How Millennials can help achieve the 8th Sustainable Development Goal
The purpose of Goal 8 is to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. And it could be stated that it is a direct consequence of the first SDG, No poverty; in fact, the only way we can eradicate poverty is through stable and well-paid employment.
Unfortunately, 2.2 billion people still live below the $2 poverty line and, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), more than 204 million people were unemployed as of 2015, of which about 75 million were young men and women. In order to have new entrants, it has been shown that the labour market will need 470 million more jobs globally, between 2016 and 2030. But this still won’t be enough. Besides creating new jobs, we will also have to improve economic conditions for those men and women who are not earning enough to be able to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Also, women and girls will need to have equal work possibilities to men and boys’.
Productive employment and decent work are key elements to achieve poverty reduction. Societies’ economic growth heavily depends on people’s productivity: without it, societies become stagnant. Therefore, it’s very important for governments to build dynamic, sustainable and people-centered economies, promoting youth employment, women’s economic empowerment and decent work for all. Also, local authorities and communities can renew their cities in order to promote and stimulate innovation and employment.
Talking about youth, specifically, the current employment situation is very critical, as they represent the category with the highest unemployment rate in the labour market. Two common barriers to youth employment today are the lack of relevant skills and the absence of access to appropriate financial services for entrepreneurs. It’s only through a high-quality education that youth can enhance their employability and stimulate entrepreneurial activity.
To this regard, there are things that you yourself can do to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth for all. For example:
- You may engage with experts and invite them to give a lesson or workshop in your school/university. Furthermore, you may organize events in your learning environment where partecipans can share their knowledge about economic growth, employment opportunities and sustainable development in the working environment.
- You can organize job fairs and workshops to give advice on how to be more competitive on the job market.
- Only buy from companies that use sustainable materials and treat workers fairly.
- Speak up if you know about injustices happening in you workplace or elsewhere.
- You can get involved with the “Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth”, launched by the UN Economic and Social Council on February 1, 2016 (http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_447516/lang--en/index.htm).
- You can join AIESEC, an organization developing programs that aim at developing leadership skills on multiple levels (https://aiesec.org/).
So, stop thinking that economic growth is bigger than yourself and anything you could ever do, because it’s not. We’re all small parts of the same big puzzle and every action matters. Therefore, take on some, or even just one, of these tips and help make a change towards a better future. And if you are already actively involved with Goal 8, join our competition here: https://goo.gl/5LUfP2 .
Cover cartoon credit: Sergio Algeri/GYV