Trade Unions at UNECE meeting on follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda

TUDCN’s Joan Lanfranco and Goda Neverauskaite of the Pan-European Regional Council of ITUC/ETUC (PERC) attended the Executive Committee meeting of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Held in Geneva on the 10th of May 2016, it discussed the region’s plans for SDG implementation and follow-up.

The UNECE region stretches from the US and Canada to Russia (see map). This meeting discussed the regional follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda, in view of complementing the global follow-up task of the High-Level Political Forum, to take place in New York in July 2016.

The session mainly discussed the plans and initial steps of UNECE member states’ governments to implement and follow-up on the SDGs, based on the results of a Regional SDG Survey, and possible future modalities for regional reviews. Four EU member states will be giving voluntary reviews on their implementation and follow-up of the SDGs (Estonia, Finland, France, Germany). Non-EU countries Switzerland, Montenegro and Norway will also volunteer at the HLPF.

National delegates agreed on the need for greater coherence on SDGs implementation between UNECE and EU, as well as other regional organisations such as the OECD and the Council of Europe. There was also common agreement that UNECE should serve as hub for implementation and review peer-learning among member states.

Civil society including trade unions raised concerns about the preparedness of most UNECE countries to implement the 2030 Agenda, as well as in the lack of involvement of civil society national implementation plans. CSOs demanded to emulate the UN set-up of major groups and other stakeholders in future regional meetings on SDG review, in order to ensure a transparent process. Read the CSO common position here.

Trade unions demanded the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda to be based on mutual accountability and democratic ownership, ensuring genuine participation and social dialogue as a pillar to ensure ownership of policy processes. The labour movement made clear its national, regional and global mobilisation towards the same objectives: ensuring workers and their families have access to a decent life and a decent job in a healthy environment, while securing the needs and ensuring opportunity for future generations. Read the trade union position here.

The next UNECE Commission Session (25-27 April 2017) will serve as next year’s Regional Forum on Sustainable Development.