HLPF 2023: Sustainable cities need workers to take care of them
"Social dialogue enables workers to participate in just transition plans of their cities that are good for people and the environment." Peggy Hessen Følsvik, LO Norway
Waste management workers reduce pollution and make the environment cleaner; transportation workers deliver sustainable transports; skilled builders make energy efficient homes and workplaces.
Workers are already doing their bit to ensure the transition towards sustainable cities and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 11.
Now it is up to governments to show their willingness to do their share.
Budgets must be redirected to create the necessary green and decent jobs. Just transitions must ensure that no worker is left behind during the process to build and take care of our cities, with healthy environments and local, nearby, quality public services for all.
TRADE UNIONS’ PRIORITIES FOR SDG 11
Ensure support for and investment in a just transition towards sustainable cities.
Promote cities that respond to the increasing ageing of the population and the vulnerability of elderly people due to their poverty exposure, especially women.
Accelerate the decarbonisation of urban transport with a ramp-up of investments in and expansion of public transport infrastructure and operations, and a focus on sustainable solutions that provide decent work and contribute to worker-led formalisation, negotiated with unions and employers.
Improve equitable access to public transport, considering the particular needs of users in terms of route planning, pricing and safety, with particular attention to eradicating violence and harassment, via consultation with transport users, workers and unions, diversity in local government decision-makers and innovative and feminist city planning.
Oppose the privatisation of existing public entities and instead support democratic reform to make them more accountable, in partnership with unions and service users.
Undertake energy efficiency measures such as programs to deeply retrofit social, public and low-income housing, reducing energy demand and lowering energy bills, while creating decent and climate-friendly jobs, especially for low-income and marginalized communities.
Ensure fundamental changes to infrastructure and buildings through renovations of existing buildings, CO2 reduction from building operation, and fossil-free building sites in cities.
Expand access to decent housing and infrastructure for all urban residents, including migrants and forcibly displaced persons, while addressing climate change.
Ensure resilience to extreme weather conditions and disasters: adopt and implement urban disaster risk reduction and management and emergency response systems; integrate safety and health measures and protection protocols for urban workers most exposed to extreme weather events and climate-related health and safety concerns, including transport workers, and for others particularly vulnerable, including children and young persons, persons with disabilities, migrant workers, refugees and displaced persons; and protect populations from price shocks or disconnections from services.
Invest in local and proximity quality public services for all deployed by cities, including municipal, distributed, and community-based energy, to tackle energy poverty and assist families and hard-to-reach groups.
Make the cities liveable by spreading the centre of economic activity across different cities to prevent overcrowding of cities and avoid making them uninhabitable.