UN Economic, Social body to launch network tackling ‘monumental’ global employment challenge

Wide view of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) concluded its three-day discussion on boosting integration of the three pillars of sustainable development. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

1 April 2015 – As the Economic and Social Council concluded its three-day segment on boosting integration of the three pillars of sustainable development, the body’s Vice-President said he would work with the United Nations labour agency to follow-up on delegates’ work by launching an international entity to help address the issue of providing employment and decent work to people around the world.

“I am pleased to inform you that I and the Director-General of ILO are working towards launching a Global Network of Stakeholders on Employment Creation and Decent Work for Sustainable Development,” said Vladimir Drobnjak, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). “We are holding consultations with the potential members of this network. This network will be Council’s contribution towards addressing this global challenge of monumental proportions.”

Mr. Drobnjak said the outcome of this week’s work would serve as an important contribution to ECOSOC’s high-level segment, including the high-level political forum on sustainable development and he stressed his confidence that countries and regions had had an opportunity to learn important lessons from one another regarding the issues at hand.

“The discussions we led and the conclusions we draw from this segment can provide additional food for thought in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, in particular relating to [proposed sustainable development goal] SDG 8,” he said. “The integration segment has inspired some concrete policy recommendations and action-oriented solutions to promote policy coherence in economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development for the promotion of full employment and decent work for all.”

He listed highlights of the discussions that took place, including the idea that insufficient demand had been resulted from recent economic growth, meaning that jobs had not been generated and that fiscal policies such as a carbon tax and a financial transaction tax could help stimulate the economy.

He also noted calls for greater policy coherence, for making dignity and prosperity the norm in labour markets, for greater participation of women and for formalisation of the informal economy through provision of social protection and job security.

Environmental sustainability and job creation were mutually reinforcing, he said, pointing out that transition to more environmentally sustainable approaches can have a positive impact on job creation, quality and productivity. The transition to a green economy had to be a just transition for workers.

Mr. Drobnjak also stressed that infrastructure and industrialization would be critical pillars for economic growth and job creation in Africa and underlined the need for Africa to get its fair share of the 600 million new jobs that the global economy needed to add.

The Director-General of the ILO, Guy Ryder, and Assistant Secretary-General Thomas Gass from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs also made closing remarks, with Mr. Ryder lauding ECOSOC’s efforts and partnership on the issue of employment at the UN.

“Our deliberations over the past three days have generated a rich exchange of views and experiences illustrating the inextricable link between decent work and sustainable development,” he said.

Mr. Gass underlined the importance of a strong ECOSOC Integration Segment to offer substantive and strategic policy guidance in the years ahead, particularly in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.

“It should continue to engage policy makers and the UN system in the promotion of a balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development around ECOSOC’s annual theme,” he said.


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