António Guterres, UN secretary-general, has expressed concern that at least 201 million people will be jobless in 2017, with additional 2.7 million people in 2018.
In his message to the commission for social development, Guttere said the world was currently going through a challenging period.
“Let us make no mistake: these are challenging times,” he said.
“Conflicts are reversing decades of hard-won improvements in social well-being, and discriminatory exclusionary practices widen the gap between rich and poor. Even in peaceful societies, prosperity has not been shared.
“This year, the number of jobless people is expected to exceed 201 million – and another 2.7 million could be added to the unemployment rolls by 2018.
“Anxiety is mounting as societies cope with urbanisation, climate change, population growth and other mega trends.
“In this uncertain environment, I welcome your focus on strategies for eradicating poverty in all its forms to achieve sustainable development for all.”
Guttere said the new UN agenda 2030, required a redefinition of traditional planning, monitoring and delivery of sustainable development objectives.
“Unlike the millennium development goals, the sustainable development goals require whole-of-society approaches involving public and private partners,” he said.
“They also call for a new set of tools and policies tailored to the national context.
“Your work here will help to complete unfinished business. Your guidance will allow our UN country teams and the secretariat to better tailor our support to meet countries’ specific needs.
“I am committed to integrating the UN’s work for peace, sustainable development and human rights. sustainable development is an end in itself.”
He said sustainable and inclusive development is the best way to secure and ensure lasting peace.
“In this effort, we must give top priority to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women,” Guterres said.
He noted that the commission was meeting at a time of global contradictions, regretting that unprecedented scientific and technological advances are driving progress, “yet inequality is worsening”.