United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

World Employment Social Outlook

Publication Year: 2016 Publisher: International Labour Organization (ILO)


This edition of the World Employment and Social Outlook report, devoted to the issue of poverty, comes at a critical juncture. The very first goal of the recently adopted Agenda for Sustainable Development is to end poverty by 2030 “in all its forms everywhere”. In addition, the Agenda devotes significant attention to the importance of decent work. In particular, it aims to “promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all”.

The main finding of this report is that decent work is a necessary precondition for ending poverty. Thus, without decent work, it will not be possible to meet the first goal of the Sustainable Development Agenda. Indeed, relying on economic growth alone will not be enough to eradicate poverty. The report demonstrates that the recent pattern of growth, associated with inequitable transfers of natural resource wealth, low productivity gains and lack of attention to the agricultural sector – where around two-thirds of the world’s poor work – has only served to widen the gap between the rich and the poor and prolong the incidence of poverty. Worryingly, the rate of poverty is rising in developed countries – so the goal of ending poverty is relevant to all regions.