TUDCN members share victories on SDG 8 at the ITUC 5th World Congress

On 18 November 2022, the Trade Union Development Cooperation Network (TUDCN) organised a side event entitled "SDG 8 as a new social contract for a job-rich recovery and resilience", which gathered more than 60 trade union leaders from all over the world.

The event was organised in the context of the ITUC’s 5th World Congress, held in Melbourne from 17 to 22 November 2022. It provided participants with a space to actively share their experience in how trade unions can make a difference in development policies and the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ITUC President Ayuba Wabba opened the session by highlighting the role of trade unions as champions of the SDGs since their endorsement in 2015 when the ITUC initiated a confederation-wide process that resulted in the inclusion of the SDGs in the 2018 Congress Declaration.

ITUC Equality Director Paola Simonetti then presented the main highlights on the achievements of the TUDCN at the national, regional, and global levels. In particular, Simonetti highlighted the production of more than 70 national trade union reports on the status of the SDGs "to keep governments accountable for their own commitments", and the creation of the ITUC Global Monitor on SDG 8 "to track global progress on Goal 8 and show its leverage effect on the whole 2030 Agenda". She also praised the unconditional support that affiliates have been giving to the work of the network, including the #timefor8 campaign, through which the network has brought the testimonies of more than 130 trade unions from around the world to the most important UN meeting on the SDGs: the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

UN general secretary Antonio Guterres’ inspiring video address to Congress the previous day, in which he highlighted the importance of unions working with the UN at the national level, still resonated strongly when TUDCN members took the floor to share highlights of their victories in their countries.

"Our UN country teams benefit greatly from your voice and experience, so please, keep engaging with them on the ground,” said Mr. Guterres in his message.

Repon Chowdhury spoke about the benefits of the engagement that the ITUC Bangladesh Council has established with the UN Country Office. In Costa Rica, Fanny Sequeira, General Secretary of the CTRN, explained how the SDGs were put at the heart of the Costa Rican trade union movement, resulting in the training of more than 1500 union members about the 2030 Agenda. In Botswana, the BFTU recently wrote its first national report on the SDGs and General Secretary Thusang Butale explained how working within the TUDCN has opened doors to engage with the government and the United Nations in his country on the implementation of the SDGs. Finally, the International Secretary of Comisiones Obreras in Spain, Cristina Faciaben, described how her organisation has been advocating for the inclusion of SDG 8 and the recognition of trade unions as full development actors in Spain’s development and cooperation policies.

The interventions from the panel were followed by a series of contributions from the audience, where trade union leaders from Argentina, Belgium, East Africa, Venezuela, Chile and Indonesia among others shared the results of their advocacy on the 2030 Agenda.