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SG/SM/21487

Global Accelerator Helping to Put Decent Jobs, Social Protection at Centre of Sustainable Development, Secretary-General Says at Implementation Event

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the high‑level event on the Implementation of the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions, in New York today:

I am pleased to welcome you today to focus on concrete solutions to implement the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions.  This initiative was launched exactly one year ago in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic to build on our ongoing efforts to support countries through the crisis.

Today, the need for the Accelerator is — if anything — accelerating.  Economies that have been battered by the pandemic are now confronting a cascade of other crises — from the fallout of the war in Ukraine and soaring food and energy prices, to spiralling inflation, crushing debt burdens and shrinking fiscal space.

These crises are also compounding challenges for countries pursuing the path towards a sustainable, resilient and inclusive future.  At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, countries like Togo deployed innovative digital solutions to expand social protection to hard-to-reach populations, protecting thousands of people in the process.

South Africa launched a Just Energy Transition partnership, signalling an important step in the fight against climate change.  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.

Let’s be clear:  The present economic system is unfair, boosting inequalities and now pushing more people into poverty. The morally bankrupt global financial system requires deep structural reform.  We are working hard to achieve that — but change won’t happen overnight.

In the interim, the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection is a critical tool to help provide immediate support to people in need and advance action towards transformative change for all.  It brings together Governments, international financial institutions, civil society, United Nations and the private sector with a clear focus:  to create 400 million new decent jobs — especially in the green, care and digital economies — and extend social protection to the over 4 billion people currently without coverage.

To help us manage the massive transformations that will fundamentally change our societies in the coming decades — from digital, to climate, to demographic revolutions — and pave the way for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  To put people first by making massive investments in their future well-being.  From health and education, to food systems and green infrastructure, to social safety nets that level the playing field to increased support for women, to preparing young people for the rapidly evolving world of work.

One year on, I commend our United Nations partners — including the ILO [International Labour Organization] — for developing a robust implementation strategy to deploy the Global Accelerator at the country level.

I call on each of you to commit to supporting the Global Accelerator and its objectives.  By developing national policies and integrated strategies for just transitions.  By launching tripartite social dialogues on employment and social protection.  By advocating for stronger multilateral and South-South cooperation.  And by providing the necessary funding and financing strategies — because the reality is that without it, the Accelerator will not succeed.

Domestic public resources will provide the bulk of financing, but official development assistance (ODA) will be required, as well.  I ask that you give generously — through the Joint SDG [Sustainable Development Goals] Fund or other mechanisms — to help transform the Accelerator from promise to reality.

We have two paths before us.  One path — the path of inaction — leads to economic collapse and climate catastrophe, widening inequalities and escalating social unrest, and billions trapped in vicious circles of poverty and destitution.  The other path — the path defined by the Accelerator — aims to rebalance societies by putting decent jobs and social protection at the centre of sustainable development.

Let us accelerate our pace down that path in partnership and solidarity so that all people everywhere can live lives of dignity and opportunity in societies that are just, peaceful and prosperous.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.