Young Workers and the Future of Work
Young workers constitute one of the fastest-growing and most mobile populations regionally and globally. As a workforce, they present new opportunities, including innovative ways of doing and thinking about business and human rights. Yet, they are also among those at particular risk of labor exploitation, precarious work, and irregular migration—that is, challenges that arise from structural inequalities and, at times, from exogenous shocks. This is especially true in South Asia, where preventing child labor and exploitation continues to be an ongoing problem.
In an increasingly informal world of work characterized by the gig economy and self-employment, among other attributes and trends, the demographic transformation underway in South Asia presents new realities that demand critical reflection on the extent to which the current Business and Human Rights (BHR) agenda adequately takes into account the distinctive challenges experienced by young workers, in particular young women and Indigenous Peoples.
In putting young workers as rights-holders at the centre, this session will provide observations on the key trends, opportunities, and challenges with regard to the growing population of young workers in South Asia, together with the business-related human rights issues that emerge as a result.
Following from the speakers’ remarks, the session will be modelled on a ‘World Café’ format: the discussion will be led by two facilitators who will be provide context to the topic as well as trigger questions. Audience members will then be asked to discuss with the people next to them, raise additional questions, and share their views.
The key objectives of this session are to:
Unpack the impacts of climate change and environmental insecurity on labor mobility, migration, and human security across South Asia;
Discuss the ways in which the rights of climate change-induced migrant workers can be protected and respected by States, businesses, and international/regional organizations;
Share good practices with regard to how environmental and climate change-related stressors can be managed to prevent and/or mitigate negative impacts on workers’ and human security.
Speakers will reflect on the following set of guiding questions:
What is the evidence base for the Climate-Labor-Security Nexus? How does climate change affect labor migration and human rights?
What are the lived experiences of climate change-inducted migrant workers? Who are the individuals and/or groups most at risk of business-related human rights abuse?
What good practices exist to help manage the precarity and vulnerabilities faced by workers in the context of climate change-induced migration?
How can States, businesses, and international organizations support the needs of such workers?
To what extent is the current BHR agenda prepared to tackle the major challenges presented by this nexus? And how can we lift our gaze as BHR practitioners?