Trade unions’ call for a New Social Contract is included in the Civil Society Declaration to the ECLAC Forum on Sustainable Development

The Fifth Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development analysed the progress and challenges of the regional implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The event was organised by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in San José de Costa Rica from March 7 to 9.

Through its affiliates in the region, the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA/ITUC) actively participated in the meeting of civil society that was held prior to the Forum,. There, Fanny Sequeira, general secretary of the CTRN (Costa Rica), participated as a speaker in the session on gender equality in the 2030 Agenda. She underlined the importance for states to invest in the creation of decent jobs, in the care economy and to ratify ILO Convention 189 on domestic workers.

Thanks to its involvement in the ECLAC Civil Society Participation Mechanism, the trade union movement managed to include many priorities in the final Civil Society Declaration presented at the ECLAC Forum.

“There has been a greater appropriation of our union narrative in civil society collectives, in particular the debate on the pre-COVID-19 crisis of the model, the call for a New Social Contract based on people and the planet, the centrality of decent work, social protection and just transition”, explained Marita González (CGT Argentina), CSA focal point in the Civil Society Participation Mechanism.

Trade unions contributed to reinforcing the approaches of civil society on SDG 4 (access to quality education), highlighting public education as a human right and an emancipatory and transformative tool. They also stressed the importance that just transition and incorporating the environmental issue in sustainable development plans have for progressing on SDG 14 (life below water) and 15 (life on earth).

Regarding SDG 17 (inclusive alliances), the trade union movement contributed to the Final Declaration with its denunciation of the privatisation of international cooperation, warning that South-South cooperation must not adopt the mechanisms of traditional North-South cooperation. They also reiterated workers’ call for a New Social Contract and underlined the centrality of social dialogue to define inclusive and sustainable recovery policies.

Union impact in the regional forum

In addition to participating in the civil society meeting, Fanny Sequeira represented the trade union movement at the Regional Forum where she had the opportunity to engage with ECLAC, government representatives and the ILO.

The joint effort made in both meetings had a very positive result reflected in the Forum’s Declaration of Governments. Among other points, it is worth noting the inclusion in the declaration of the explicit commitment of the governments to:

  • Promoting decent work: (1)“promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, adapt study plans to the demand for new skills by the productive system”, (2)“achieve economic growth sustained, inclusive and sustainable and decent work, promote equal pay for work of equal value, analyze paid and unpaid care work”, (3) “reduce gaps in participation and income in the labor market and seek universal access to social protection”, and (4) “promote decent work for all, as well as social protection policies aimed at avoiding unemployment, reducing labor informality”.
  • Financing of the SDGs through (1) “measures necessary to achieve debt sustainability and reduce the indebtedness of developing countries”, (2) “increase the access of the countries of the region to financing under favorable conditions”, (3) demands “for developed countries to comply with their objectives of official assistance for development”, (4) commitment to “consider the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights of the United Nations”, and (5) “substantially reduce illicit financial flows by 2030, in particular by combating tax evasion”.
  • Fostering multilateralism: “We reaffirm our adherence to international cooperation (...) multilateralism is not an option, but a necessity in our task of recovering and rebuilding better to achieve a more equal, more resilient and more sustainable world, through revitalizing global action”

For more information, see the article from TUCA (in Spanish).