Unions urge OECD DAC members to adapt their responses to scope of Covid-19 crisis

The International Trade Union Confederation’s Trade Union Development Cooperation Network (ITUC/TUDCN) and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) have jointly reacted to the response the members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) have given to the development challenges that lie ahead as a result of the economic and social crisis that the Covid-19 pandemic has set off across the world.

As the Coronavirus pandemic takes its toll across the world, trade unions grow extremely worried about developing countries’ enormous vulnerability to the dreadful economic and social consequences of the pandemic. Foresight analyses are already pointing to a worldwide recession worse than the one in 2008-2009 and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) emphasises that there could be 35 million more people in working poverty in 2020. The preventive measures, such as full and partial lockdowns, that government have carried out to prevent the further spread of the virus have affected 81 per cent of the world’s workforce. These measures impact negatively the income and livelihoods of the populations in developing countries who, in addition to the pandemic, are struggling to overcome severe development challenges, such as job losses, decent work deficits, low levels of health and safety at work, high levels of informality, and limited access to healthcare and social protection.

It is in light of this context that the ITUC/TUDCN and TUAC have responded to the DAC’s Joint Statement of 9 April 2020 on the Covid-19 Pandemic. Unions consider that the DAC’s response is not adequately addressing the challenges that the world and development cooperation are facing in the wake of the pandemic.

Unions regret to see that the DAC will only ’strive to protect’ Official Development Asssitance budgets (ODA) at a time when ODA funds are more necessary than ever. Therefore, unions encourage DAC’s members to raise the level of their response to address adequately the scale and urgency of the economic and social disaster the Coronavirus pandemic has created..

More concretely, unions urge the DAC members to

The fundamental role of SDG 8 in the post-Covid-19 recovery

Regarding the SDGs, unions stress that “today the SDGs are more important than ever and are fundamental to recovery, reconstruction and resilience during and after the crisis” and therefore DAC members must direct targeted finance to specific Goals, such as SDG 8, that are central to the 2030 Agenda and to rebuilding the economies and workplaces.

SDG 8 (on decent work and inclusive growth) is one of the crucial Goals in the immediate response to the crisis. It will be key in both the immediate responses to the pandemic, through the improvement of occupational safety and health, and to overcoming the upcoming recession as it puts the Decent Work Agenda at the centre of the 2030 Agenda. Each of the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda (job creation, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue), along with the Agenda’s principles of equity and gender equality, are essential for a holistic approach that will result in a just and sustainable way out of this crisis.

The decade of action for the achievement of the SDGs has stalled at the start line. DAC members will need to act quickly and step up ODA to help the world catch-up and avoid a greater crisis.

Trade Union Statement : The DAC must increase ODA and effective responses to save lives and livelihoods