In a policy brief released today, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that investing in job-rich growth, social protection, and a just transition to a net-zero emissions future, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, could prevent a further deepening of the inequalities between developed and developing economies that have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To respond to the crisis’s immediate labor market shocks and promote a just transition, at least US$982 billion in fiscal stimulus is required, as well as US$ 1.2 trillion yearly for social security ceilings in low- and middle-income countries. Without investing in social safety systems and quality public services that give people the essential support to traverse the vicissitudes of life, no advanced economy has achieved economic and social success.
Between March and December 2020, the wealth of billionaires climbed by about US$ 3.9 trillion, while the impact of the pandemic on the world of labor, among other causes, raised the number of extremely poor by between 119 and 224 million people — the first increase in poverty in over 21 years.
In his brief, the Secretary-General asks for immediate investments in a job-rich, long-term, and socially inclusive recovery. The public and private sectors should work together to significantly increase such investments in order to get the world back on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and to address the ever-increasing risks of climate change and environmental degradation, which threaten 1.2 billion jobs – or 40% of the global workforce.
A human-centered recovery from the pandemic necessitates the coordination of employment and social protection policies, not only to improve people’s living standards but also to assist them in navigating the challenges of a rapidly changing world of work and the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The Secretary-General is calling for a Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection, which would create at least 400 million jobs and extend social protection to 4 billion women, men, and children who are currently uninsured, in order to achieve a job-rich recovery and a just transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy.