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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 Arab region with a Gross domestic product (GDP) levelling at US$6,056 billion in 2015 –constituting 5.6 percent of the Word’s GDP— witnesses great disparities. The Human Development Report 2016 shows that the Gross National Income per capita of the Arab region averaged at US$14,958 in 2015, the United Arab Emirates registering a high value of US$66,203, and Syria, Yemen and Comoros registering value as low as US$2,441, US$2,300 and US$1,335, respectively. All figures are based on Purchasing Power Parity, constant 2011 prices.

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 Syria

Emergency Employment for IDPs in Shelters

Located on the Mediterranean coast, the governorate of Tartous is currently hosting 500,000 displaced persons from various neighboring governorates since the start of the crisis in Syria. MORE >

UNDP Syria

Sewing for a better life: Internally displaced persons regain hope

The Syrian economy has experienced a massive de-industrialization as a result of business closures, major capital out flight, looting and destructionMORE >

UNDP in Iraq

Yazidi women find economic independence in Iraqi Kurdistan

The Dost Bakery is a small cake business that opened in Iraqi Kurdistan in the autumn of 2015. Dost means “friend” in Kurdish, as the bakery is run by 10 friends. All of them are women who were displaced by ISIS... MORE >

UNDP Around the world

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