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  • Devon McGinley

UN Sustainable Development Goals: Decent Work and Economic Growth

UN SDG #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) are a series of 17 targets involving human rights issues set to be reached by 2030. The eighth goal is titled “Decent Work and Economic Growth” which primarily focuses on job security, economic prosperity, and increased efficiency of resources. All of the UN SDGs involve Water in some facet and sustaining the livelihoods of global populations is no different.

SDG #8 and Water

Water is vital to health, justice, and society. It is also the primary source of job security for 1.5 billion people; according to the United Nations Water Development report, 3 in 4 jobs heavily depend on Water (UN Environment 2016). Beyond providing jobs across the globe, Water is also a controlling factor in economic health; it provides billions in profit but when threatened, billions lost. For example, over “$260 billion is lost globally each year due to lack of basic Water and sanitation” ( 2019). Jobs worldwide are at risk, which puts the economy at risk. Issues such as lack of clean Water access, environmental degradation, privatization, and efforts to interfere with unions also jeopardize the global workforce.

SDG #8 also aims to achieve resource efficiency, reduce consumption, and create more jobs, all of which can be easily tied together. By creating more renewable energy systems, we can shift workers in dying industries (such as coal) to jobs that are better for employee and environmental health. The opportunity of doing so is estimated to provide additional millions of jobs and currently provides over 4 million in the United States alone (Environmental Defense Fund 2022). With unemployment on the rise due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the clean energy industry has the potential to be the liferaft for millions of workers.

Water&’s Role

At Water& we support the security that Water provides in the economy and recognize that unions play an essential role in keeping those jobs. Privatization of public Water sources strips workers of jobs and the public of access to these local watersheds that serve as a cornerstone for overall community health. Our effort to educate stakeholders about the risks of privatization, Water degradation, and other risks that threaten job security, is so that we are part of the movement to work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and highlight the important role that Water plays. Water is the lifeblood of the global economy and at Water& we are working to ensure equal access to clean Water, economic security, and a sustainable future.


Clean energy is building a new American workforce. Environmental Defense Fund. (2022, June 3). Retrieved July 1, 2022, from

Three in four jobs in the global workforce depend on water, says un on World Water Day. UN Environment. (2016). Retrieved June 30, 2022, from

Water & the economy. (2019). Retrieved June 29, 2022, from

Water drives job creation and economic growth. UNESCO. (2016, December 15). Retrieved June 29, 2022, from


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