Now closed: e-discussion on Jobs and Livelihoods
We are delighted to welcome you to this online discussion on setting jobs and livelihoods at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda, taking place from 11 January to 7 February 2013. To participate, please review the discussion questions below and post your response in the comments box below. Comments are welcome in any of the languages supported by Google Translate.
As the process of shaping the post-2015 development framework gains momentum, and more lessons from experience with the MDGs are digested and assimilated, the topic of employment is coming into prominence.
The global economic crisis has demonstrated that people can be lifted out of poverty through aid and social transfers, but they remain vulnerable and their working lives precarious unless they have access to opportunities for employment and livelihoods with rising incomes, a social protection floor, dignity and respect. In both developing and developed countries, jobs have become a main priority, stimulating innovative approaches and new thinking. Contributions from the ILO and the UN, as well as the IMF and the World Bank, have underlined the critical role of jobs as a catalyst for development, while country experiences show that employment-friendly policies have a lasting impact and can make a difference. Growth alone does not automatically deliver the quantity or quality of jobs that are needed for sustainable development. The challenge remains of how to concretely articulate an “ambitious and realistic” job agenda within a new global framework that fits the development challenges of the coming decades.
This is the first in a series of four e-discussions around the topic of growth and employment in the post-2015 development agenda. The other three will start in the following weeks, looking respectively at growth, diversification and structural transformation; development-led globalization; and environmentally sustainable growth. The recommendations emerging from all those contributions will be incorporated into a report to the UN Secretary-General.
To kick off the conversation, we invite you to respond to one or more of the following questions:
- While job creation in general is a priority, the issue of jobs for certain groups like women and youth appear to have assumed greater urgency. What kind of strategies and policies would you suggest for addressing such group-specific challenges?
- Most jobs will be generated by the private sector, especially small and micro enterprises. What policies can best stimulate entrepreneurial dynamism and connect increased productivity to improving employment conditions?
- Although targets are often articulated in terms of numbers, it is the quality of jobs that makes most difference for development and poverty reduction. Most people in developing countries have a job – either as a wage-earner or as self-employed – but despite often working long and hard they still remain stuck in poverty. The ILO has developed the notion of “Decent Work” to underline both the income and the non-material aspects – such as dignity and voice – that jobs contribute to the well-being of individuals and society. In your view, what policies and institutions are likely to help upgrade the quality of jobs? Are there distinctive approaches that can help labour markets in developing countries get out of informality? How can we best promote fairness and equal opportunity and safeguard human rights, including workers’ rights?
- In addition to jobs, social protection is essential to provide protection to workers and their families, especially in the face of external shocks like the global economic crisis. What should be done to operationalize the idea of basic social protection floors at the country level?
In responding to those questions, we invite you to think of the situation in your community or your country; to be practical – what works best and why; and to think long-term – what is the situation now and what is the outlook for the next 5 to 10 years?
We are not starting from scratch. We already had a first attempt at discussing some of those issues at two events held in Tokyo in May 2012 (http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/298058) and in New York in December 2012 (http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/295360). The outcomes of those meetings, together with a short concept note prepared by the ILO (http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/media-centre/statements-and-speeches/WCMS_193483/lang--en/index.htm) can provide you with background on where we stand.
We trust that this global discussion will contribute additional insights and useful suggestions, raise new issues and help us move forward. We look forward to hearing from you.
Rizwanul Islam and Aurelio Parisotto