Making It Happen: A world in transformation - saving the people & the planet
UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings’ end of year message:
2015 is ending on a positive note with 195 world leaders adopting the first universal climate agreement, pledging to keep global warming well below 2 degrees. COP21 is a shining example of multilateralism, collective action and cross-border solidarity in a year darkened by conflict and terror.
The mass mobilization of civil society played a key role in the success of COP21. Behind the political momentum, there was a broad movement of international solidarity, exemplified by the policy and communications work carried out by UNI Global Union and the ITUC around COP21. We made it happen. After this new global climate deal, unions will advance progress in the millions of workplaces around the world through all the negotiating platforms we have at local, national and global levels to secure our human right to a safe planet. We are now entering a new phase. Attention is turning to scaling up just transition and making sure we leave no one behind by ensuring decent jobs are created for all. That means rolling out credible plans to decarbonise economies and protect the poorest from the devastating impacts of climate change.
The conclusion of COP21 comes only three months after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by the UN General Assembly signaled another step in the right direction. The SDGs cover most of the agenda that UNI Global Union has been advocating for years, including poverty reduction, gender equality, and decent work. The SDGs form a new global platform of sustainable development to 2030, with17 goals and 169 action points to be followed up from global to local. The aim is transform the quality of life for humanity as a digital revolution gathers pace and practioners of digital capitalism seek to up-end the world of decent work. The SDGs are also an important basis for responsible business behaviour.
Humanity is faced with the age of disruption from climate, digital to inequality. The COP21 and SDGs give us hope that there will be a human face to transformation and reflect the resolutions adopted at the UNI Global Union World Congress in 2014. The trade union movement has a key role to play in this global transformation towards a more sustainable world of peace and prosperity. The outstanding example of UNI’s Tunisian affiliates, and the UGTT winning the Nobel Peace Prize is there to remind us that unions can make a real difference by organizing collective action and bringing people together for peace and democracy. It is a recognition that unions, employers, and civil society acting together can transform not only a nation but the world. The French people’s rejection of the extreme right in this month’s regional elections is yet another reminder that we who believe in democracy and inclusivity speak for the majority.
We have a responsibility to deliver solutions and that will be the challenge of the year ahead. We have to continue to “Make It Happen” – the theme of our next UNI Global Union Word Congress in Liverpool in two years.
On behalf of all at UNI, we wish you a happy and peaceful 2016.
General Secretary, UNI Global Union