According to António Guterres, the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions aims to rebalance societies by placing decent jobs and social protection at the heart of sustainable development.
“TThe path of inaction leads to economic collapse and climate catastropherising inequalities and escalating social unrest” that “could trap billions in vicious circles of poverty and destitution,” he warned at a high-level meeting during the 77th General Assembly in New York.
countries in the lead
Mr Guterres praised the actions of countries like Togo, which used innovative digital solutions to extend social protection to hard-to-reach populations, and South Africa, which recently launched a partnership for a just energy transition.
“It is imperative that we provide the necessary support – quickly and at scale – to keep alive the momentum and ambition of this and similar initiatives,” he underlined.
He said tThe current economic system is unfair, increasing inequalities and pushing more people into poverty, and therefore requires deep structural reform.
“We’re working hard to get there – but change won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, the Global Accelerator is a critical tool to provide immediate support to those in need and to drive action for transformative change for all,” he said.
The initiative aims to create 400 million new decent jobs – particularly in the green, care and digital economies – and extend social protection to the more than four billion people currently without coverage.
It is also intended to be a tool to help the world deal with the massive changes in areas such as digital, climate or demographic change that will fundamentally transform societies in the coming decades.
youth in focus
Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy for Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake reminded world leaders that young people must be at the heart of all policies and actions related to jobs and social protection.
“The total number of unemployed youth worldwide is estimated at 73 million in 20226 million above pre-pandemic levels in 2019, young women are hit hardest,” she stressed, adding that young people also face systemic legal and financial barriers to benefiting from social protection policies and programs.
“To truly transform this paradigm, we should work with all people, including young people, as agents of change and not just beneficiaries, at every level of just transitions that this initiative seeks to facilitate,” Ms. Wickramanayake said.
Eliminate the bottlenecks
Echoing the Secretary-General’s words, the head of the International Labor Organization, Guy Ryder, warned that the world is on “red alert” if effective responses to the intersecting climate and cost of living crises are not found.
“We will see massive suffering, more instability and possibly more conflict. But it doesn’t have to be,” he said.
Mr Ryder stressed that addressing the current bottlenecks is crucial to scale up and protect the 3,000 social protection and labor market stimulus measures put in place by governments at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are all familiar with these bottlenecks: the lack of scalable, sustainable and socially inclusive financing that supports just transitions; the continuing challenges of informality; the limited fiscal space; and the lack of institutional capacity in many countries,” he added.
© ILO/Sven Torfinn
Better life for billions
This was emphasized by the ILO Director General The Global Accelerator is a UN proposal to “tackle these bottlenecks together”and change the lives of billions for the better.
“The four billion women, men and children without social protection; the two billion workers in the informal economy; and the millions of men and women who risk losing their jobs and income” at levels “not seen in a generation,” he noted.
Mr Ryder stressed that the Global Accelerator is not a distraction from the climate, fuel, food and financial crises, but instead a “critical component” of the global response needed to address them.