Three: Work environment, health and the international development agenda

This chapter reviews the current debates on the role of work and working conditions in the discourse on international development and explores the impact of vulnerable work and poor psychosocial working conditions on health. The launch of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 is a welcome addition in the fight to secure decent work and ensure health and well-being in developing countries. For decades research from Europe and North America has consistently shown that being exposed to poor psychosocial working conditions, such as not having sufficient control to meet the demands at work or being inadequately rewarded for one’s efforts, can have serious negative health consequences. The extent of poor working conditions in these countries today demonstrates just how big a task the UN and associated agencies face in tackling this issue. This in turn raises the question of how Sustainable Development Goal 8, of ensuring decent work for all, will be realised.

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