Sustainable Development Goal #10 and Project Management, Reducing Inequalities within and among countries.
In this installment of our series on the SDGs, we look at #10 of 17. This goal encompasses seven targets of sustainable development however for the purpose of this post we are going to focus on three.
10.3) Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including through eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and actions in this regard
10.4) Adopt policies especially fiscal, wage, and social protection policies and progressively achieve greater equality
Income inequality is a global issue that is solvable. Doing so requires that decision makers improve standards of practice, regulations, and also to actively monitor them to ensure that governance and practice are not out of sync.
From a practical standpoint, we have already covered that projects should employ and pay people equally based on the work required rather than by their gender, age etc. This is also covered in our P5 Standard for Sustainability in Project Management under non-discrimination.
There are overlap with some of the other SDGs we have already covered, such as SDG #5 on Gender Equality and SDG #8 on Economic Growth The aspect of this SDG that stands out is the emphasis among countries, people with disabilities, race, and other differences.
I had the opportunity to give a lecture at a University in the South of France last summer and this SDG was a central discussion component. I was asked how, as a tech company, who builds niche systems, SDG #10 was relevant. More specifically, I was asked how a project manager can support SDG #10.
Here is how it went down…
Participant: “We build web content for a specific sector, how does SDG #10 apply to me?”
Me: “Let me answer with a question. Do you build all content in-house? Including adapter, modules etc.?”
Me: “Ok.” “Do you know where all of your content comes from?” “Can you ensure that the people doing the work are paid a livable wage, are paid equally, and are not discriminated against?” “After all, these are the social aspects of the project and should be considered as part of project governance…”
These are aspects of projects that we rarely think about but should. Outsourcing can reduce project costs if the market price for the work to be done is less in one country over another. However, it is up to the project manager to ensure that the project resource is being paid adequately and treated fairly.
So how does one do this?
A great practice is to ensure that procurement practices include clauses for equality includes provisions for site visits and audits.
For IT, project resources can write code and obviously read and write. In other industries, it is not a guarantee. I have been privy to some projects where workers could not read and signed contracts that they didn’t understand and because they couldn’t add or subtract didn’t know how much they were being paid (and they weren’t.) These malicious practices are exactly why the SDGs are important for project managers to understand.
As professionals, we must ensure that our projects are not only driving innovation but are not doing harm in the process.
Here is a short video on SDG #10