Poverty goal of 2030 Agenda at risk with­out de­cent work

The African - - NEWS - BY SIDI MGUMIA

With­out fur­ther progress in cre­at­ing qual­ity jobs, the goal of end­ing poverty by 2030 will not be achieved. Con­tin­u­a­tion of the un­even and frag­ile progress in re­duc­ing poverty may com­pro­mise the achieve­ment of the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Na­tions in Septem­ber 2015, in­clud­ing both SDG 1 to end poverty in all its forms and every­where by 2030 and many of the other SDGs.

That is ac­cord­ing to the new In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ILO) Re­port ti­tled World Em­ploy­ment and So­cial Out­look 2016. The re­port shows that the poor may com­pletely miss out on the tech­no­log­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion which is trans­form­ing to­day’s economies and so­ci­eties.

Al­though they rep­re­sent 30 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion, the poor re­ceive less than two (2) per­cent of the world’s in­come. So, un­less ac­tion is taken, poverty will tend to per­pet­u­ate it­self across gen­er­a­tions.

The find­ings show that this may ex­ac­er­bate so­cioe­co­nomic in­sta­bil­ity and erode sup­port for pro-growth poli­cies.

A key find­ing of the study is that it will not be pos­si­ble to re­duce poverty in a last­ing man­ner with­out de­cent work. In other words, de­cent work is a nec­es­sary con­di­tion for erad­i­cat­ing poverty.

ILO es­ti­mates that nearly $10 tril­lion is needed to erad­i­cate ex­treme and mod­er­ate poverty by 2030. How­ever, this can­not re­al­is­ti­cally be achieved by in­come trans­fers alone.

Guy Ry­der the ILO Direc­torGen­eral said there is need to im­ple­ment the foun­da­tions of a rights-based ap­proach to poverty re­duc­tion. This en­tails the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of those in­ter­na­tional labour stan­dards which are most rel­e­vant to poverty al­le­vi­a­tion.

More­over, the ex­ten­sion of labour, so­cial and other reg­u­la­tion in or­der to achieve the broad­est cov­er­age pos­si­ble pro­vides a means of max­i­miz­ing the poverty-re­duc­ing ef­fects of stan­dards.

“Eco­nomic growth should be broad-based. This can be fa­cil­i­tated by poli­cies that sup­port tran­si­tions into for­mal en­ter­prises and de­cent jobs. In this re­gard, it is im­por­tant to cre­ate an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for sus­tain­able en­ter­prises, no­tably small and medium-sized en­ter­prises, which are the main en­gine for job cre­ation and thus the con­duit for last­ing poverty re­duc­tion,” he said

Fur­ther­more, the re­port stated that the so­lu­tion re­quires more than sim­ply the avail­abil­ity of re­sources.

Al­most one-third of the ex­treme and mod­er­ate poor in emerg­ing and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries ac­tu­ally have a job. How­ever, these jobs are vul­ner­a­ble in na­ture: they are some­times un­paid, con­cen­trated in low-skilled oc­cu­pa­tions and in the ab­sence of so­cial pro­tec­tion, the poor rely al­most ex­clu­sively on labour in­come.

Ry­der said that can be achieved by pro­mot­ing sound busi­ness reg­u­la­tion, in­tro­duc­ing more ef­fec­tive and eq­ui­table tax regimes and im­ple­ment­ing ef­fi­cient busi­ness reg­is­tra­tion. The ru­ral econ­omy also rep­re­sents sub­stan­tial un­tapped po­ten­tial that duly rec­og­nized and de­vel­oped through de­cent work, can make an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to poverty al­le­vi­a­tion.

“Care­fully de­signed em­ploy­ment and in­come poli­cies are nec­es­sary to sup­port in­di­vid­u­als and to help broaden the pro­duc­tive base by rais­ing skill lev­els, boost­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in the labour mar­ket and fa­cil­i­tat­ing tran­si­tions into for­mal em­ploy­ment,” he in­sisted.

“As im­per­a­tive as it is to en­able em­ploy­ers to cre­ate jobs in new sec­tors, work­ers also need to be equipped with the tools nec­es­sary to take up these jobs. At the same time, the role of so­cial pro­tec­tion is cen­tral within each of these pol­icy ar­eas and is par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant in al­le­vi­at­ing poverty among those who are not able to work or are not of work­ing age,” he said.

In ad­di­tion, two-thirds of the jobs are in typ­i­cally low-pro­duc­tiv­ity agri­cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties.

Among de­vel­oped coun­tries, a greater num­ber of work­ers have wage and salaried em­ploy­ment, but that does not pre­vent them from fall­ing into poverty. In fact, more than 80 per­cent of the work­ing poor in de­vel­oped coun­tries are in wage and salaried em­ploy­ment.

Gen­er­ally, with­out an ad­e­quate sup­ply of de­cent work op­por­tu­ni­ties, it will be dif­fi­cult for the work­ing poor to im­prove their work­ing con­di­tions, ac­quire a ca­reer and thus lift them­selves and their fam­i­lies out of poverty.

“This calls for re­newed ef­forts to im­prove the tax base which can be sup­ported through the cre­ation of de­cent jobs. The fight against tax eva­sion and ex­ces­sive in­come in­equal­i­ties must also be seen in that light. In­deed, the rich have a cer­tain re­spon­si­bil­ity in ad­dress­ing the sit­u­a­tion fac­ing the poor,” said Ry­der

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