ILO canvasses policies on decent work for all
Ahead of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 summit, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called for targeted policies that would deliver decent work for all.
The global labour body said policies that could direct nations toward a more human-centred future that is more equitable, dignified, productive and humane are desirable at this time.
Director-General of the ILO, Gilbert Houngbo, had warned that without concerted action on the social, economic and environmental targets Goal 8 covers, humanity risks being locked in a cycle of crisis and conflict on a forever damaged planet.
The ILO chief said that decent work for all could only be achieved, through a coherent approach that brings together macroeconomic, sectoral, skills and social policies within one framework, informed by dialogue between governments, employers and workers’ representatives.
He said building universal social protection systems would alleviate poverty, reduce vulnerability and inequalities, and help to manage conflicts and social tensions.
To achieve this target, Houngbo stated that humanitarian assistance must be directed so that it supports social protection systems and reinforces state capacity.
He said labour market institutions needed to be strengthened to ease transitions into and within labour markets.
He recalled in 2015 when the global community agreed on 17 goals to improve the lives of all people by 2030 and to protect the planet.
Goal number 8, on sustainable economic growth and decent work for all, brings together social, economic and environmental targets.
He said these needed to be addressed simultaneously if the global communities are to succeed in its collective aims.
According to him, a world with social justice for all, equitable growth and a just transition to greener economies is possible, as it will take bold political leadership and commitment from all countries.
He said without such collective action, humanity risks being locked in a cycle of crisis and conflict on a forever-damaged planet.
The SDG summit holding in September, in New York in the United States, Houngbo, said the ILO would be promoting key initiatives, including the global accelerator on jobs and social protection for just transitions and the global coalition for social justice.
Specifically speaking on behalf of the youths, the ILO’s Junior Technical Officer, Employment, Labour Markets and Youth Branch (EMPLAB), Employment Department, Dibyaudh Das, said to achieve SDG 8, there cannot be decent work for all without decent work for youth.
Das, who noted that young people are the hope for a better future, said targeted policies are needed to address the disadvantages they face in the labour market.
Giving statistics on the latest data, he said in 2022, about 15–24-year-olds made up about 21 per cent of the total working-age population.
Noting that they constituted less than 13 per cent of the total number of employed people, he said the unemployment figures were even more stark, with about 33 per cent of the total unemployed being young people.
“Youth are also more likely to be in “bad” jobs. They are, for example, twice as likely as adult workers to live in extreme poverty – that is, on less than US$1.90 per day in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.
“They are also far more likely to be informally employed, with little or no social protection. According to the latest available data on youth in informal employment, the youth informality rate was 78 per cent in 2021, compared to 58 per cent for adults.
“Moreover, in times of crisis, youth suffer disproportionately and recover more slowly than other age groups. We saw this during the COVID-19 crisis and continue to see this during the current ‘poly-crisis’ – the multiple and compounding challenges the world is facing, such as climate change, conflicts, and high inflation globally.
“However, we cannot expect that such policies will automatically trickle down to disadvantaged groups. Given their unique needs and vulnerabilities, reaching them requires targeted interventions. This is imperative if we are to deliver on SDG 8, as there cannot be decent work for all without decent work for all young people,” he said.
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