Decent work

Symposium on Sustainable Development Goals and Decent Work

The Ministry of Labour and labour Relations has taken the lead in the country to promote and implement the Decent work agenda.

With the end of the period for implementing the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, the global community defined the new development agenda as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are built on and transit from the MDGs to complete the balance global agenda. The Goals and targets will stimulate action over the next 15 years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet.

On 25th September 2015, the Resolution 70/1 on ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ was adopted by 193 Member States at the UN General Assembly, including Sri Lanka. As stated in the Preamble to the Resolution the SDGs is a plan of action for people, planet, prosperity and seeking to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. This agenda being a collaborative partnership among all countries and stakeholders, the Resolution states, “take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world on to a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind”…. “We commit ourselves to working tirelessly for the full implementation of this Agenda by 2030”.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated in the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. The global collaboration is determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies as there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development. Through revitalization of collaborative and global partnerships and on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, the member states and stakeholders are determined to mobilize the means required to implement the SDG agenda. Such action in turn will focus in particular on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable so that lives of all will be profoundly improved and our world will be transformed for the better.

The agenda on ‘Decent work’ is key to sustainable development. It is estimated that over 600 million new jobs need to be created by 2030, just to keep pace with the growth of the global working age population – that is around 40 million job per annum. Furthermore, improving conditions for the some 780 million women and men who are working but not earning enough to lift themselves and their families out of USD 2 a-day poverty also require attention. The components of ‘Decent work for all’ is embedded and reflected across majority of the SDGs and in particular in Goal 8 which aims to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”. The symposium is to continue the discourse on how Sri Lanka could more effectively operationalise existing and new programmes, policies and social dialogue to enhance the agenda on decent work and contribute to the local sustainable development goals for improved economic, social and environmental conditions for the country’s citizens.