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Durham Law: Policy Engagement

DWR as Sustainable Development

Effective labour regulation as a pathway to achieving the SDGs

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

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 stated 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;

• are secure and fairly remunerated.

To achieve this objective, effective labour regulation is crucial. But what forms should this regulation take?


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?

The project cross-cut a number of the SDGs: