Sustainable Development Goals
DIGITAL REVOLUTION AND THE FUTURE OF JOBS
SDG # 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
Over the past 25 years, the number of workers living in extreme poverty has declined substantially, even with the residual impact of the 2008 economic crisis. However, as the global economy adjusts to slower growth, widening inequality, automation fears, a productivity gap between low-income and middle-income countries and a lack of decent jobs present new challenges. In 2018, an estimated 172 million people worldwide were without work, a number projected to increase by 1 million every year as a result of an expanding global labor force.
Looking ahead, the future of work offers unprecedented opportunities and significant challenges. Automation, robotization and digitization are creating new jobs as old ones become obsolete. Simultaneously, technologies are transforming the division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms. As traditional jobs are increasingly disrupted, how can we help work forces find a source of meaning and income in emerging occupations?
How might we provide decent work opportunities for all while eradicating forced labor, human trafficking and child labor, promoting labor rights and safe and secure working environments?
SDG # 1 - No Poverty
Rapid growth in countries such as China and India have lifted millions out of poverty. Nevertheless, progress is not evenly distributed and eradicating poverty in all its forms remains a forefront challenge facing humanity. The number of people living in extreme poverty was cut nearly in half from 1990 to 2015; however, there are still too many struggling to meet basic human needs such as food, clean drinking water and sanitation. As of 2015, 736 million people lived on less than US$1.90 a day, Women are especially vulnerable as they tend to have less paid work, education, and property. In regions such as South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, which account for 80% of those living in extreme poverty, people are facing new threats from climate change, conflict and food insecurity. These new dimensions call for more action to end poverty in all forms by 2030, in particular to increase basic resources and services for the most vulnerable, supporting communities facing conflict and climate-related disasters.
SDG # 3 - Good Health and Well-Being
Major progress has been made in improving the health of millions of people, increasing life expectancy, reducing maternal and child mortality and fighting against leading diseases. However, progress has stalled or is not fast enough to address major diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, while at least half of the world population does not have access to essential health services, causing many of whom that already suffer undue financial hardship risk further indebtment and poverty. Further improvements are therefore urgently needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and address various persistent and emerging health issues ranging from clean fuel use during cooking to education on the risks of tobacco and alcohol. Other challenges include providing more efficient funding of health systems, achieving universal health coverage and sustainable financing for health, improving sanitation and hygiene, increasing access to physicians, reducing pollution in all its forms, and tackling the growing burden of antimicrobial resistance and non-communicable diseases including mental health. In light of these multifaceted challenges, how can we better ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages?
SDG # 7 – Sustainable Energy for all
Energy is central to virtually every challenge and opportunity the world faces today – from jobs to security, climate change, food production and health. From 2010 to 2017, the global electrification rate rose from 83 percent to 89 percent, with significant gains in energy efficiency and renewables. Nevertheless, an estimated 840 million people lack access to electricity. From 2010 to 2015, global primary energy intensity, the ratio of energy used per unit of GDP, improved from 5.9 to 5.1; however, it remains well short of the 2.7 percent annual rate envisioned in SDG7. More efforts are needed to expand access to clean fuel and technology, and more progress needs to be made to integrate renewables into end-use application in buildings, heating, transport and industry. Green financing from public and private investors also need to be increased with a marked focus on regulatory frameworks and innovative business models to transform the world’s energy systems. Given this variety of challenges, how can we reduce our carbon footprint while satisfying the growing need for energy?
SDG # 4 - Quality Education
Access to quality education is a foundation of improving the quality of life and the well-being of a community, and it can equip people with the tools required to develop innovative solutions to the world’s greatest problems. In the past decade, major progress has been made towards increasing access to education at all levels, increasing school enrollment rates, in particular for women and girls, and improving basic literacy skills. Nevertheless, over 265 million children are currently out of school, 22% of which are at primary school age. Even those that attend schools often lack basic skills in reading and math. Progress has also been unevenly distributed. While the world as a whole has achieved quality in primary education between girls and boys, few countries have achieved that target at all levels of education. More ambitious efforts are needed to make inclusive access to quality access a reality for all. Challenges include addressing the lack of adequately trained teachers, improving the conditions of schools and providing equitable access in rural areas. Investment is also needed to provide educational scholarships for impoverished families, teacher training workshops, school building and improvement of water and electricity utilities in schools.