Opening Remarks at the National validation workshop of the draft “Accelerating the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals through Decent Work: SDGs monitoring and country profile for Mongolia”

By Mr Tim De Meyer, Director, ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia

Statement | Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia | 05 December 2017

Minister Chinzorig,

Ms. Ariunzaya, Chairperson of NSO,

Mr. Amgalanbaatar, President of CMTU,

Distinguished representatives of different government agencies, workers and employers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning and a warm welcome to everyone to our workshop. This is the second time already that we are discussing the draft Mongolia’s country profile on SDGs decent work indicators. I am encouraged to see all of you here: experts from the government, the national statistical office, social partners, academia and other partners who feel it is valuable work to track progress on realizing the SDGs and inform the policies that are needed to help Mongolian people work out of poverty. I would like to thank NSO for taking the lead in developing this profile and for organizing today’s national workshop to validate the draft report.

As previous speakers already mentioned, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015 sets specific targets to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Goal 8 highlights sustained economic growth but also stresses decent work as key factor in ensuring that this same growth is sustainable. Key aspects of decent work are embedded in the other 16 SDGs, and I would specifically mention those targeting the end of poverty through social protection floors; gender equality; inequality; and representative decision-making at all levels.

People in this room are quite familiar with the concept of Decent Work. It is more than just having a job. It involves 1) respect for the fundamental rights that protect human dignity and civilization; 2) creating opportunities to secure productive employment that delivers a fair income; 3) enhancing coverage of social protection for all and ensuring safety and health at work; and 4) strengthening social dialogue so people can participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

The 2030 Agenda resolutely intends to leave no one behind. In 2016, Mongolia internalized the SDGs in its own Sustainable Development Vision 2030, charting its development path for the next 15 years. By 2030, Mongolia aims to be a leading Middle Income Economy – one that has eradicated poverty in all its forms through higher levels of decent employment, preserved its ecological balance and built strong and stable governance systems.

Mongolia should not want any less for its people, nor should it doubt its ability to realize these aspirations. But neither should the challenges be underestimated. Poverty is actually on the rise. Poverty is significantly higher in rural areas and the percentage of people at risk of slipping back into poverty is also significant. Unemployment is high, in particular among young people. Income security suffers from underemployment; social protection systems that only protect selectively; exploitation in certain unacceptable forms of work; and gender disparities. You will hear later today more about these decent work deficits in the country from the international and national technical experts who have worked closely with government agencies and the social partners to produce the first report of its kind in Asia Pacific. The draft report establishes an evidence-based baseline measured against all of the 18 SDGs decent work indicators for which the ILO is either custodian or involved agency as well as the main decent work indicators beyond SDGs.

The draft report also highlights some data gaps that need to be filled to monitor decent work indicators and the SDG indicators related to decent work. The 2030 Development Agenda comes with 232 unique indicators (244 for all targets). This puts considerable pressure on the monitoring system of any country in terms of data collection, management and coordination, and the definitions of some of indicators are yet to be globally agreed.

The purpose of ILO technical assistance is not to expose shortcomings on the international stage. The purpose is to align national data collection practices with internationally recognized labour statistical standards; make findings comparable with those of other countries and thus facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experience that can ultimately improve the effectiveness of labour market policies. In a world that ever more rapidly transformed by globalization, technology, changing demographics, climate change and migration, labour market policies need to be reviewed ever more frequently. And to leave no one behind, we need to understand better the different impact these labour market policies have on men/women; young/old; rural/urban; informal/formal; people with and without disabilities.

Mongolia has a comparably strong foundation for labour statistics and labour market information. The NSO regularly implements the labour force surveys and disseminates its results. One could say Mongolia has a quality camera for taking snapshots of the labour market. It is now a matter of filling in the blind spots, increasing the pixels and adding the right captions so that by 2030 we do not only have high-resolution pictures but the ability to photo-shop where necessary.

Labour market information is a priority area in Mongolia’s DWCP for 2017-2021 which we are signing tomorrow. The new DWCP articulates as well the contribution of Mongolia’s decent work agenda to realizing the priorities articulated in Mongolia’s Sustainable Development Vision 2030 and the SDGs. In this way, you can rest assured that ILO will continue to support this important line of work.

Looking forward to your active and productive discussions today. Thank all of you for contributing to this work.

Thank you.