UN Rio+20 Summit Must Deliver on Jobs, Poverty and the Environment

With precarious jobs, unemployment and inequalities rising around the world, the international labour movement today formally tabled its proposals to the secretariat of the sustainable development summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012.

“Governments must realise that unless there is a drastic change in the way the world is governed, there is no chance that social equity or environmental protection will be achieved,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. “The trade union movement is ready to mobilise for a real transformation of production systems, for them to deliver decent work and prosperity while protecting natural resources for future generations”.

At the heart of trade union demands are the need for investment in social protection systems and in green and decent jobs. Also stressed is the need for governments to ensure that key principles such as equity between and within countries, Just Transition, gender equality and a dramatic reduction in financial speculation, form the basis of any discussion on the Green Economy.

“We are concerned at indications that little progress will be made on climate change at the Durban Conference Durban this December. We are determined to push the multilateral system to protect people and the planet, and to recognise that trade unions are fundamental to this.

The trade union demands for Rio+20 are based on the notion that each measure and decision at Rio+20 must deliver across all the three dimensions of sustainability, as spelt out in a preparatory meeting trade unions held in Madrid, Spain. The ‘Madrid Dialogue’ delivered a first outline of unions priorities for Rio+20 through a debate with members of the UN Panel on Sustainability and representatives from civil society.

“The report of the Madrid Dialogue shows the strong consensus around decent and green jobs, the social protection floor and the need for fair and environmentally-sound taxation policies,” said Burrow. “This dialogue gave us real impetus to push for these proposals in the Rio+20 context.”