliminary negotiations on post-2015 SDGs under the auspices of the Open Working Group on SDGs recently culminated after more than a year, with a proposed set of SDGs and the adoption of the outcome document. This document will serve as the main basis of the intergovernmental negotiations ahead of next year’s United Nations Summit.

Trade unions took part in the Open Working Group discussions from their onset and welcomed the adoption of the outcome document which is on the whole fairly ambitious and encouraging.

The international trade union movement came to the negotiations table of the Open Working Group with clear demands on decent work, social protection and education.

In terms of social protection, the outcome document has a target (1.3) which demands to “implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable”. It falls short of the international trade union movement’s objective of having universal social protection as a stand-alone goal but its inclusion is nonetheless welcomed by trade unions.

In terms of decent work, the outcome document has a goal (8) which aims to "promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all". This is very close to one of the trade unions main asks: a goal on full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Matt Simonds, who represented trade unions in the Open Working Group discussions, commented that “We will continue to argue that the two issues (economic growth and decent work) should be addressed independently as separate goals—especially given the richness of the corresponding targets.”

Lastly, the language on education in the outcome document is close to the trade union demands. Goal 4 is to "ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all".

It is expected that intergovernmental negotiations will commence before the end of the year and ultimately will lead to an agreement by the end of 2015.

Trade unions will continue to keep a close eye on those negotiations to ensure Sustainable Development Goals do improve living and working conditions for all around the world.

You can find more information on trade unions position on the outcome document in the document below: