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ImpactWater & Sanitation

Sweden’s New Global Deal Will Boost Employment and the SDGs

As the first self-described “feminist government,” Sweden offers a solution to ensure decent work opportunities and better jobs, while improving the global economy at the same time.

On Sept. 21, the Prime Minister of Sweden, Mr. Stefan Löfven launched the Global Deal initiative, along with support from the International Labour Organization and OECD, at the United Nations in New York.

Prime Minister Löfven’s Global Deal aims to secure decent work opportunities and better jobs for people all around the world. He believes this is a necessary step to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the ultimate goal — eradicating extreme poverty.

In many countries around the world, workers are denied basic human rights. Women and children are forced to work in inhumane conditions and work-related illnesses and even deaths are far from uncommon. Inequality is still largely prevalent between employment opportunities and financial remuneration for men and women. These growing inequalities between gender, age, race, religion and more, fuels social unrest, and as a result can significantly impede economic growth.

The Global Deal initiative supports the idea that decent work opportunities and better jobs will promote equality and foster an inclusive economy - benefiting workers, companies and the society in which they live. As a result, an improvement in the global labour market and economical stability will ensue, lifting millions of people out of poverty.

Prime Minister Löfven’s Global Deal initiative envisions job security and decent work opportunities for everyone. The initiative will highlight the positive effects of globalization, and the important role that social dialogue between governments, businesses, unions, employers and workers, on issues relating to economic and social policy plays in the fight against extreme poverty. The free exchange of information and ideas between employers workers and governments would improve employment prospects, inclusive growth and enhance economic stability simultaneously.  

In the past Sweden has championed WASH. It’s 2015 commitment, announced by the minister for International Development Cooperation Isabella Lovin, to provide 60 million people with sanitation by 2030 is remarkable. This year, following tens of thousands of Global Citizens calling on the Swedish government to stick to its word and deliver on its 2015 commitment, Sweden announced that it will increase its ambition to reach its target of providing 60 million people with improved sanitation by 2030. Additionally, Sweden will restore cuts to its aid program that were initially redirected towards asylum seeker costs.

Taking on an additional SDG doesn't mean Sweden is leaving WASH issues behind. Water and sanitation is intricately linked across the SDGs and will bolster Sweden’s efforts to secure decent work opportunities and better jobs. For example, access to safe water in the workplace will reduce water-borne illnesses, increasing staff productivity and decreasing absentee days. Access to private and adequate sanitary facilities will provide women with a place to handle their menstruation in a dignified and sanitary manner. Therefore, in order to provide decent work opportunities and better jobs, adequate WASH in the workplace is a necessity.

With a view to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, take a look at the Global Deal to see how globalization can help end extreme poverty!