#Goal8: #DecentWork and #EconomicGrowth
Updated: Nov 3, 2018
Image credit: CIFOR
There is a common misconception that social development means we must sacrifice economic growth.
The main focus of the Global Goals, however, is to ensure that development is sustainable. This includes economically too.
In fact, this is target 8.1 of the goals: to sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances. To achieve this, target 8.2 references investment in diversification, technological upgrades and innovation as well as through a focus on high-value added and labor-intensive sectors.
We must also promote development-oriented policies which support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalisation and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.
Target 8.4 aims to progressively improve global resource efficiency in consumption and production and to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation. Australia’s coal industry is a perfect example of where we need to focus our attention. Australia ranks fourth in the world as a coal-producing company, producing 413Mt in 2012. It is important to note that the Global Goals specifically reference that it is developed countries who should take the lead on this target.
“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realise that one cannot eat money.”
– Native American proverb
By 2030, Goal 8 also aims to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including young people and persons with disabilities. With a current unemployment rate of 5.8%, we are currently on track to achieve this target.
Goal 8 also references equal pay for work of equal value. The World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report estimates that Australia’s wage equality for similar work ranking is 63rd in the world with a score of 0.66 (1.00 would be pay equality). This is something which needs urgent attention.
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Over the next 5 years, the Global Goals also aim to reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training. In Australia in 2014, approximately 5% of 15 – 19 year olds were not participating in employment, education or training and approximately 12% of people aged 20 – 24 were not participating in employment, education or training.
Target 8.7 of the Global Goals refers to forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking. In a speech in 2008, Elizabeth Broderick, the then Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Commissioner responsible for Age Discrimination, spoke about the reality of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking in Australia.
With unofficial statistics on these issues, it is difficult to work out how much progress we must make over the next 15 years. It is also important to note that children are explicitly mentioned in this target also, with an aim to end child labour in all its forms by 2025.
Unfortunately, some of the main people affected by forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking are migrants, who come to Australia to seek a better life for them and their families. The Global Goals recognise this and aim to protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants and those in precarious employment.
Target 8.9 refers to the devising and implementation of policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products. A fantastic example of this is a travel company my family use quite often, Intrepid Travel. This Australian company gives people the opportunity to explore the world while giving back to the community. Their website boasts that “with great travel comes great responsibility”. Their website details not only their environmental commitment through their achievement of becoming a carbon neutral company but also their economic commitment by hiring local leaders and staff, contributing to local employment. Intrepid uses locally owned ground transportation and accomodation, recommends local eateries and stories, uses local public transport where possible, invests in renewable energy projects and contributes to the communities’ infrastructure. The list of ways Intrepid commit to sustainable tourism is endless and well worth a read!
Image credit: Moyan Brenn
Finally, target 8.10 aims to strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all.
It is important to not only ensure decent work and economic growth is a reality in Australia but also that it becomes a reality in our Indo-Pacific neighbouring countries. This is why we must increase Aid for Trade support for developing countries. It is also necessary that in the next 5 years, we develop and operationalise a global strategy for youth employment and implement the Global Jobs Pact of the International Labour Organisation.
If Australia’s commitment to decent work for all and sustainable economic growth sounds like something with which you would like to become involved, check out “Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth” and head over to our “What Can I Do?” page to see how you can become part of the solution with the Global Goals Australia Campaign!