Global Goal 1 seeks to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030. This is a multifaceted and very ambitious task that will demand a joint effort from the global community. A determining factor in the success of this quest is setting the conditions for sustainable economic growth.
Currently, 2.2 billion people live on less than $2 a day, and roughly half the world’s population lives on precisely that amount. Moreover, about 202 million were unemployed in 2012, with 75 million being young men and women. It is also expected that the global community will need to create 470 million jobs in order to meet the needs of new entrants to the job market between 2016 and 2030. The numbers are big, even without taking into account the number of people who are employed but do not make enough to stay above the poverty line (UN, 2015)
Lifting all people out of poverty is a herculean mission, however, its solution is quite obvious. To end poverty, the global community must give those living below the poverty line the tools to fend for themselves. Sustainable economic growth encompasses creating quality jobs and opportunities, as well as decent working conditions, for all working-age people. The aim of this is stimulating the economy in a responsible way, so as not to deplete the available resources or damage the environment.
Sustainable economic growth is goal #8 on the Agenda for Sustainable Development. Let’s see what it’s about:
GLOBAL GOAL 8: PROMOTE SUSTAINED, INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH, FULL AND PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT AND DECENT WORK FOR ALL
- Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7% 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 labor-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 endeavor to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programs on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead.
- By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training.
- Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025, end child labor in all its forms.
- Protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, I particular women migrants and those in precarious employment.
- 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.
Sustainable economic growth, as described above, is set to be accomplished by following these two guidelines:
- 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 Labor Organization.
One of the basic social contracts in democratic societies is that all must share in progress (UN, 2016) and it is being broken all across the globe. All countries need to secure sustainable economic growth in order to provide stable, well-paid jobs for all working-age people so poverty can truly be ended.