SDG 8: four questions and answers

What does SDG 8 deal with?

SDG 8 is about decent work and economic growth. If you look at the individual targets, you see that this is a very heterogeneous story. It's about work and it's about growth. But it's also about tourism, about developing countries, about money, productivity, about resource productivity, education, slave labor - worldwide, but also here at home. You have to try to reconcile all these issues.

What are the main issues in SDG 8?

The first target is about "adequate economic growth. This immediately raises the question: what is appropriate for Austria? We agreed in the working group that it is important that we do not make our economy dependent on growth. That is the first challenge. The second challenge is unemployment. In this context, however, we also dealt intensively with unpaid work. And finally, the question: how are education and work related? Isn't education actually also work, and doesn't work also have to be education?

What are the proposals for implementing SDG 8?

Very fundamentally, it's about the question: how do you actually measure the progress of a society if it's not just about economic growth? We have developed a concrete concept for this, primarily because we can be sure that we will not have much economic growth in the future. Secondly, how do we divide up gainful employment if there are too few jobs on offer? The idea here is: a reduction in working hours. We believe that everyone who wants to should get a job in the labor market, but thirdly, we also need more time for activities outside formal employment. Then, fourthly, we looked at the issue of meat consumption from the point of view of resource consumption in agriculture. This is as much about the quantity as it is about the production method. Fifth, the topic of education: Education is the new work, work is the new education! Sixth, helping businesses use fewer resources, and finally, seventh, proposing how the money now being spent to revive the economy will be used to serve the Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the SDGs.

What has Covid-19 changed?

Of course, Covid has pushed back somewhat on our society's other goals. On the other hand, it has also had positive effects, albeit small, on the environment, for example - but devastating effects on the economy and jobs. But today - unlike two years ago - there is a consensus that money is there, that you can also take on debt: on the one hand to get the economy going again, but on the other hand in such a way that it helps climate protection, that it is fair in terms of distribution. This is a great opportunity to tackle many issues: environmental policy, education and health care.