Rosa Pavanelli

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Quality Public Services for a Better World

Universal access to strong, well-funded quality public services is essential for building more just, democratic, and socially inclusive societies. But decades of neoliberal policies and austerity measures have undermined governments’ funding of public services, such as health and social services, education, potable water supply, and waste management.

This has contributed significantly to increasing social inequality, poverty, and the climate crisis. The working conditions and wellbeing of workers delivering public services have equally worsened.  Understaffed hospitals, for example, have resulted in rising incidence of burnout. The impact of retrogressive social policies has increased the workload and psycho-social risks of social workers. And contract staffing has made the work of many women and men delivering public services precarious.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced PSI’s position that the neoliberal “normal” is not sustainable and is rather a burden on sustainable development and people’s enjoyment of their fundamental human rights. As we battle the pandemic which still ravages several parts of the world, and seek to build a better eco-social future, I will stress the need for putting quality public services for all at the heart of the
post-COVID world.

Rosa Pavanelli is General Secretary of the global union federation Public Services International (PSI). She was elected at PSI’s World Congress in November 2012 and was re-elected for a second mandate in November 2017. In March 2016, Rosa was nominated as Commissioner on the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth (UN ComHEEG), representing the trade union movement, health workers and public services.

Rosa is also a member of the United Nations High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters and of the Cornell University International Labour Relations Worker Institute Advisory Council. She also collaborates closely with the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT).

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