Heads of State and Government Welcome New Initiative for SDG 8
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Heads of State and Government and high-level officials of international organizations welcomed a 'Global Deal' to address challenges in the global labor market and enable all people to benefit from globalization.

The initiative aims to support Sustainable Development Goal 8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all) through a multi-stakeholder partnership that encourages governments, businesses, unions and other stakeholders to enhance social dialogue.

sweden_oecd_ilo21 September 2016: Heads of State and Government and high-level officials of international organizations welcomed a ‘Global Deal’ to address challenges in the global labor market and enable all people to benefit from globalization. The initiative aims to support Sustainable Development Goal 8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all) through a multi-stakeholder partnership that encourages governments, businesses, unions and other stakeholders to enhance social dialogue.

The initiative was launched on 21 September 2016 in New York, US during a high-level side event of the 71th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The event was organized by the Permanent Mission of Sweden, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Opening the meeting, Stefan Lofven, Prime Minister of Sweden, noted that the working people are those creating the welfare and thus it is not only morally right, but also economically smart to empower them. Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General, said 90% of the jobs in OECD areas will be automated in the next 10-15 years, while the scope of collective bargaining has been reduced. Noting that the Global Deal’s ambition is to harness dialogue as a vital force for creating more and better jobs and promoting inclusive growth, he stressed the need for all stakeholders to recognize and utilize its power to overcome inequality and unemployment.

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, explained that people need first and foremost decent work and the chance to have their voice heard. He stressed that social dialogue can provide that, being the best way to build cohesive and peaceful societies. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, noted that the lack of good jobs and the lack of hope for better prospects lead youth to extremism. He underscored the need to expand social coverage for those working in the informal sector.

Noting some of the major challenges the world is facing, Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, stressed that the Global Deal will support future generations to lead better lives. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, explained how, through Bangladesh Vision 2021, her government plans to create a people-centered country, free from poverty and hunger. Christian Kern, Chancellor of Austria, spoke about how social dialogue can serve as a fundamental pillar for social justice and democratic societies. In a video message, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, called for creating a strong, optimistic middle class, as investments in the middle class contribute to long-term economic growth. Representatives of Angola, Cambodia and Colombia also presented their messages of support for the initiative.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), noted the importance of the Global Deal in the current global context, where 45 million people live in modern slavery and up to 75% of world’s workers have little or no social protection. Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom Limited, said business leaders need to reevaluate the definition of leadership and called for a more enlightened approach to business leadership that focuses on: addressing climate change; enhancing transparency and eradicating corruption; and creating a more human-centric workforce. [IISD RS Sources] [Press Release of the Embassy of Sweden] [UN Web TV Recording of the Launch Event]

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