Thursday 6 July 2006 (ILO/06/36)
GENEVA (ILO News) - The International Labour Organization (ILO) today hailed the adoption by the United Nations of a Ministerial Declaration on full and productive employment and decent work, saying it would help strengthen efforts by the UN and the multilateral system aimed at creating jobs, cutting poverty and providing new hope for the world's 1.4 billion working poor during the next decade.
The high-level segment of the UN's Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted the Ministerial Declaration following three days of intense discussions on national and international policies needed to generate decent work for all as a vital foundation for global efforts to achieve international development goals to cut the numbers of people living in extreme poverty by half by 2015.
In a wide ranging agreement on the urgency of tackling what speakers at the conference recognized as a global jobs crisis, Ministers reaffirmed that, "Opportunities for men and women to obtain productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity are essential to ensuring the eradication of hunger and poverty, the improvement of the economic and social well-being for all, the achievement of sustained economic growth and sustainable development of all nations, and a fully inclusive and equitable globalization".
The Ministerial Declaration also maps out a series of initiatives with governments and other institutions to consider the employment impact of policies and to ensure coherence of policies, inviting "all relevant actors, including the Bretton Woods Institutions and other multilateral banks, to join our efforts" to implement the Declaration.
"This move presents the extraordinary opportunity to mainstream the goal of full and productive employment and decent work for all into the regular activities of all relevant UN organizations", said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. "This can set in motion a process of policy dialogue within the multilateral system - including the Bretton Woods Institutions - to stimulate the necessary policy convergence behind this global goal agreed to at the 2005 UN Summit."
Mr. Somavia noted that the agreement was urgently needed in the face of a growing "decent work" deficit that has seen an increase of more than 20 per cent in official unemployment in the past decade and the need to create at least 40 million new jobs each over the next 10 years to prevent it rising still further.
The Declaration recognizes "the decent work agenda of the ILO as an important instrument to achieve the objective of full and productive employment and decent work for all". It also strongly supports fair globalization and resolves to makes the goals of full and productive employment and decent work for all a central objective of national and international policies and national development and poverty reduction strategies.
"We call upon the ILO to focus on the implementation of commitments regarding the promotion of full and productive employment and decent work for all agreed at the major United Nations conferences and summits, in order to achieve significant progress in both policy and operational programmes", the Declaration says, "and in this regard, we request the ILO to consider developing time-bound action plans to 2015 in collaboration with all relevant parties, for the achievement of this goal".
The Declaration marks a further important step in the effort by the ILO to promote a decent work agenda for reducing poverty and obtaining equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. The meeting was the first major international gathering to take up the recommendations of the 2005 World Summit to seek a fair globalization and make the goals of full and productive employment and decent work for all a central objective of national and international macro-economic policies.
The ILO Director-General said the agreement would help launch "practical operational contributions to create an economic, social and political environment that generates enough decent work to make poverty history. In the course of the next 10 years, we will have to systematically implement the notion that 'working out of poverty' is key to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals. They go hand in hand".
The new ministerial declaration is also significant in that the ECOSOC coordinates the work of all 14 UN specialized agencies, 10 functional commissions and five regional commissions. It was identified by the 2005 World Summit Outcome as having a potentially key role in the revitalization of the UN system. Mr. Somavia said the decision of the 54-member panel would serve to "reconnect the UN to the widespread democratic demand of people and families everywhere - a fair chance at a decent job".
For more information, see: www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/inf/event/ecosoc/index.htm
Director-General's address to the High-level Segment of ECOSOC: www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/dgo/speeches/somavia/2006/ecosoc.pdf
Ministerial Declaration of the High-level Segment of ECOSOC (text as adopted)