“Future of work is in fact the ‘future of the world’”

Earlier this week, G20 Sherpas gathered in Mendoza, Argentina, to discuss the state of the world economy and finance, employment and the future of work, as well as international migration. The UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Mr. Liu Zhenmin in his capacity of the UN Sherpa attended this meeting.

Sherpas acknowledged that the world economy continues to grow, but growth is uneven. Many risks such as rising inequalities, financial vulnerabilities, trade tensions, policy uncertainties and disaster risks cloud the outlook.

There was a sharp focus on employment and the future of work, especially job creation for young people. It was acknowledged that disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence will shape the labour markets. “Future of work is in fact the future of the world,” Mr. Liu said.

The discussions emphasized the significant impact that technological change has had on employment and the possible consequences it may create in the future. The meeting also recognized that innovation would require people to adapt to new skills and opportunities. “There is a need for balanced approach in harnessing technologies and managing their negative impacts,” Mr. Liu added.

Mr. Liu observed that “the 2030 Agenda provides a universal framework for addressing these challenges. The implementation could be accelerated through a renewed commitment to global cooperation and strengthened efforts to mainstream the Goals into policy decisions. Efforts are also needed to ensure sufficient financing for the SDGs. G-20 countries have a pivotal role in the realization of the Agenda.”

The third G20 Sherpa meeting was convened to prepare for the 13th Summit of the G20 in Buenos Aires from 30 November to 1 December this year. Under the Argentine Presidency, the G20 has pursued three priorities: the future of work; infrastructure for development; and a sustainable food future under the overall theme of “Building consensus for fair and sustainable development”. The Secretary-General of the United Nations is expected to lead the UN delegation to the Summit.

Top photo: Ray Witlin/World Bank

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