World of Work Summit Highlights Links between SDG 8, SDG 16
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The ILO World of Work Summit highlighted the role of employment and decent work for building and sustaining peace and resilience, with a focus on addressing on the ground realities and partnering to achieve results.

Participants shared country experiences and supported efforts to address employment and decent work for all as a key component of ending and preventing conflict.

7 June 2018: Participants at the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) World of Work Summit underscored linkages between work and peace, noting the role of job creation in building resilience, preventing conflict and tackling poverty. The Summit also considered the ILO’s work to support strategic partnerships for peacebuilding and the sustainable development agenda.

The World of Work Summit convened as part of the 107th session of the International Labour Conference, which took place from 28 May to 8 June 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Summit’s theme, ‘Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience,’ recognizes the relationship between tackling the root causes of conflict and creating momentum for employment generation, decent work and inclusive growth as components of both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN’s Sustaining Peace agenda. In particular, SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) includes target 8.5 on full and productive employment and decent work for all, and target 8.6 on reducing the proportion of youth not in employment, education and training. SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) calls for the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.

In a keynote address, Central African Republic (CAR) President Faustin Archange Touadéra described how “the economy of survival” has taken over the formal sector in his country, with over 75% of national economic activity taking place in the informal economy. He identified reducing unemployment as critical to tackling poverty and reducing the risks of radicalization, particularly for the country’s youth. Touadéra further highlighted the role of job creation in consolidating peace and reinforcing resilience in his country. He invited the ILO to send a high-level technical mission to the CAR to address employment and decent work issues, including establishing a working social protection system, promoting women’s employment and reinforcing governance capacities.

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, described the ILO as one of the international organizations “best equipped to assist nations and their peoples to build resilience and prevent conflict.” He commended the ILO’s recognition of the “link between work and peace,” observing that the ILO has contributed to building and sustaining peace through the promotion of decent work for all. Higgins called for expanding economic opportunities, advancing and achieving decent work, recognizing fundamental economic and social rights, and facilitating social dialogue among workers, employers and civil society, saying such actions are critical to conflict recovery and prevention.

During a high-level panel discussion, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said the nearly 70 million refugees and displaced people represent a “failure of peace.” He said that if people are not able be “respectfully and gainfully employed,” they will continue to be a factor for instability.

The Summit addressed a number of other topics related to decent work for all, including the gender pay gap, social protection and the future of work. The high-level panel discussed the ILO’s role in the emerging global architecture for sustaining peace, and the relevance and effectiveness of integrated strategies in promoting employment, decent work and social dialogue to address the root causes of conflicts and the refugee crisis and support peace building. [UN news story] [ILO news story] [Summit webpage]

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