Sub-principle 2.A

Focus on maximising sustainable development results


Why is it important?


Maximising sustainable development results is about bringing transformational change, especially for those most left behind. Scalable market solutions can be an effective means to expand investments for sustainable development including environmental and climate action or the creation and defence of global public goods. Trade unions have a key role in defending a pro-worker sustainable development model of growth, ensuring there is recognition of the need for social dialogue and collective bargaining and of the role of social partners (trade unions and employers’ organisations). Trade unions further uphold the need for effective compliance with labour rights by all stakeholders and the promotion of climate justice as essential foundations for project and policy making. When public finances are used to support PSE, the development objectives and desired results should determine the selection of private sector partners. Development co-operation should sustain and reinforce the role of the public administration and services in developing countries. The project should, like any other, be evidence-based, with careful targeting and tailored interventions. When all partners are on the same page about the project’s objectives and desired outcomes, these initiatives are more likely to succeed in producing the desired development results.

Self-reflection questions
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  • Are PSE activities (especially those targeted towards specific sectors, markets and groups such as youth, women or populations particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change) informed by the priorities and assessments of national development policies? 
  • Does the PSE project in which you participate follow the basic requirements to maximise development results, e.g. identification of target groups, provisions for monitoring, clear communications, etc.?
  • Do all project partners understand the importance of social dialogue as a pre-requisite for the PSE project to deliver its intended results? 

Actions to consider
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  • Ensure PSE projects and programmes focus on sectors, markets and populations such as youth, women or other vulnerable groups, including populations particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, that are critical for development outcomes. 
  • Support governments and development partners in identifying sectors and populations where PSE can maximise development results, including the climate agenda, by participating in consultations or direct actions.
  • Carefully review and accompany PSE projects and programmes throughout planning and implementation to ensure they contribute to the creation of long-lasting decent work and the formalisation of the informal economy. 
  • Defend pro-worker sustainable development results and climate justice in PSE policy making and PSE projects.
  • Ensure you have the capacity and resources to oversee that PSE interventions respect labour rights and that due diligence processes are implemented.

Pitfalls to avoid
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  • Remain silent when partners of the project overly focus on financial value and business profits, risking forgoing the value of social and environmental impacts. 
  • Support projects that do not have a clear theory of change, intended results or focus on labour rights. 
  • Remain silent if it becomes clear that development co-operation is being diverted away from its core ambition of development, including sustaining and reinforcing the role of public administrations and services.


The Strategic Partnership for Garment Supply Chain Transformation is an innovative programme designed to improve labour conditions in the garment industry. This partnership brings together the expertise of trade unions, non-governmental organisations, governments and the Fair Wear Foundation (which represents progressive brands and factories) to ensure that all supply chain actors engage in improving and guaranteeing decent working conditions. In West Java (Indonesia), this partnership has contributed to developing multicompany collective bargaining agreements (including health and safety, working hours, and compliance with wage agreements) that apply to several companies of the same sector in the same region. This programme demonstrates the important advantage of upscaling both labour and productivity improvements through constructive social dialogue.

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