Full Employment Target: What Lessons for a Post-2015 Development Agenda?
Employment, and especially decent and productive employment, has become topical in the worlds of development and development cooperation. An indication of this are the events related to the “Arab Spring” of 2011. In only a few months, various Arab regimes were toppled by a population not just wanting more democracy, but, perhaps even more importantly, also by an educated youth wanting good jobs and prospects of advancement but faced with extremely high youth unemployment rates (International Labour Organization [ILO] 2011). Paradoxically, this turmoil took place in countries that scored well on progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Tunisia and Egypt, as well as Jordan, are among the eight best-performing countries with respect to progress in the MDGs (CGD 2011). The events causing the discontent manifested by the Arab Spring point to a possible disconnect between policies pursued under the aegis of the MDGs and the attainment of full employment in developing countries. This article therefore tries to shed some light on the somewhat checkered relationship between
employment and the MDGs, and argues that a coherent set of national and international policies is needed to tackle unemployment and underemployment in order to achieve full employment. It then poses the question of how an application of such policies could be included in the formulation of a post-2015 development Agenda.