The SDGs and the themes of the Economic and Social Development, Employment Division – an overview

Topics addressed by the competence centres and relevance to the SDGs

Health, Social Protection and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

Health, social protection and inclusion of persons with disabilities are human rights. They are prerequisites for the social, economic and political development of a country, and for its stability and peace. With the overarching goals of ‘ending poverty’, ‘reducing (social) inequalities’ and achieving ‘health for all’, the Competence Centre for Health, Social Protection and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities covers a wide range of themes: including improved access to prevention programmes, high-quality diagnosis, the treatment of and provision of care for communicable and non-communicable diseases, and development of social protection systems that provide coverage against life cycle  risks and financial distress, as well as the active participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities in development processes. The measures mostly focus on vulnerable groups (e.g. poor population groups, persons with disabilities, women of reproductive age, infants and elderly people). This diversity of themes is also reflected in the contribution made to achieving the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals. The measures and topics of the Competence Centre for Health, Social Protection and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities contribute to SDG 1: No poverty and SDG 3: Good health and well-being, to SDG 2: Zero hunger, SDG 4: Quality education, SDG 5: Gender equality, SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth, SDG 10: Reduced inequalities, SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities, SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions and to SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals.

Useful links and documents:

Summary of GIZ’s Symposium 2016, which dealt with the question of what the SDGs mean for our work. 
Annual compilation of health statistics for WHO member states. Contains data on 21 health-related SDGs and 35 indicators as well as success stories from different countries, and documents progress on the road to achieving the SDGs.
Healthy systems for universal health coverage - a joint vision for healthy lives UHC2030 reference paper by WHO and World Bank. Joint vision for strengthening health systems to achieve comprehensive health care
Indicators to measure social protection performance The EU strategy paper offers a critical overview of social protection indicators in the context of the SDGs. The paper contains general recommendations on indicators and gives detailed insight into the role of the EU in supporting the SDG process.
Global Social Protection. New impetus from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Article by the Development and Peace Foundation (SEF) on how the 2030 Agenda provides new impetus for social protection.
Social Progress Index Clear overview of various countries’ social development status (interactive map)
Das Diskussionspapier adressiert die Fragen, weshalb universelle soziale Absicherung für die Umsetzung der Agenda 2030 zentral ist, wie USP charakterisiert werden kann und welche Elemente für eine systemische Förderung von USP zentral sind.
Overview on SDGs with relation to the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
UN report on the progress on disability inclusion in the context of the 2030 Agenda
Education, Vocational Training and the Labour Market

The work focus of the Competence Centre for Education, Vocational Education and Training and Labour Market is to provide sectoral support to projects that contribute to inclusive and high-quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all (SDG 4: Quality education), as well as to sustainable economic growth and decent work (SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth).  

SDG 4 highlights the importance of education as a human right and public good, and is based on the insight gained during the implementation of MDG 2. Whereas MDG 2 focused predominantly on access to primary education, SDG 4 goes significantly further. SDG 4 demands that all children, youth and adults (especially the poorest people and those most disadvantaged) be guaranteed equal access to all levels of education and education quality in accordance with the lifelong learning approach. This includes early childhood education and care, primary, secondary and vocational education as well as tertiary education, literacy and the teaching of basic qualifications for young people and adults. Another new aspect is the focus on the relevance of learning outcomes and the successful acquisition of the relevant knowledge, skills and abilities both for the world of work and with regard to civil participation in a global and closely networked world.

There is also a shift in focus with regard to SDG 8: greater importance is now being attached to the topic of (youth) employment through the addition of an independent goal. Whereas employment was subsumed under the goal of ‘Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger’ in the MDGs, decent employment is now seen as a condition for achieving other goals in the context of the SDGs. Beyond this, target 8.6 gives consideration in particular to the plight of young people moving from education to the labour market (entailing a high proportion of informal and precarious work, unemployment, school drop outs and so-called separation from the labour market: by 2020, the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) is to be significantly reduced. This is in keeping with the LNOB principle.

The Competence Centre for Education, Vocational Training and Labour Market contributes to the achievement of SDG 4 and SDG 8 via a wide range of themes, including the design of efficient and effective (vocational) training systems that are in a position to plan and use their human and financial resources expediently; the creation of modern standards for the development of teaching and learning materials; the initial and continuing training of teachers and (vocational) education staff; support for the transition from training to employment; enhancing transparency, accountability and participation; and promoting the rights of parents and communities to have a say in education. Integrated approaches such as environmental education, school health and school nutrition are playing an increasingly important role here. Other key themes are education and employment in the context of displacement and migration, and the reintegration of returnees. Qualified experts are trained through labour-market-oriented vocational education and training and tertiary education; this is a key requirement for productive employment and sustainable economic development. Beyond this, universities make other vital contributions to filling knowledge gaps in the partner countries by creating closer links between academia, practitioners and policy-makers. Furthermore, the ”Sport for Development” approach, through its crosscutting nature, contributes to essential life skills and key values such as tolerance and inclusion and can provide learning opportunities outside School.

The diversity of themes addressed by the competence centre is also reflected in its contribution to the implementation of other SDGs and 2030 Agenda principles: educated girls and women contribute to better health and lower maternal and infant mortality, and education can help communities to respond better to climate change or to deal with environmental disasters. In detail, education contributes directly to the following SDGs: SDG 2 (Zero hunger), SDG 3 (Good health and well-being), SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy), SDG 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 12 (Responsible consumption and production), SDG 13 (Climate action), SDG 14 (Life below water) and SDG 17 (Global partnerships for the goals). Education, vocational education and training and tertiary education promote the empowerment of women and girls through high-quality general education, vocational qualification, better prospects of employment and the elimination of structural barriers, and may thus contribute to achieving SDG 5 (Gender equality).

Useful links and documents:


Working aids developed by UNESCO/UIS:

Financial Systems Development and Insurance

The Competence Centre for Finance System Development and Insurance contributes to achieving the SDGs at various levels through the wide range of themes it addresses. The financial inclusion of households, farmers and companies enables individuals to improve their life situation. The development of functioning financial systems promotes this improvement through the global transformation of financial flows. Access to secure savings enables poor households to better manage their often irregular income, build up assets and accumulate savings for larger items of expenditure such as school fees and medical care. Loans enable investment to be made for the purpose of production, e.g. for small farms and MSMEs, and promote the realisation of entrepreneurial initiatives. Insurance schemes enable more efficient handling of the financial consequences of unexpected events, and help to secure livelihoods and to prevent people from descending into poverty. The development of financial markets and the mobilisation of resources for sustainable investments play a key role in closing the estimated USD 1.4 trillion gap in financing that is required in order to achieve the SDGs. An efficient, stable and inclusive financial system can contribute in particular to the following SDGs: SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (Zero hunger), SDG 5 (Gender equality), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), SDG 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 10 (Reduce inequalities) and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the goals).

Current themes are the digitalisation of financial services, impact investment and innovative insurance products. The themes of green finance and disaster risk management also play a key role, since they contribute to environment-related SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy) and SDG 13 (Climate action).
Useful links and documents:
The effect of financial inclusion on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
The Financial System We Need (UNEP Inquiry) On the transformation of the global financial system towards sustainability
SDG Industry Matrix Financial Services (UN Global Compact und KPMG) Presentation of possibilities for initiatives and partnerships with the private sector
Green Finance for Developing Countries: Needs, Concerns and Innovations (UN Inquiry) What effect does financial market development and transformation have on the SDGs?
Inclusive Insurance and the Sustainable Development Goals (GIZ) Analysis of the contribution made by inclusive insurance to various SDGs
Analysis of the main factors and challenges in the financial sector for achieving the SDGs
Latest trends in the evolution of the meaning of sustainability (in routine practices) in financial institutions and regulators
Economic Policy and Private Sector Development

The approaches of the Economic Policy and Private Sector Development Division focus on SDGs 8, 9, 10, 12 and 17. The key goal pursued is economic growth for employment and income (SDG 8). The aim formulated in SDG 8 is to achieve at least 7 per cent growth in gross domestic product per year for the least developed countries (LDCs). This growth is to be achieved by higher productivity, technology transfer, innovation and infrastructure development and industrialisation, as well as by promoting entrepreneurship. The commitment to decent productive work and to separating economic growth and environmental destruction should also be underlined. The competence centre spells out GIZ’s understanding of the quality of growth (‘brand essence’), which must be sustainable, inclusive, resilient, integrated and intelligent if it is to comply with the 2030 Agenda, and which needs to be managed by strong institutions and transparent and participatory decision-making processes. The promotion of qualitative growth favours the achievement of SDGs 8, 9, 10 and 12, and simultaneously contributes to the social and environmental goals of the 2030 Agenda. Private sector development, trade promotion and social standards are key targets with an eye to achieving SDG 8, especially as part of an integrated approach to employment promotion. The themes of the competence centre also support the expansion of infrastructure and the industrialisation of partner countries, as targeted by SDG 9. This includes doubling the share of industry in employment and in GDP in the LDCs. Economic policy advice on structural policy, private sector development and trade promotion, among other themes, addresses inequality within the state and between states, as outlined in SDG 10. This SDG specifies how growth is to be distributed for sustainable development and thus joins up with the pro-poor growth approach. As well as the poorest of the poor, all people are to be given a share in economic growth, regardless of their age, gender, disability, skin colour, ethnicity, origin, religion, economic or other social status. SDG 10 thereby creates a link with the ‘leave no one behind’ principle. The SDG spells out the requirement for creating equality of opportunities and equality of outcomes. Programmes to promote the sustainability of global supply chains, resource efficiency in business, consumer protection, etc. make contributions to SDG 12, which addresses consumption and production patterns and formulates the demand aimed at the global North to sustainably transform industry. Specifically, this concerns the demand to take the lead when it comes to making efficient use of resources.

Useful links and documents:

Globalization revisited I Symposium on Economic and Social Development 2018

The Global Competitiveness Report and Index of the World Economic Forum present the competitiveness of individual economies, expressed in terms of productivity as the result of the relevant institutions and framework conditions:
  • Basic prerequisites: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education
  • Factors that increase efficiency: universities and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological maturity, market size
  • Innovation and sophistication factors: business development status, innovation It therefore provides data on many of the SDG targets and divisional topics.
Measures national implementation related to the green economy
Platforms to implement the SDGs with the help of the private sector on the following themes: role of the private sector, innovative technologies, CO2 reduction, inclusive business models, decent employment in global supply chains, reporting on the SDGs, innovative finance instruments, health and humanitarian aid and peace
The impact dossiers are a working aid for the preparation of module proposals in the field of economic policy and private sector promotion and take into account the new requirements resulting from the joint procedural reform (GVR). Among other things, the dossiers shed light on which of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda are directly and indirectly affected by the topic, supplemented by specific examples from the field.

What themes does Division 4B address?

This table (German only) provides a detailed overview of the SDGs that relate to the topics (competence centres) addressed by the Economic and Social Development, Employment Division. It shows where and how intensively the various themes dealt with by the division contribute to the individual SDGs. If we look at the number of targets to which one of the division’s topics makes a direct contribution, we come to the following conclusion:

  • The topics under the division’s remit intensively address half of the SDGs.
  • The division’s health and social protection topics, as well as education, vocational training and the labour market, directly contribute to the social goals (SDGs 1, 3, 4 and 5), whereas private sector development makes a particular contribution to the economic goals (SDGs 8, 9 and 12). 
  • Financial systems development/insurance and tertiary education make a vital contribution to achieving almost all of the SDGs.
  • All competence centres and sectoral products contribute to cross-cutting themes (such as gender, employment, inequality, institution-building or means for implementing the SDGs), and to the themes of hunger, strengthening of institutions, sustainable consumption and production, and climate change: SDGs 2, 5, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16 and 17.
  • Even at the aggregated level of the SDGs, it is evident that greater cooperation and integrated approaches are called for at divisional level and between divisions. The table’s overview of products is meant to help identify possible cooperation partners and potentials for integrated approaches with other competence centres.
  • The SDG targets (these can be shown or hidden in the table, as required) give an idea of how the individual target can be achieved. Here, too, the different approaches followed by the competence centres can be combined in order to design projects that take the broadest possible approach to achieving one of the SDGs.
  • In particular, this makes it possible to provide specific support to partner countries that show shortcomings in the implementation of individual SDGs.