Trade unions in Europe and Central Asia join forces to promote SDGs

Organizations from Europe and Central Asia met on 12 October in Moldova to coordinate their approach to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Social dialogue is the only way to bring in the voices of workers when it comes to the national implementation of the SDGs”, said Oleg Budza, President of the Moldovan National Trade Union Centre (CNSM) in his opening address.

From the ILO’s perspective, governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations remain key partners in achieving the SDGs. “Through workers’ education, campaigns and participation in social dialogue, trade unions are doing important work that helps to implement the SDGs”, explained Sergeyus Glovackas, Desk Officer for Europe and Central Asia at the ILO’s Bureau for Workers’Activities (ACTRAV). He added that trade unions particularly support targets under SDGs 8 and 10, through “both, their regular activities, for example by supporting the rights of workers to join independent trade unions, and their efforts to reduce inequalities through promoting robust social security systems and collective bargaining.

With respect to the implementation of the SDGs, participants also insisted on the need to respect workers’ rights, particularly freedom of association, across the region.

“Freedom of association and social dialogue are preconditions for trade unions being able to contribute to the implementation of the SDGs”, recalled Anton Leppik, Executive Secretary of ITUC’s Pan-European Regional Council (PERC).
Participating trade unions committed themselves to ensure for greater involvement in SDG national implementation and monitoring and will require further capacity building.

This seminar was part of a series of activities organised by ACTRAV to strengthen the engagement of trade unions in favour of the implementation of the SDGs. In 2016, ACTRAV launched the Global Workers’ Academy on SDGs - complemented by regional courses in Asia, Africa, the Arab States and Latin America. The regional courses were supported by the Trade Union Reference Manual on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development . The manual guides and assists trade unions in helping develop national strategies for sustainable development and highlighting the linkages between national activities and global processes.

ILO-Budapest information