Aims to “Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all”.
Let's learn a little more about SDG 8.
Work gives our life meaning, by enabling us to contribute to the socio-economic goals of the society. Sustained and inclusive economic growth can drive progress, create decent jobs for all and improve living standards. Even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, one in five countries – home to billions of people living in poverty – were likely to see per capita incomes decline in 2020. Now, the economic and financial shocks associated with the pandemic—such as disruptions to industrial production, financial market volatility, and rising insecurity—are derailing the already tepid economic growth and compounding heightened risks from other factors.
(Ref: UN website)
President Ikeda shares in the 2013 Peace Proposal: “Economic deprivation makes virtually all the events of daily life into potential sources of distress. This is compounded when people feel that their very existence is disregarded, that they are alienated and deprived of a meaningful role and place within society.” He further elaborates: “This is why in recent years, in addition to economic measures to deal with the problem of poverty, there has been a growing emphasis on the need for a socially inclusive approach focused on the restoration of a sense of connection with others and of purpose in life.”
To achieve SDG 8, we need to envision and work towards a “win-win world”. Referring to the views of the first Soka Gakkai President - Mr. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, President Ikeda emphasises in the 2009 Peace Proposal against the backdrop of the then global financial crisis on the need to make humanitarian competition the guiding principle of the new era - that is creating a world not based on egotistical pursuits, but also on improving the lives of others while improving one’s own life.
Decent work means opportunities for everyone to get work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration. A continued lack of decent work opportunities, insufficient investments and under-consumption lead to an erosion of the basic social contract underlying democratic societies: that all must share in progress.
Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda once said: “There are three standards for selecting a job: the three values of beauty, benefit and good. Everyone's ideal is to get a job they like (beauty), that is materially rewarding (benefit), and where you can contribute to society (good).”
The global unemployment rate in 2017 was 5.6 percent, down from 6.4 percent in 2000.
However, the pandemic has led to a devastating impact on global unemployment. The global economy has been affected gravely since the start of the pandemic, despite best efforts by various countries and corporations.
In fact, even before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the average growth of the global economy had already slowed. The pandemic has caused the worst global economic recession since the Great Depression and has had a massive impact on working times and incomes. (UN)
In 2020, 8.8 percent of global working hours were lost compared to the figure for the fourth quarter of 2019, which is equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs and approximately four times greater than the hours lost during the global financial crisis in 2009.
Young people and women in the workforce were hit particularly hard by the crisis in the labour market. The global economy is slowly recovering, although activity may remain below pre-pandemic levels for a prolonged period.
Following average growth of about 2 percent from 2014 to 2018, global real GDP per capita increased by only 1.3 percent in 2019 and is estimated to have declined by 5.3 percent in 2020 owing to the pandemic. Global real GDP per capita is projected to increase again by 3.6 percent in 2021 and 2.6 percent in 2022.
The real GDP of the least developed countries increased by 4.8 percent in 2019 and is estimated to have fallen by 1.3 percent in 2020 because of the disruption caused by the pandemic.
In his 2017 Peace Proposal, Daisaku Ikeda shares - “Work is of course a crucial means of sustaining one's livelihood; at the same time, it gives meaning to life and is an endeavour to inscribe positive proof of one's existence in society. Former Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation Dr. Stuart Rees, with whom I have recently published a dialogue, maintains that securing employment is an imperative in realizing social justice. In our dialogue, he shared his conviction that as a growing number of people are losing work, they are "being denied the profound human sense of self-worth that comes from work; either in the sense of earning one's keep, having the satisfaction of achieving something, or making a contribution to society."” He further stated that this represents a fundamental threat to human dignity.
Thus, as we begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that those who have experienced economic deprivation are not left isolated or forgotten.Ikeda further highlights in the 2021 Peace Proposal: “The irrepressible desire to do what one can to help even one person, the awareness of and concern for others, the wholehearted action taken on their behalf that arises from living in the same community... I am confident such awareness and action, sustained and repeated despite differences of nationality or circumstance, can cultivate the soil from which resilience arises and grows.”
Globally, 61 percent of all workers were engaged in informal employment in 2016. Excluding the agricultural sector, 51 percent of all workers fell into this employment category.
Men earn 12.5 percent more than women in 40 out of 45 countries with data.
The global gender pay gap stands at 23 percent globally and without decisive action, it will take another 68 years to achieve equal pay. Women’s labour force participation rate is 63 percent while that of men is 94 percent.
Despite their increasing presence in public life, women continue to do 2.6 times the unpaid care and domestic work that men do.
Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 percent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries.
Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high value added and labour-intensive sectors.
Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services.
Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead.
By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.
By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training.
Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.
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.
By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.
Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all.
Increase Aid for Trade support for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, including through the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries.
By 2020, develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the Global Jobs Pact of the International Labour Organization.
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