Sustainable Development Goal 8
|Sustainable Development Goal 8|
|Mission statement||"Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all"|
|Type of project||Non-Profit|
|Owner||Supported by United Nation & Owned by community|
Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8 or Global Goal 8) is about "decent work and economic growth" and is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals which were established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The full title is to: "Foster sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all." Progress towards targets will be measured, monitored and evaluated by 17 indicators.
SDG 8 has twelve targets in total to be achieved by 2030. Some targets are for 2030; others are for 2020. The first ten are "outcome targets". These are: sustainable economic growth; diversify, innovate and upgrade for economic productivity; promote policies to support job creation and growing enterprises; improve resource efficiency in consumption and production; full employment and decent work with equal pay; promote youth employment, education and training; end modern slavery, trafficking, and child labour; protect labour rights and promote safe working environments; promote beneficial and sustainable tourism; universal access to banking, insurance and financial services. In addition there are also two targets for "means of achieving": Increase aid for trade support; develop a global youth employment strategy.
This goal aims at ensuring the economic sector of every country provides the necessary need for its citizen to have a good life irrespective of their background, race or culture. Roughly half the world's population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day. Besides, in too many places, having a job does not guarantee the ability to escape from poverty. This slow and uneven progress requires everyone to rethink and retool the economic and social policies aimed at eradicating poverty.
For the least developed countries, the economic target is to attain at least a 7 percent annual growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2018, the global growth rate of real GDP per capita was 2 per cent. In addition, the rate for least developed countries was 4.5 per cent in 2018 and 4.8 per cent in 2019, less than the 7 per cent growth rate targeted in SDG 8. The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing the world into the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression.
For close to three decades, the number of workers living in extreme poverty has reduced drastically. This is despite the lasting impact of the 2008 economic crisis and global recession. In developing countries, 34 per cent of total employments were for the middle class, a number that has increased rapidly between 1991 and 2015. In spite of that, the global economy continues to recover; the world is seeing slower growth, inequalities widened, and low level of jobs opportunity that is not commensurate of the labour force.
SDG 8 aims at fostering sustainable and equitable economic growth for all workers, irrespective of their background, race or gender. This means achieving “higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors.”
Targets, indicators and progress
The UN has defined 12 Targets and 17 Indicators for SDG 8. The 12 Targets specify the goals and Indicators represent the metrics by which the world aims to track whether these targets are achieved by using the years stated and documented for the indicators actualisation. Two of the indicators are to be achieved by the year 2020, one by the year 2025, and the remaining fourteen indicators are to be achieved by 2030, which sums it up to seventeen. Each of the 17 Indicators is used to measure the progress and the success of the decent work and global economic growth for all.
Target 8.1: Sustainable economic growth
The full title of Target 8.1 is: "Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 per cent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries".
Achieving higher productivity will require diversification and upgraded technology along with innovation, entrepreneurship, and the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Over the past five years, economic growth in least developed countries has been increasing at an average rate of 4.3 per cent. In 2018, the global growth rate of real GDP per capita was 2 per cent. In addition, the rate for least developed countries was 4.5 per cent in 2018 and 4.8 per cent in 2019, less than the 7 per cent growth rate targeted in SDG 8. The COVID-19 pandemic is pushing the world into the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Target 8.2: Diversify, innovate and upgrade for economic productivity
The official wording for Target 8.2 is: "Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors."
Target 8.3: Promote policies to support job creation and growing enterprises
Jobs that fall under the Informal employment in non-agricultural employment include; unregistered and/or small-scale private unincorporated enterprises engaged in the production of goods or services meant for sale or barter, self-employed street vendors, taxi drivers and home-base workers, irrespective of size.
In 2016, 61 per cent of workers were involved in informal employment. In the same year, while informal employment in agricultural sector was 94 per cent, it was 51 per cent in non agricultural sector. However, the income of workers in informal employment is estimated to have decreased by 60 per cent in the first month of COVID-19 crisis globally and about 81 per cent in certain other regions 
In 2018, the number of women engaged in the labour force was put at 48 per cent while that of men was 75 per cent. Also, it is recorded that 85 million women compared to 55 million men are underutilized.
Target 8.4: Improve resource efficiency in consumption and production.
The official title of Target 8.4 is: "Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10‑Year Framework of Programs on Sustainable Consumption and Production, with developed countries taking the lead."
It has two indicators:
- Indicator 8.4.1: Material footprint, material footprint per capita, and material footprint per GDP
- Indicator 8.4.2: Domestic material consumption, domestic material consumption per capita, and domestic material consumption per GDP
The total material footprint is the sum of the material footprint for biomass, fossil fuels, metal ores and non-metal ores. Data on material footprints are outdated and unavailable after the year 2010.
Target 8.5: Full employment and decent work with equal pay
The full title for Target 8.5 is: "By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value".
Target 8.5 has two indicators:
- Indicator 8.5.1: Average hourly earnings of female and male employees, by occupation, age and persons with disabilities
- Indicator 8.5.2: Unemployment rate, by sex, age and persons with disabilities
Average earnings are reported for male and female employees, but not available across countries for further breakdowns. Data on average hourly earnings cast light on income inequality. In 2017, a factor-weighted gender pay gap of 19 per cent was determined. The unemployment rate is available for the total population, in addition to breakdown by sex.
Fewer than 45 per cent of wage and salaried workers are employed on a full-time, permanent basis, and even that share is declining. Again, 204 million people are unemployed in 2015. By 2019, more than 212 million people will be out of work, up from the current 201 million.
Target 8.6: Promote youth employment, education and training
The full title for Target 8.6 is: "By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training". Unlike most SDG targets set for the year 2030, this is set to be achieved by 2020.
In 2019, 22 per cent of the world's young people were not in employment, education or training, a figure that has hardly changed since 2005. Addressing youth employment means finding solutions with and for young people who are seeking a decent and productive job. Such solutions should address both supply, i.e. education, skills development and training, and demand.
Target 8.7: End modern slavery, trafficking, and child labour
The full title for Target 8.7 is "Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms".
There is one indicator: Indicator 8.7.1 is the "Proportion and number of children aged 5–17 years engaged in child labour, by sex and age".
Target 8.8: Protect labour rights and promote safe working environments
The full title of the Target 8.8 is: "Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment".
It has two indicators:
- Indicator 8.8.1: Frequency rates of fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries, by sex and migrant status
- Indicator 8.8.2: Level of national compliance with labour rights (freedom of association and collective bargaining) based on International Labour Organization (ILO) textual sources and national legislation, by sex and migrant status
Substandard working conditions are often related to poverty, inequality and discrimination. In many contexts, certain groups – such as workers with disabilities, women workers, youth, and migrants, among others – face particular obstacles in accessing decent work and may be especially vulnerable to abuses.
Target 8.9: Promote beneficial and sustainable tourism
It has to indicators:
- Indicator 8.9.1: Tourism direct GDP as a proportion of total GDP and in growth rate
- Indicator 8.9.2: The proportion of jobs in sustainable tourism industries out of total tourism jobs
A proposal has been tabled in 2020 to delete Indicator 8.9.2.
Every country will be able to generate income as it aims at improving its tourist attraction.
Target 8.10: Universal access to banking, insurance and financial services
The official text for Target 8.10 is: "Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all".
Target 8.10 has two indicators:
- Indicator 8.10.1: Number of commercial bank branches per 100,000 adults and (b) number of automated teller machines (ATMs) per 100,000 adults
- Indicator 8.10.2: Proportion of adults (15 years and older) with an account at a bank or other financial institution or with a mobile-money-service provider
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has reduced the growth of every economy in the world, including every sector like banking, insurance and services. Other sectors such as tourism, are also facing challenges and the GDP per capita is expected to drop by 4.2% this period.
On the bright side, in over 130 countries, the digital cash transfer programs, mobile transactions policies and regulations have been improved during the pandemic. The need for people to get quick cash and also make cashless transactions - while still maintaining social distancing - prompted this response. The concern now is that these changes lay the foundation for stronger financial structures that would be proficient enough to serve all.
Target 8.a: Increase aid for trade support
The official wording for Target 8.a "Increase Aid for Trade support for developing countries, in particular, least developed countries, including through the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries."
It has one indicator. Indicator 8.a.1 is the "Aid for Trade commitments and disbursements".
The indicator 8.a.1 is measured as total Official Development Assistance (ODA) allocated to aid for trade in 2015 US$.
Strengthening domestic financial institutions and increasing Aid for Trade support for developing countries is considered essential to economic development. The Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to least developed countries is mentioned as a method for achieving sustainable economic development.
In 2018, aid for trade commitments remained stable, at $58 billion, based on current prices. South and Central Asia received the highest share thereof (31.4 per cent), followed by sub-Saharan Africa (29.2 per cent). Lower-middle-income countries received 37.5 per cent of aid for trade, followed by least developed countries (36.8 per cent).
Target 8.b: Develop a global youth employment strategy
It has one indicator: Indicator 8.b.1 is the "Existence of a developed and operationalized national strategy for youth employment".
Unlike most SDG targets with a target for 2030, the goal date for this indicator is 2020. According to data for 2019, 98 per cent of the countries surveyed had a youth employment strategy or a plan to develop one in the near future. ILO as the agency for this indicator is in charge of the data gathering for the progress of Global Youth Empowerment Strategy.
Custodian agencies are in charge of reporting on the following indicators:
- Indicator 8.1.1: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) and United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).
- Indicators 8.2.1, 8.3.1,8.5.1, 8.5.2, 8.6.1, 8.8.1, 8.8.2 and 8.b.1: International Labour Organisation (ILO).
- Indicators 8.4.1 and 8.4.2: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- Indicator 8.7.1: The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
- Indicators 8.9.1 and 8.9.2: United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
- Indicator 8.10.1: International Monetary Fund (IMF).
- Indicator 8.10.2: World Bank (WB).
- Indicator 8.a.1: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Links with other SDGs
The attainment of SDG 8 is vested on the success and progress of other SDGs. There cannot be growth in the economy of any country if its citizens are not well educated. Therefore, SDG 8; Decent Work and Economic Growth interlinks with Quality Education (SDG 4), Gender Equality (SDG 5) for equal work opportunities. There are also strong ties with Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9) and Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12).
Aside for the aforementioned inter-related SDGs, it is worthy to note that the progress of SDG 8 aids to reduce the per cent poverty rate in any given country on Poverty ranks. Success in meeting of SDG 8 targets is directly related to achievement of targets of No poverty (SDG 1).
- World Bank Group: Since the inception of the Global Goals, The World Bank has been in support with the vision to alleviate poverty and empower both gender through its training, resources mobilisation and others.
- United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
- International Labour Organisation
- UN Women acts to "achieve economic rights and growth for all by promoting decent work, equal pay for equal work, equal access to economic assets and opportunities, and the fair distribution of unpaid care work".
- United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
NGOs and others
The following NGOs and other organizations are helping to achieve SDG 8:
- KIVA is a loan platform that helps improve the living conditions of people through lending with access to traditional forms of finance, credit, and banking.
- Fonkoze is Haiti's largest microfinance institution empowering Haitians, primarily women, with financial and development services to lift their families out of poverty. it offers a full range of financial and development services to Haiti's rural poor and provides them with the required tools and training to live a good life.
- P+SITIVE PLANET aims to develop and create a positive economy in every line of business. Promoting positive economies through micro-finance strategies, and it offers both financial and non-financial services, improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
- Root Capital is a nonprofit social investment fund that invests in the growth of agricultural enterprises. It sees to the growth of rural prosperity in poor, and environmentally vulnerable places in Africa and Latin America by lending capital and delivering financial training to farmer associations and various private businesses to aid their development and transforms rural communities. 
- OVAMBA is a Johannesburg Founder Institute portfolio company and its aim is to support central African economies by improving access to credit for small and medium-sized enterprises thereby delivering financial access and capital markets to a lot of small and medium-sized businesses, Ovamba is dedicated to helping these small and medium businesses to grow by giving them the tools to invest in their own futures.
Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the global economy was growing at a slower rate than in previous years notwithstanding improvements in labour productivity and unemployment. The pandemic has quickly and greatly disrupted it, pushing the world into a recession. The extraordinary shock to the world's labour markets is expected to result in a decrease of around 10.5 per cent in aggregate working hours in the second quarter of 2020, equivalent to 305 million full-time workers. Small and medium enterprises, workers in informal employment, the self-employed, daily wage earners and workers in sectors at the highest risk of disruption have been hit the hardest.With companies shutting down and small scale business being affected as a result of the pandemic it is re[ported that chances of employment will continue to decrease.
Society and culture
Businesses are engines for job creation and economic growth and foster economic activity through their value chain. Decent work opportunities are good for business and society. Companies that uphold labour standards across their own operations and value chains face a lower risk of reputational damage and legal liability. Instituting non-discriminatory practices and embracing diversity and inclusion will also lead to greater access to skilled, productive talent.
World Pensions Council (WPC) development economists have argued that the twin considerations of long-term economic growth and infrastructure investment were not prioritized enough. The fact they were designated as the number 8 and number 9 objective respectively was considered a rather "mediocre ranking [which] defies common sense".
Continued global economic growth of 3 percent (Goal 8) may not be reconcilable with ecological sustainability goals, because the required rate of absolute global eco-economic decoupling is far higher than any country has achieved in the past.
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