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What You Should Know: SDG 8

There are nearly 2,2 billion people that live below the global poverty line ($2 USD). 470 million jobs are needed globally for new entrants to the labour market between 2016 and 2030 in order for poverty to be eradicated. This means that 30 million jobs need to be created annually over the coming 14 years to keep up with the growth of the global working age population.

SDG 8 and the United Nations utilises the definition ‘decent work’, which entails equal opportunities to obtain productive jobs and fair wages, security in the work place and social protection for families, as well as better prospects for personal development and social integration. Through decent work, the UN aspires to encourage and create sustainable economic growth on a domestic level, as well as globally. Yet, the goal is not merely focusing on decent work and economic growth, as this is the desirable end game. There are several ways which the UN wishes to utilise to achieve the 8th goal by 2030:

  • Create 30 million jobs annually to present the necessary jobs to follow the growth of the global working population.

  • Improve working conditions and create opportunities to improve their own as well as their families’ life quality.

  • Eradicating 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.

  • Increase aid for trade support to developing countries and enhance the integrated framework for trade-related technical assistance to least developed countries.

The global society has to assume the responsibility to improve sustainable global economic growth, which starts locally before it increases domestic economic growth, and lastly it reaches global and international economies. Sustainable economic growth requires societies to create the conditions that enables people to obtain quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. Society as a whole benefits, domestically and eventually globally, when more people are being productive and contributing to their country’s economic growth.

The 8th goal encounters several challenges through the completion of the goal. Several developing countries have large sums of debt to the IMF, and to achieve a sustainable economic growth might prove to be very difficult, if not impossible in some countries. To achieve this goal in most developing countries the countries must be given the opportunity to direct the funding necessary towards their own country, it’s enterprises and entrepreneurs. Other challenges are to convince the large industries to establish secure and decent jobs in low-cost production countries, persuade large national and international economies to support and supply developing countries financially, and thereby encourage economic growth. Lastly, it is pertinent to prevent fraud and enforce morally and ethically practice of sustainable economic growth.

To accomplish the most peaceful, respectful and successful result, it might prove crucial that the countries that will undergo such large economic changes, do not feel pressured to achieve goals in one specific way. However, if the countries take part in a larger discussion on how to achieve these goals in the best way for each significant country, with no imperialistic pressure, then this SDG will unify countries, rather than create animosity between the countries that take part in the discussion.


There are several approaches to achieve decent work and sustainable economic growth: the micro-, meso-, and macro-level.

On a micro-level, there can be internationally funded micro-credit banks, that practice a close follow-up on starting businesses as well as offering business courses on how to create successful businesses locally. On the domestic meso-level, the government must encourage larger industries to create jobs and improve the quality to decent work, and support entrepreneurship in the country. This will create a more secure living situation for the whole population, as surplus money from the workers will go into the intricate web of domestic and international economic growth, such as circulation-> redistribution -> recirculation,

Countries need to commit to specific business plans, and the international society needs to create opportunities for especially developing countries so that they can commit to improving sustainable domestic, and later international economic growth. The international society needs to allow countries to conditions so that people can have quality jobs and stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. Together, international and domestic society will have to promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium sized enterprises, including access to financial services.

*This is the first post in our new blog series, What You Should Know, which aims to offer an introduction into the research behind, and future goals of each SDG.

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