From the TUC

SDGs – the new MDGs

25 Sep 2015, By

Today (25 September) world leaders from 193 countries will assemble at the United Nations annual General Assembly in New York to adopt 17 Global Goals to end extreme poverty and build a better world by 2030.

The TUC and the wider international trade union movement, led by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), took part in a three year process to help develop the successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were set in 2000 and are due to expire in 2015. Through a series of events, lobbying and consultations the TUC had been involved to help secure agreement of the 17 goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which would be formally adopted at the special UN summit on 25-27 September 2015.

As part of that process the TUC had written to the British government in 2010 calling for them to review progress towards the MDGs at the UN Millennium Development Goals review summit in 20-22 September of that year. The letter called on the UK government to; support our proposals for the adoption of a new policy approach, one focused on measures for fair, demand-led, redistributive growth and prioritising full and productive employment and decent work as well as a universal social protection floor; support the inclusion of the ILO Global Jobs Pact as a policy framework for achieving MDG1 on poverty eradication, as an indispensable starting point for achieving all the MDGs; and support and make a commitment to measures for stable, predictable financing of the MDGs, including through a Financial Transactions Tax.

These recommendations were part of the ITUC’s submission to the UN 2010 summit as part of a global union lobbying campaign, fully supported by the TUC.

One of the highlights in the consultation process leading up to the adoption of the 17 Global Goals, was the publication in May 2013 of the UN High Level Panel Report. Prime Minister David Cameron was a co-chair of the 27-member HLP. The HLP Report summarised its strategic vision in five basic precepts:

  • Leave no one behind
  • Put sustainable development at the core
  • Transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth
  • Build peace and effective, open, accountable public institutions for all
  • Forge a new global partnership for development

In June 2014, the UN Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) issued its recommendations, setting out 17 stand-alone goals and 169 associated targets. They include one stand-alone goal on Economic Growth and Decent Work for All as well as social protection floors as a target. The OWG recommendations have formed the basis for the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Framework.

The 17 Global Goals to be adopted today are:

  • Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Despite all efforts from the TUC, the wider international trade union movement and intervention from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), we were disappointed that the new framework does not recognise decent work as a stand-alone goal as the ITUC had earlier identified decent work and social protection as key priorities for employment growth with equity. It argued that work provides income and paves the way for economic and social development, stressing that decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives. However, we are pleased that there are a number of references to decent work included within the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Framework.

The TUC will continue to monitor the progress made by the British government to ensure they play their part to help eradicate poverty and improve living and working conditions for all around the world by 2030.