ABSTRACTThis article examines SDG 8 ‘Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all’. It critically examines the goal from two perspectives, the business approach advocated by the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and the human right to full employment and decent work advocated by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and human rights NGOs. While full employment and decent work are indeed prominent in SDG 8, the 2030 Agenda embraces market-centred institutional arrangements that may present obstacles to achieving the goal. Specifically, grafting the human rights to full employment and decent work onto a business-oriented economic growth agenda in SDG 8 calls into question whether the 2030 Agenda enshrines full employment and decent work as human rights obligations of states or merely as benefits of economic growth. The article concludes that the ambiguity in SDG 8 presents both opportunities for human rights monitoring and accountability but also enhanced legitimacy for the business approach.

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