August 2023 – In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of the Month emphasizes the importance of fostering inclusive and sustainable economic growth, job creation, and decent work for all. This objective is increasingly critical as the global economy experiences its most severe crisis in recent history, significantly impacting employment rates worldwide. To address this urgent issue, a range of governments, organizations, and individuals are joining forces to offer accessible skill development opportunities and workforce rehabilitation programs. By improving labor market policies and nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship, they seek to support sustainable economic growth and development that includes everyone.
As we approach the halfway point of the 2030 Agenda, it is evident that multiple crises are putting tremendous pressure on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The 2023 UN World Economic Situations and Prospect Report (WESP) reveals weakening growth momentum in major economies, such as the United States and European Union, with consequences felt globally. Projected global output growth is expected to decline to 1.9 per cent in 2023, setting a new record low in recent times. This reduction in growth directly impacts progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, potentially hindering attempts to alleviate poverty, enhance healthcare, and fight climate change. As a result, it is essential for countries to embrace innovative solutions and bolster international cooperation to expedite progress towards the 2030 Agenda, creating a more sustainable future for all.
Real GDP per capita experienced a sharp decline of 4.1 per cent in 2020, recovering to an estimated 5.2 per cent in 2022. However, growth in 2023 is anticipated to slow down and fail to reach the 7 per cent target specified in the Sustainable Development Goals. This deceleration may be attributed to various factors, including the ongoing effects of the pandemic and persistent economic uncertainties. To achieve the 7 per cent target, governments and policymakers must reassess their strategies and implement measures to enhance productivity, encourage investment, and cultivate innovation.
Employment prospects have also been significantly affected, with women and young people hit hardest. Although global unemployment did decrease in 2022, the situation remains dire for young job seekers, particularly in developing countries. According to the UN Secretary General’s 2023 SDGs Report, global unemployment remains at an alarming 192 million. This high unemployment rate disproportionately impacts women and youth, worsening pre-existing social and economic inequalities. Moreover, the scarce availability of job opportunities in developing nations forces many young individuals to accept unstable, low-wage, or informal employment, perpetuating a cycle of poverty and underdevelopment.
External factors such as climate change have heightened the barriers to achieving productive employment, economic growth, and decent work for all. With youth unemployment rates consistently exceeding adult rates, finding opportunities for young individuals remains a significant challenge. Furthermore, emerging technologies and automation have led to considerable shifts in the labor market, necessitating young individuals to quickly adapt their skills and capabilities. Governments, educational institutions, and private organizations must collaborate to establish conducive environments for skill development, entrepreneurship, and job growth, effectively addressing the current youth employment crisis.
The pandemic has disproportionately impacted women and young people in the job market. Despite some improvements, the struggle to acquire decent work remains an ongoing issue for these vulnerable groups. In response to this unequal situation, various organizations and government policies aim to provide targeted assistance, such as upskilling programs and financial aid specifically for women and young individuals. By raising awareness and implementing inclusive solutions, these efforts are essential to ensuring a more equitable job market as we strive to recover from the pandemic.
Additionally, a significant number of young people, mainly young women, are not engaged in education, employment, or training in regions like Central, Southern and Western Asia and Northern Africa. This lack of participation is primarily due to ingrained cultural and societal barriers that limit opportunities for young women in these areas. Addressing these obstacles and promoting inclusive policies will be crucial in ensuring equal access to education, employment, and training for all genders, ultimately empowering young people to contribute to sustainable development within their communities.
Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 8 requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both economic growth and the unique challenges faced by vulnerable groups such as women and young people. Incorporating inclusive strategies and targeted interventions will help close the gaps in employment opportunities, working conditions, and access to resources. Cooperation among governments, businesses, civil society, and individuals is vital for building a sustainable and equitable labor market that enables everyone to contribute their skills and knowledge to the global economy.
This can be accomplished by focusing on fostering decent job opportunities and educational access to create a more inclusive and sustainable society. By concentrating on these pivotal areas, we can ensure that individuals from all backgrounds are empowered to reach their full potential and contribute to community growth and well-being. Additionally, these efforts will help bridge the social divide and promote social cohesion, resulting in a more harmonious and prosperous society.
In conclusion, the United Nations Sustainable Development’s Goal of the Month underscores the need for concerted efforts in providing economic opportunities and decent work for all amidst the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is essential for governments, businesses, and individuals to collaborate and actively engage in initiatives aligned with the UN’s vision of sustainable economic growth development. Moving forward, we must unite our efforts to not only overcome the hardships caused by the pandemic but also to establish a foundation for a prosperous and inclusive future for every member of society.
What is the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of the Month?
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of the Month for August 2023 emphasizes the importance of fostering inclusive and sustainable economic growth, job creation, and decent work for all. This goal is crucial due to the severe global economic crisis affecting employment rates worldwide.
What is the projected global output and economic growth for 2023?
Projected global output growth for 2023 is expected to decline to 1.9 per cent, setting a new record low in recent times. This reduction in growth directly impacts progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, potentially hindering attempts to alleviate poverty, enhance healthcare, and fight climate change.
Which groups have been hit hardest by unemployment during the pandemic?
Employment prospects have been significantly affected during the pandemic, with women and young people hit hardest. Unemployment remains high, especially for young job seekers in developing countries, worsening pre-existing social and economic inequalities.
What are some factors contributing to the barriers to productive employment and economic growth?
External factors such as climate change, the ongoing effects of the pandemic, and persistent economic uncertainties contribute to the barriers to achieving productive employment and decent work for all. Emerging technologies and automation have also led to shifts in the labor market, requiring young individuals to adapt their skills and capabilities quickly.
How can societies foster a more inclusive and sustainable job market?
Societies can foster a more inclusive and sustainable job market by focusing on creating decent job opportunities, providing educational access, and implementing inclusive strategies and targeted interventions. Cooperation among governments, businesses, civil society, and individuals is vital for building a sustainable and equitable labor market, enabling everyone to contribute to the global economy.
What role do governments, businesses, and individuals play in creating a prosperous and inclusive future?
Governments, businesses, and individuals should collaborate and actively engage in initiatives aligned with the UN’s vision of sustainable development. This includes establishing conducive environments for skill development, entrepreneurship, and job growth, effectively addressing youth employment crises and promoting social cohesion for a harmonious and prosperous society.
First reported on: UN
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