1748 The importance of workers’ health to advance the united nations sustainable development agenda

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Abstract

Introduction

The 2030 Agenda embraces the three dimensions of sustainability – economic, social and environmental. It was adopted by world leaders at the United Nations in September 2015. The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development puts people and planet at its centre and gives the international community the impetus it needs to work together to tackle the formidable challenges confronting humanity, including those in the world of work and for improved health for all.

Discussion

WHO has recognised that addressing social determinants of health – the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life- are key for the creation of health; employment conditions are essential in this context.

Discussion

When examining the situation and role of workers´ health in the SDGs, we see that over the last years limited progress has been made; The latest ILO figures show that work-related fatal injuries and diseases have increased from 2.3 million to 2.78 million per year, increasing the global cost of the failure to adequately address occupational safety and health concerns to an estimated 3.94% of global GDP per year, or 2.99 trillion US dollars. Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day, and in many places, having a job does not guarantee the ability to escape from poverty. This slow and uneven progress requires us to rethink and retool our economic and social policies aimed at eradicating poverty.

Discussion

The 2030 agenda seeks to reduce poverty and to increasing equity. Some specific SDG objectives are achieving Universal Health Coverage (still only 15% of workers worldwide have access to specialised occupational health services) and achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men.

Discussion

These are very ambitious goals; but they are essential and they are feasible. But in order to meet those goals, the world needs to focus on people, by implementing public policies that improve employment conditions and health of workers, through a very close coordination among government agencies responsible for health, labour, social security and economic development, together with employers and workers´ organisations.

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