UNGA 72 Documents Address Trade, Gender and Human Development
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In preparation for the 72nd session of the UNGA, the UN Secretary-General has released documents on international trade and development, women in development and human resources.

To achieve the 2030 Agenda, these reports recommend: trade strategies focus on achieving sustainable development and the SDGs; gender mainstreaming in implementation of the SDGs and targets; and adaptation of institutions, education and training systems and social protection systems to equip people to navigate the 21st century and ensure no one is left behind.

28 August 2017: In preparation for the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the UN Secretary-General has released several reports on development topics, all of which address implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These reports focus on trends in international trade and development; women in development; and the role of human resources development strategies as a tool for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UN Secretary-General’s report on ‘International trade and development’ (A/72/274) reflects that the 2030 Agenda includes actions to create an environment conducive for global trade, which the report argues should be adopted as the basis for future trade policy. Despite these aims, the report finds that trade slowdowns have hindered progress on SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals), including on target 17.11 on doubling least developed countries (LDCs) share in global exports by 2020. The report further reflects that the prolonged post-crisis decline in world trade relative to gross domestic product (GDP) has “directly affected the ability of countries across the globe to implement the SDGs” and has also raised questions about openness related to trade, immigration and globalization. The report recommends: devising trade policies that foster economic growth that is also inclusive and sustainable; ensuring consideration of social and environmental concerns in global and regional value chains; and focusing trade strategies on achieving sustainable development and the SDGs.

On women, the UN Secretary-General’s report discusses actions taken in response to UNGA Resolution 70/219 on national measures to scale up efforts to accelerate the transition of women from informal to formal employment and support the recognition, reduction and redistribution of unpaid care and domestic work by women. Among its findings, ‘Women in development (A/72/282)’ highlights “pervasive” occupational segregation as a major driver of the gender pay gap, with women concentrated in the informal economy, domestic work and low-paid casual work, and identifies a number of systemic barriers that undermine women’s opportunities in “all aspects” of work. The report argues that unpaid care and domestic work “enables the ‘productive’ economy to function” by supporting the well-being of the workforce, children, older persons and people with responsibilities.

The report stresses that eradication of poverty in all its forms, everywhere, cannot be realized without achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The report concludes that, despite progress on many aspect of women’s empowerment, “changes have not resulted in equal outcomes for women and men.” The report recommends a number of actions, ranging from creating decent work opportunities to expanding social protection coverage and promoting women’s access to and control over assets, including land, property and financial services. To achieve the 2030 Agenda, the report recommends mainstreaming gender in implementation of the SDGs and targets, stressing that the vision of a world free of poverty in all its forms, everywhere, cannot be realized without gender equality and women’s empowerment.

On human resources development, the UN Secretary-General’s report, titled ‘Human resources development for the 21st century (A/72/292),’ finds that adaptation of institutions, education and training systems and social protection systems will be necessary to equip people to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century and ensure no one is left behind. The report highlights opportunities in the future of work, including job creation for health workers to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s goal of universal health coverage and for workers in the fields of renewable energy and climate change adaptation and mitigation. The report further considers changes related to, inter alia, technology, demography, globalization, migration, and inclusive human resources development. The report also addresses the importance of policy coherence in achieving the 2030 Agenda and leaving no one behind, showcasing examples of how UN entities have used innovation and technology to foster human resources development.

UNGA 71 will formally close on 11 September. UNGA 72 will open on 12 September. The General Debate will open on 19 September, with a focus on the theme, ‘Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.’ [A/72/274] [A/72/282] [A/72/292] [UNGA 72 Draft Programme of Work] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UNGA 72 Documents on Education, Environmental Conventions and Social Development]


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