Decent Work, A Global Imperative

Universal access to decent work opportunities is the most effective way to increase labor-market participation, lift people out of poverty, reduce inequality, and drive economic growth. Until it is placed at the center of policymaking, the political backlash sweeping the world of late will continue.

DAVOS – The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits UN member states to “leave no one behind.” One crucial component of that commitment – encompassed in the International Labor Organization’s own agenda – is decent work for all. At a time when worker frustration and disillusionment is being expressed in elections across the world, this goal could not be more important.

Nowadays, the expectation that each generation will be better off than the previous one, both socially and economically, is no longer automatic. For many, downward mobility has become the new normal.

Little wonder, then, that long-simmering frustration with the way globalization has been handled and resentment at the unfair distribution of its gains have fueled the political backlash sweeping the world of late. This disillusionment arises, at least partly, from people’s own experience of work, whether exclusion from the labor market, poor working conditions, or low wages.

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