Union to Union’s new strategy that highlights trade union contributions to the 2030 Agenda

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has maintained its funding of the development cooperation activities through Union to Union for 2017. In addition, they have increased funding for development education and awareness raising grants in Sweden. In the meantime, the board of Union to Union has adopted a new five-year strategy that highlights the role of Swedish and global unions as development actors and their contribution to the Agenda 2030.

By Karin Lindström, Union to Union - @LindstromKarin

Union to Union was allocated a total of €12 million for development projects and €1.2 million for information activities within Sweden. While Union to Union had been hoping to grant further projects that are urgently needed to end poverty in the world, the application submitted was not fully granted. Despite a reduced funding, Union to Union will be able to reach some 80 countries, through Swedish and Global Unions.

“Instead of cutting down a little on all projects, we chose to reduce the grants for the few projects that desired to expand their activities largely compared with their projects for 2014-2016”, says Sigrid Bergfeldt, Head of program at Union to Union.

During 2017 several projects will focus on ensuring results for the past period in order to improve their application for the next period (2018-2022). At the same time Union to Union has adopted a new strategy for the same period. The strategy is primarily a platform of Union to Union’s work as a support-organisation. In short, the strategy aims to highlight areas that are prioritised for the next period.

“The starting point of the strategy has been the UN sustainable development goals that are particularly relevant to the Unions, such as goal 8 on decent work and economic growth”, says Union to Union Secretary General Kristina Henschen. However, it is not about forcing all our partners to change their way of work or prioritising, but more to put light on how trade union development cooperation contributes to these goals.

In addition, the strategy relies on the work of the ILO and its conventions as well as the Swedish government’s initiative Global Deal, which the whole Swedish trade union movement stands behind. The overall goal is to create "favourable conditions for human rights at work”. In order to support the global trade union movement, Union to Union wants to prioritise the following three areas:

  • Strengthen support and coordination to the trade union movement as development actors.
  • Improve knowledge, through methods and capacity building, of the trade unions involved in development cooperation.
  • Increase awareness about unions as development actors, within and outside the trade union movement.

“We hope this strategy will be a useful tool to clarify how development cooperation contributes to human rights and poverty reduction, both to our donors and to the Swedish taxpayers”, says Kristina Henschen.