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Business, Labour & Employment

People-Centred Agenda To Dominate 71st UN General Assembly

71st UN General Assembly
Posted: Sep 20, 2016 at 1:37 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Sylvester Enoghase.

LAGOS – As the fall of the gavel at the UN this week marks the end of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, the new session will look closely at what the international community has done and will do to make the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) a reality.

During the high-level segment of the General Assembly’s 71st session, world leaders will debate international responses to many of the global challenges of today, including economic growth and sustainable development, extreme poverty and hunger, the refugee crisis and climate change.

The newly elected President of the General Assembly, Ambassador Peter Thomson of Fiji, will have the task of marshalling the work and energies of the UN’s 193 Member States to enhance commitment to this new vision for development at the highest levels.

“The 71st session must be the year we witness the wheels turning on the implementation of all 17 SDGs,” said Ambassador Thompson as he took the oath of office.

The new session, with the theme of ‘The Sustainable Development Goals: A Universal Push to Transform our World’, will begin with two weeks of high-level statements and meetings as well as featuring hundreds of events, panel discussions and gatherings from a wide range of stakeholders.

The start of President’s Week at the UN will kick-off with a historic Heads of State and Government level Summit on Refugees and Migrants addressing the large movements of refugees and migrants to establish a blueprint to improve international responses.

This is a watershed moment that will seek to strengthen the governance of international migration and provide a unique opportunity for creating a more responsible, predictable system for responding to large movements of refugees and migrants.

To complement this event, President Obama is hosting a Leader’s Summit on Refugees, which will provide a forum for governments to pledge new commitments to address the plight of refugees. The on-going Syrian conflict and the refugee crisis caused by it will be among the priorities of the discussion at the summit.

In total, migrants make up more than three per cent of the world’s population, and are among the most vulnerable groups of people. The Secretary General’s report on large movements of refugees and migrants submitted in May 2016 will be discussed during this summit.

For its part, the International Labour Organization (ILO) will highlight the increasing importance of work and employment related issues and how, through partnerships we can achieve success in pursuing the ambitious development agenda.

The ILO will work with member States on topics such as inclusive and sustainable economic growth, forced and child labour, labour migration, social dialogue for the improvement of modern workplace relations, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

The decent work agenda, a vital contribution of the ILO to the work of the international community, is a set of important policy prescriptions to assist governments and the UN system to help create quality employment and improve working conditions for millions of workers. The pursuit and achievement of decent work can have a pervasive and important impact on other key goals of the SDGs such as poverty reduction, better health and education outcomes, women’s empowerment, peaceful and inclusive societies, sustainable cities, managing natural resources and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Faced with the challenge to create an estimated 600 million new jobs by 2030 just to keep pace with the growth of the global working age population, the ILO will engage with government, workers and employers’ organizations, the UN system, civil society, foundations and think-tanks to find innovative solutions.

The ILO will also be launching a unique global partnership, entitled Alliance 8.7, to build political will and push for effective measures to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour.

On 21 September the ILO will be joining forces with the Ford Foundation and other government, private sector and civil society actors to launch this multi-stakeholder initiative to achieve target 8.7 of the SDGs. The Alliance is designed to galvanize political support and strengthen multi-stakeholder action towards the world without forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour.

The ILO, in collaboration with the World Bank, will highlight the vitally important contribution universal social protection can make to economic and social development and demonstrate how it can be key to ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity. The launch of the Global Partnership for Universal Social Protection will take place on 21 September and will present lessons learned from the twenty countries who have achieved universal social protection coverage.

Other important events that the ILO is directly involved with on the side-lines of the UNGA include dialogues on The Global Deal and the Future of Work. These events will enhance understanding on the impacts of emerging trends in the world of work and challenges faced by the global labour market. The ILO’s presence will provide a practical dimension to events will tackle issues in terms of ensuring well-functioning labour market globally.

The seventy-first UNGA session will be crucial in ensuring that real progress is underway on the SDGs. The ILO’s efforts are central to make sure that decent work agenda remains high on international agenda and contributes to the significant progress on all 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda. This session will also be the last under Ban Ki Moon’s mandate, and it is hoped that it will prove to be instrumental in creating the world we envision by 2030.