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Over the past 25 years the number of workers living in extreme poverty has declined dramatically, despite the lasting impact of the 2008 economic crisis and global recession. In developing countries, the middle class now makes up more than 34 percent of total employment – a number that has almost tripled between 1991 and 2015.

However, as the global economy continues to recover we are seeing slower growth, widening inequalities, and not enough jobs to keep up with a growing labour force. According to the International Labour Organization, more than 204 million people were unemployed in 2015.

The SDGs promote sustained economic growth, higher levels of productivity and technological innovation. Encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation are key to this, as are effective measures to eradicate forced labour, slavery and human trafficking. With these targets in mind, the goal is to achieve full and productive employment, and decent work, for all women and men by 2030.

Goals in action

UNDP in Uzbekistan

Piecing together new opportunities

A woman entrepreneur grows her textile business through creative thinking, good planning and support for her employees. MORE >

UNDP in Kosovo*

The new entrepreneurs

Meet a new generation of talent, shaping the future one idea at a time. MORE >



UNDP in Kyrgyzstan

On the milk road

A dairy factory has had great impact on people's lives in the community, now they can earn an income selling their milk.  WATCH >

UNDP in Azerbaijan

Father mountain provides

On the Caucacus mountains, families are turning beekeeping into a wider businesses and saving the environment in the process. MORE >

UNDP in Albania

Roma Stories

Roma and Egyptians share experiences of entering the traditional workforce, challenging previous cultural norms. WATCH >


UNDP in Tajikistan

Jobs do grow on apricot trees

Tajik companies expand their businesses by expanding exports.  MORE >

UNDP in Ukraine

How do you inspire entrepreneurship in a conflict-affected region?

Supporting employment is challenging in the best of circumstances, but crowdfunding helped connect people. MORE >

UNDP in Uzbekistan

Big exports, bigger impact

Fledging small businesses are proving to be a solution for vulnerable citizens. Aid for Trade supports small and medium enterprises to grow. MORE >

UNDP Around the world

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