Two key United Nations bodies joined forces Friday to examine "the future of employment" and the need for bold action to ensure the post-2015 development agenda provides decent work for all.
The Second Committee of the UN General Assembly, which deals with economic and financial matters, opened a special joint meeting here with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as myriad technological, demographic and financial factors are impacting all facets of labor, perhaps even giving the idea of work an altogether different meaning in the years to come.
The implications of the digital revolution and new technologies, including three-dimensional printing, will be felt in labor markets in both developed and developing countries, said Abdou Salam Diallo, chair of the Second Committee.
The work of the meeting, focused on the future of employment: the world of work in 2030, was built around a panel discussion that featured presentations from a host of experts, covering such issues as identifying social policies that adjust to the new realities of evolving labor markets.
Participants called for efforts to ensure such policies address the risk of growing inequalities among and within countries, the role the UN in that regard, and to make sure the post-2015 development agenda reflects these trends, defines clear objectives and allows for appropriate follow-up.
Transformations in employment and labor markets will continue even as more than 470 million jobs must be created between 2015 and 2030 to cope with the effects of the financial crisis and to absorb the growth of the world's labor force, said Diallo, who emphasized the importance of large-scale spreading of new skills in boosting employment, especially among young people.
"The world can not afford a new digital divide between those who are trained in these technologies and those who are not," Diallo said, appealing to delegations to take the current changes in work space into account when defining the global agenda that will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 and to ensure that broad based policies promote adaptation to "new realities" while reducing inequality.
In his remarks wrapping up the event, ECOSOC Vice-President Martin Sadjik said the speed of technological progress and the disruptive impact it will have on employment in all countries is an important challenge that both the Second Committee and the ECOSOC will have to continue to address for some time in the future.
It is necessary to consider the interconnectedness between jobs, poverty reduction and sustainable development in designing a new set of goals and commitments for the post-2015 development agenda, said Sadjik, who urged delegations to be bold in their approach and to act on the basis of a common vision for the world of work in the short and medium term.
According to him, the General Assembly and the ECOSOC will continue to join forces to move forward toward a UN development agenda. The year 2014 should provide numerous opportunities to do so, he said.