Trade Union-DAC Forum: unions call on OECD-DAC members to move forward with a roadmap on SDG-driven recovery and resilience

Trade unions have encouraged the members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to rethink the focus of aid and align its financing with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to match the impact of COVID-19.

On Monday 30 November, trade unions and DAC members met at the Sixth Trade Union – OECD DAC Forum, to discuss the role of development cooperation in building recovery and resilience from the Covid-19 crisis.

The pandemic has laid bare the weaknesses of the current economic model, which has also impacted the way aid is delivered. A paradigm shift is necessary to ensure that aid tackles and prevents poverty and inequality through sustainable responses that support the Decent Work Agenda, universal social protection and the fight against climate change. For this, unions call for a substantial increase of aid volumes, going beyond 0.7 percent of Gross National Income.

Discussions were launched through a High-level Panel that brought together the ITUC and TUAC General Secretaries, the Chair of the OECD DAC, and the Director of the Development Co-operation Directorate of the OECD. The Forum followed up many areas of debate featured at the OECD DAC High-level Meeting, of 9-10 November.

Throughout the discussion, speakers emphasised the importance of SDG8 on decent work and inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and the need for investments in sustainable jobs that will lead to decent work creation.

“Building the foundations against future shocks will require investing in employment in the care economy and in other climate-friendly jobs. This needs to be married with universal social protection and Just Transitions,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC.

Most speakers and several DAC members underlined the importance of supporting social protection systems as one of the most effective responses to the crisis. The role of debt relief and taxation were also highly present in the discussions, as Sharan Burrow explained: “We should put forward debt relief with one single conditionality: SDG alignment.”

In a global context in which we are off track to achieve the SDGs and in the fight against climate change, “unions hope to move forward with the DAC on a roadmap on creating decent work, reinforcing social protection and progressing towards a Just Transition,” concluded the TUAC General Secretary, Pierre Habbard.