“It is imperative that we provide the support needed – at speed and at scale – to keep the momentum and ambition of these and similar initiatives alive”, he underscored.“We all know what those bottlenecks are: the lack of financing that is scalable, sustainable, socially inclusive and it supports just transitions; the persistent challenges of informality; the limited fiscal space; and the lack of institutional capacity in many countries”, he added.
Countries taking the lead
Echoing the words of the Secretary-General, the International Labour Organization’s chief, Guy Ryder, warned that the world is on “red alert”, in the event that effective responses to the overlapping climate and cost of living crises are not found.
“We are working hard to achieve that – but change won’t happen overnight. In the interim, the Global Accelerator is a critical tool to help provide immediate support to people in need and advance action towards transformative change for all”, he said.
According to António Guterres, the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions aims to rebalance societies by putting decent jobs and social protection at the centre of sustainable development.
He said the present economic system is unfair, boosting inequalities and pushing more people into poverty, and that’s why it requires a deep structural reform.
“We will see massive suffering, more instability, and potentially more conflict. But it doesn’t have to be this way”, he explained.
“The total number of unemployed youths worldwide is estimated to reach 73 million in 2022, 6 million above pre pandemic levels in 2019, young women are the hardest hit”, she underscored, adding that young people also experience systemic legal and financial barriers to benefitting from social protection policies and programmes.
Addressing the bottlenecks
“The four billion women, men and children who have no social protection; the two billion workers in the informal economy; and the millions of men and women who risk losing their jobs and incomes”, on a level “not seen for a generation”, he noted.
Mr. Guterres commended the actions of countries such as Togo, which deployed innovative digital solutions to expand social protection to hard-to-reach populations, and South Africa, which recently launched a Just Energy Transition partnership.
“To truly shift this paradigm, we should work with all people including young people as agents of change and not only beneficiaries, and at every level of the just transitions this initiative seeks to enable”, Ms. Wickramanayake said.
Better lives for billions
The initiative aims to create 400 million new decent jobs—especially in the green, care and digital economies— and extend social protection to the over four billion people currently without coverage.
It is also meant to be a tool to help the world manage the massive transformations in areas such as digital, climate, or demographic change, that will fundamentally change societies in the coming decades.