Decent work and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development

  • ILO
  • ILO
  • AJ.Mat / Flickr
  • ILO
  • ILO
  • Asian Development Bank
  • Yann Gar / Flickr
  • Albert González Farran / UNAMID
  • Eskinder Debebe / UN Photo
  • BURGER / Phanie
  • Aceh Nias Project / ILO
  • Antuän / Flickr
  • ILO
After several years of intensive negotiations and dialogue bringing together not only governments, civil society but also millions of ordinary people around the world, UN member states have unanimously agreed what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described as the “most inclusive development agenda the world has ever seen”.

The 2030 Agenda embraces the three dimensions of sustainability – economic, social and environmental. It has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that will build on the progress achieved under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It was formally adopted by world leaders gathering at a United Nations special summit in September 2015 in New York.

The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development puts people and planet at its centre and gives the international community the impetus it needs to work together to tackle the formidable challenges confronting humanity, including those in the world of work.

Decent work – 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’s around 40 million per year. We also need to improve 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.

The importance of decent work in achieving sustainable development is highlighted by Goal 8 which aims to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”.

Goal #8

  1. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

    This global goal, reinforced by specific targets on the provision of social protection, eradication of forced and child labour, increasing productivity, addressing youth employment, SMEs and skills development, is an indispensable response to the economic and social needs of people and governments everywhere.

& Decent Work

  1. The World of Decent Work Today

    "Decent work and inclusive growth" is one of the goals of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. But what is the state of decent work in the world today? ILO Director-General Guy Ryder takes the measure of Decent Work in a world buffeted by profound change and growing inequality.

  1. ILO Focus Targets

    Although the ILO's primary focus and lead will be on Goal 8, its actions will also have an impact on other goals and targets.

Background documents

  1. 2030 Agenda

    ILO SDG Implementation Plan

    The adoption by the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015 of “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” creates a major opportunity for the UN as a whole and the ILO in particular to support member States in their commitment to ambitious sustainable development goals (SDGs) that reflect a broad consensus on a wide range of urgent and interconnected priorities.

  1. Decent work for sustainable development

    Leaving no one behind

    With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement, world leaders committed member States to end extreme poverty and to set the world on a path for sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda is also a universal call for global social justice, addressing poverty, inequality, inclusion and a commitment to leave no one behind.

  2. Outcome document

    Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

    25 September 2015

    This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom recognizing that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

  3. Worldwide survey

    We the Peoples: Celebrating 7 Million Voices

    12 December 2014

    The We the Peoples: Celebrating 7 Million Voices report presents the global results of MY World, the UN survey for a better world, which was developed in response to the Secretary-General’s call for “the most inclusive development agenda the world has ever seen”.

  4. Synthesis report of the UN Secretary-General

    The road to dignity by 2030: Ending poverty, transforming all lives and protecting the planet

    4 December 2014

    The document lays out a 15-year vision for sustainable development, which recognizes the links between the UN's three pillars of work: human rights, peace and security, and development.

  5. ILO policy paper

    Recommendation of the ILO's Governing Body for the post-2015 development agenda

    A six-point strategy for a post-2015 sustainable development framework.