Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day with global unemployment rates of 5.7%, and having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty in many places. This slow and uneven progress requires us to rethink and retool our economic and social policies aimed at eradicating poverty.

A continued lack of decent work opportunities, insufficient investments and under-consumption lead to an erosion of the basic social contract underlying democratic societies: that all must share in progress. Even though the average annual growth rate of real GDP per capita worldwide is increasing year on year, there are still many countries in the developing world that are decelerating in their growth rates and moving farther from the 7% growth rate target set for 2030. As labour productivity decreases and unemployment rates rise, standards of living begin to decline due to lower wages.

Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. Job opportunities and decent working conditions are also required for the whole working age population. There needs to be increased access to financial services to manage incomes, accumulate assets and make productive investments. Increased commitments to trade, banking and agriculture infrastructure will also help increase productivity and reduce unemployment levels in the world’s most impoverished regions.


The built environment interacts with decent work and economic growth on both a planning level and on a building level.

Safe public spaces and affordable transit routes to the workplace are crucial for finding employment. The ability to move from home to a workplace, and the time spent in transit, determine what jobs are available, making public space and transportation systems key to citizens’ access to work. Cities and settlements must also be planned and designed so that poor and marginalised citizens have access to a business outlet, such as a marketplace, where local produce, handicrafts and other services can be bought and sold. Workplaces must be designed so that they support healthy and productive work environments for employees. Investing in good working conditions backs a company’s economic growth through higher productivity and fewer sick days.

In the building industry, focus is needed on decent working conditions and safety for workers. This entails the use of materials extracted and produced in safe and clean working environments as well as secure and controlled working conditions on building sites and in demolition processes. Furthermore, by emphasising investments in human resources, the industry can develop towards more sustainable economic growth by using the raised skills and knowledge to reduce the amount of raw materials and energy needed, while also raising productivity.

Examples of this can be found in planning projects for informal settlements, in state-of-the-art office buildings and in better cover on buildings sites.

CASE STUDIES SiteCover, Denmark


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