United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Workers & Trade Unions

As workers and trade unions, we are concerned about the issues that have been left behind in the proposed global indicators.
The limited number of indicators is a major challenge for adequately monitoring the commitments and corresponding set of targets and we wish to highlight a few examples of where the proposed indicators fall short.
The proposal focuses on outcome indicators at the expense of structure and process indicators. We want to see more indicators that assess the legal and institutional reforms which are key for sustainable and long-term change.
For goal 4 on education, target 1, we want to see indicators that assess whether legislation and financing is in place to guarantee free quality primary and secondary education, in accordance with human rights obligations. We are also cautioning against narrow interpretations of targets, such as the translation of ‘relevant learning outcomes’ into ‘reading and mathematics’ only.
For goal 6, we call for a clear reference to the human right to water. Without this reference, this goal is an open door for turning water into a commodity. We also need indicators on local governments that operate public water and sanitation systems, which can benefit the creation of public-public partnerships.
For goal 8, we support many of the proposed indicators on employment, and in particular those related to social protection, but the overall package needs strengthening.
Decent Work included under target 8.5, for example, has four mutually reinforcing dimensions which necessarily need to be assessed through a series of dedicated indicators.
We call for an indicator on the social dialogue, such as collective bargaining coverage rate. Collective bargaining is a key mechanism to combat inequality, raise wages and improve working conditions; it strengthens democratic decision-making processes and can be a strong instrument for promoting gender equality and closing the gender pay gap. Collective bargaining can also help address diversity policies as well as gender-based violence.
For goal 10, target 4, we want to see additional indicators that assess wage disparities, such as the wage share of national income, the average real wage index compared to productivity, and minimum wage as % of the median wages.
For goal 16, target 10, we want to see a specific reference to trade unionists added to proposed indicator 2.
For goal 17, target 17, we strongly oppose that the indicators focus only on public-private partnerships, despite the target itself has a much broader scope. Public-private partnerships are an expensive and inefficient way of financing infrastructure and services, since they conceal public borrowing, while providing long-term state guarantees for profits to private companies. Public investment in the provision of health, education, social services and water and energy utilities should be encouraged, instead of selling of public assets. Re-
municipalization and public-public partnerships are the way forward and this should be reflected in the indicators.
Finally, regarding the proposed technical tweaks to targets, we welcome the suggested changes in goal 4 on education and goal 8 on child labour