New ILO Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean

On 1 June 2015, José Manuel Salazar Xirinachs of Costa Rica assumed the role of ILO Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

News | 02 June 2015

Lima, Peru - The newly appointed Director of the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, José Manuel Salazar Xirinachs, who took office on 1 June, highlighted the importance of promoting inclusive growth and creating more and better jobs, not only as a short-term policy in the current economic slowdown but also as a means to close the productivity gaps and reduce inequalities in the region.

"Inclusive growth must be high and sustained for decades. It has a broad base of dynamic sectors that create productive employment, reduce poverty and informality. That is the way to move towards a future of greater prosperity and social justice," Salazar said in summarizing his vision of the major challenges of the region. "The economic and social achievements of the past decade will not be sustainable under current policies. It will require us not only to redouble our efforts, but also to adjust growth and policy models to maintain the achievements and avoid a reversal," he added. The Regional Director said that the economic slowdown will "without any doubt impact labour markets in 2015 and in the years to come."

Salazar, who is currently in Geneva to participate in the 104th Session of the International Labour Conference of the ILO, stressed that a priority of his leadership for the ILO Regional Office will be to contribute to the promotion of a productive transformation that allows for more broadly diversified economic growth, generation of more and better jobs, a reduction of informality and poverty, leading to a more inclusive and sustainable society.

He said it will also be important to help remedy the deficit of institutional mechanisms for social dialogue in order to promote collective action and meet the challenges of productivity, informality, inequality and social exclusion.

Prior to assuming his role as Director of the ILO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean on Monday, Jose Manuel Salazar Xirinachs served as Assistant Director-General of Policy, at ILO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

Salazar joined the ILO in 2005 as Executive Director of the ILO’s Employment Sector in Geneva, at Assistant Director-General level, with overall responsibility for the work of the Organization on employment promotion.

His work at ILO headquarters covered areas such as employment policies, enterprise development, vocational training, labour market analysis, employment services, the transition from informality to formality, the relationship between trade and employment, promotion of youth employment, and related topics.

Prior to joining the ILO, Salazar served from 1998-2005 as Director of the Trade Unit of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington. The Unit worked with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) as the Technical Secretariat of the negotiations to create the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

From 1997 to 1998 José Manuel Salazar was Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, during which he presided over the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) process.

The new Regional Director of the ILO holds a Master's degree in Development Economics and a PhD in Economics from the University of Cambridge, England.

He is the author of numerous publications, most recently he co-authored a book entitled Transforming economies: Making industrial policies work for growth, jobs and development