The key role of decent work for all in achieving sustainable development is highlighted by Sustainable Development Goal 8 which aims to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”.
Decent work, employment creation, social protection, rights at work and social dialogue represent integral elements of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, crucial aspects of decent work are broadly rooted in the targets of many of the other 16 goals.
In its Paragraphs 143-157, the outcome document of the Rio +20 Conference expresses its concerns about labour market conditions and the widespread deficits of available decent work opportunities. At the same time recognizes the existing linkages among poverty eradication, full and productive employment and decent work for all and urges all governments to address the global challenge of youth employment.
The global challenge of youth employment is also recalled by the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development adopted in Johannesburg in 2002.
Among the concerted and concrete measuring required for enabling developing countries to achieve their sustainable development goals, JPOI highlights the importance of providing assistance to increase income-generating employment opportunities, taking into account the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of the International Labour Organization.
JPOI reads “Good governance is essential for sustainable development. Sound economic policies, solid democratic institutions responsive to the needs of the people and improved infrastructure are the basis for sustained economic growth, poverty eradication, and employment creation. Freedom, peace and security, domestic stability, respect for human rights, including the right to development, and the rule of law, gender equality, market-oriented policies, and an overall commitment to just and democratic societies are also essential and mutually reinforcing".
Chapter 3 of Agenda 21 identifies the need to strengthening employment and income- generating programmes as tool to eradicate poverty. The Agenda also invites governments to establish measures able to directly or indirectly generate remunerative employment and productive occupational opportunities compatible with country-specific factor endowments, on a scale sufficient to take care of prospective increases in the labour force and to cover backlogs.
Furthermore, the Agenda reiterates, in different sections, the need of generating employment for vulnerable groups, specifically women, urban poor, unemployed rural labour as well as low-income urban residents.