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Durham University

Durham Law: Policy Engagement

DWR and the SDGs

Effective labour regulation as a path to the SDGs

Sustaining productive and protected working lives is among the most pressing challenges of the twenty-first century. The urgency of this objective is confirmed by the inclusion of Decent Work among the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG8).

This is a crucial development goal that cross-cuts many other SDGs, such as the elimination of poverty (SDG1), good health and well-being (SDG3), gender equality (SDG5), reduced inequalities (SDG10), sustainable cities and communities (SDG11), and peace, justice, and strong institutions (SDG16).


Cross-cutting SDGs

Towards the elimination of Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW)

Having a job does not necessarily guarantee decent quality of life. Across the world, millions of people are working in insecure jobs, in unsafe conditions, for inadequate pay, or in abusive work environments. The UN International Labour Organization (ILO) has highlighted that eliminating UFW is a critical part of its mission.

One of the major challenges of the 21st century is to ensure that workers across the world have working conditions that respect their fundamental rights, do not risk their wellbeing, and are secure and fairly remunerated.

To achieve these objectives, effective labour regulation is crucial. Strong labour laws are a vital component of development policies, capable of supporting inclusive growth, sustainable prosperity, and the wellbeing of workers and their families. In this regard, there is much potential for the design of innovative regulatory strategies that can effectively achieve decent work – especially in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs).


Research questions

The UFW Project has investigated important questions at the heart of this problem, such as:

• What are the factors that cause Unacceptable Forms of Work to take root?

• What kinds of regulation can make an impact?

• Can these local regulations be applied elsewhere?

• Can global solutions be agreed?