The International Labour Organization (ILO) has welcomed the new sustainable development agenda agreed this Sunday by the United Nations' 193-member States as a major breakthrough for the world of work.
The 2030 sustainable development agenda – which contains 17 sustainable development goals and 169 indicators – will be formally adopted by world leaders gathering at a United Nations special summit on 25-27 September 2015.
"Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development " is due to replace the Millennium Development Goals starting next year. The vision of decent work for all runs across the entire agenda with a specific goal to "promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all."
There are also targets on youth employment, child and forced labour, skills enhancement, empowerment of women and increases in productivity and productive employment.
The 2030 agenda also reaffirms the need to respect, protect and promote fundamental freedoms for all and recognizes the relevance of social protection, as well as the positive contribution of migrants to inclusive growth and sustainable development.
“The ILO has been working extremely hard in recent years with governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, multilateral organizations and civil society to put Decent Work for all at the centre of inclusive growth and sustainable development,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.
“The fact that it is now an integral part of the new universal agenda for sustainable development is excellent news. The unanimous endorsement from UN member states gives the international community the impetus we need to work together to tackle the formidable challenges confronting humanity and our planet, particularly those we face in the world of work.”
“The ILO stands ready to work with our constituents and in partnership with all actors in the development field so that we may achieve these ambitious targets that are so critical to the advancement of social justice,” he added.
According to the ILO World Employment and Social Outlook , an estimated 201 million persons were unemployed in 2014, representing an increase of 30 million persons since the economic and financial crisis began in 2008. Youth are affected disproportionately, with almost 74 million young persons (aged 15 to 24 years) unemployed as of last year.
The agenda sets out to achieve by 2030 full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, youth and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value. In particular, in five years’ time, it aims to reduce substantially the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training through the development and implementation of a global strategy for youth employment.
Amongst the targets on the promotion of inclusive growth and decent work is support for entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and the encouragement of the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises.
It also calls for labour rights to be protected and for safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrants, particularly women migrants and those in precarious employment.
Immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking are to be taken. Twenty-one million persons are working in forced labour currently.
UN member States will also commit to securing the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, and ending child labour in all its forms by 2025. The ILO estimates that 169 million children are involved in child labour.