ILO Report Highlights Slow Reductions in Working Poverty, Events Discuss Making Decent Work a Reality
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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The ILO's World Employment and Social Outlook 2017 finds that over 200 million people are out of work around the world and slow reductions in working poverty threaten the prospects for achieving the SDGs and eradicating poverty.

The ILO also held a number of events related to the future of work, including a side event at the UN General Assembly and events in Europe and Central Asia.

9 October 2017: The International Labour Organization (ILO) has released the 2017 edition of its ‘World Employment and Social Outlook (WESO)’ which finds that slow reductions in working poverty threaten the prospects for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 1 (end poverty). ILO’s Future of Work initiative has held a number of events to advance discussion and understanding on the changing world of work, including a side event with the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Second Committee.

The report titled, ‘WESO 2017: Sustainable enterprises and jobs,’ focuses on job creation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The report finds that over 200 million people are out of work around the world and job creation in SMEs has “stagnated.” WESO 2017 also considers the role of working conditions on sustainable development; for example, it finds that providing staff training can lead to almost 20 percent higher productivity and 14 percent higher wages.

Nearly two-thirds of workers in sub-Saharan Africa and nearly half of workers in Southern Asia live in extreme or moderate working poverty, endangering the prospects for eradicating poverty and achieving the SDGs.

On workers and poverty, the report finds that nearly two-thirds of workers in sub-Saharan Africa and nearly half of workers in Southern Asia live in extreme or moderate working poverty and progress in reducing such poverty is slowing, with progress in developing countries failing to keep up with economic growth. The report cautions that this slow progress endangers the prospects for eradicating poverty and achieving the SDGs. In addition, the report emphasizes that inequalities in opportunities persist, particularly gender disparities in labour market opportunities and pay.

The report recommends that policy efforts focus on overcoming structural impediments to growth, including inequality. ILO suggests that a coordinated increase in public investment could provide an “immediate jump-start” to the global economy and lower unemployment.

Also on decent work, the UNGA’s Second Committee held a discussion on ‘The Future of Work: Making Decent Work a Reality.’ The event took place on 4 October, and aimed to enhance the Committee’s understanding of the impacts and interdependencies of emerging trends related to innovation and technology, demographics and structural economic transformation in the world of work. Participants also discussed the types of skills and digital competencies individuals need to benefit from existing and emerging technologies and increasing digitalization, including recommendations for designing education and training policies focused on emerging technologies. ILO and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) organized the event.

Also on the Future of Work, the ILO advanced discussions on the Future of Work at two recent events. The 10th European Regional Meeting, which convened from 2-5 October in Istanbul, Turkey, discussed a number of topics related to the future of work, including decent jobs for all and conversations on work and society. Speaking at the event, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder called on European and Central Asian countries to ensure that economic growth is accompanied by social progress. The Ninth edition of the ILO Social and Solidarity (SSE) Economy Academy focused on an exchange of experiences and best practices on the Future of Work. The event convened in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, from 25-29 September. [UN Press Release on WESO] [WESO Publication Webpage] [UNGA Event Concept Note] [European Regional Meeting Webpage] [ILO Press Release on European Regional Meeting] [ILO Press Release on SSE event]


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