It is abundantly clear that without social cohesion it will be difficult to achieve the goals of sustainable development. The objective is to leave no one behind and to achieve greater well-being for all. It is in this context that the achievement of decent working conditions, gender equality, equal, fair and decent pay and the eradication of discrimination and poverty must be implemented on an equal footing with economic growth in a smarter, greener economy, which is based on the dissemination and adaptation of skills and education. In order to make use of synergies, this research macro-area works in close cooperation with the existing Centre of Competence for Social Work and Social Policy.
Some of the challenges also present in South Tyrol and to be studied in this macro-area will be, e.g., the growing inequality between the generations, which calls for a stronger consideration of young people who will have to live in a context of diminishing social, health, economic and environmental opportunities and resources. In this context, demographic change with a growing elderly population, steadily increasing care costs and a shortage of labour must also be considered.
Other closely interlinked issues will be: working conditions, economic growth, equality and the fight against poverty, which must be studied in order to combine a greener economic development policies capable of producing decent work, on a level playing field of gender equality and equality among workers wherever they come from. The eradication of poverty and discrimination are basic social conditions necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Another aspect concerns migration. Climate change, dwindling resources, and food insecurity in less developed countries increase forced migration to more developed countries, which on their side face a huge demographic imbalance, as well as a growing shortage of labour and professionalism not only in the industrial sector, but also, and especially, in the area of care and personal services.