Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Questions (46, 73)

Dessie Ellis


46. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide more details on the UN special event on the millennium development goals that he attended in New York; and the way it will it impact on the post-2015 development discussions. [41162/13]

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Maureen O'Sullivan


73. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade as co-chair of the forthcoming UN summit on the future of the millennium development goals, if he will seek to make decent work one of the main targets of the post-2015 development era; his views on whether decent and safe labour and environmental standards are a fundamental right that must be fought for throughout the rapidly industrialising global south; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41054/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 46 and 73 together.

Ireland has been playing a very significant international role in the process to negotiate and agree a new framework for global development after 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It was a major achievement of our EU Presidency in the first half of this year to secure agreement on an integrated EU position for the Special Event at the United Nations in New York last week.

The Tánaiste addressed the opening session of the MDG Special Event and co-chaired one of the four roundtable discussions on progress under the MDGs and future challenges in the fight to end global poverty and hunger.

Ireland and South Africa were asked to co-facilitate the Special Event and we negotiated overall agreement on a strong outcome document, which was endorsed by all UN member states. It provides a clear commitment to maximising progress over the next two years under the MDGs and a roadmap for the negotiation of a new global development framework post-2015. This marks another important step in the post-2015 process by committing to completing the work of the MDGs, to freeing the world of poverty and hunger, and ensuring a life of dignity for all. We believe that there is now a strong basis for the negotiation of a new development framework which can help eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in a generation, empower women and girls, focus on equitable economic opportunity and integrate international efforts to address poverty and the impact of climate change.

I agree that issues related to employment and decent and safe work, are critical to poverty eradication and sustainable development. Very limited progress has been made on the MDG target to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), unemployment has increased by 28 million since 2007, and an estimated 39 million people have dropped out of the labour market, leaving a 67 million jobs gap as a result of the global economic and financial crisis. There are currently approximately 200 million unemployed people and approximately 868 million ‘global working poor’. Young people have borne the brunt of the crisis.

Ireland has already expressed support for a stand-alone goal on employment and decent work. This position is in line with our new global development policy, 'One World, One Future', which includes a commitment to promote the inclusion of job creation objectives into the national plans, poverty reduction frameworks and budgets of the Key Partner Countries for our aid programme.