UN system

UN and ILO: Future of work and the challenges for the cooperation agenda in Latin America and the Caribbean

United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinators and International Labour Organization (ILO) representatives in the region participate in a two-day meeting in Peru aimed at identifying opportunities to promote Decent Work as an essential component of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

News | 18 September 2019
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Lima – Representatives of the UN Office for Development Coordination (UNDCO) and the ILO agreed today in the Peruvian capital on the need to prioritize the promotion of decent work in the cooperative agenda for sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean, in a moment of slow economic growth that could generate greater unemployment and informality.

This first official meeting between UN Resident Coordinators and the Directors of ILO Offices throughout the region seeks to strengthen interagency collaboration to better respond to the needs of countries. The event is also attended by technical specialists and representatives of other UN organizations.

The dialogue on “Decent work and economic growth in the context of the future of work” began today with a series of interventions that highlighted the need to take measures that help countries to meet the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Decent Work is much more than a job. It is key to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda; to achieve a “sustainable development that puts an end to poverty and leaves no one behind,” said the ILO’s Deputy Director General of Foreign Programs and Alliances, Mr Moussa Oumarou, who made a visit to Lima to inaugurate this meeting.

Mr Oumarou stressed the importance of addressing a future of work represented by the impact of technologies, climate change or demographic evolution, as well as the challenges of a reality characterized by high unemployment, informality, inequalities, persistent child labour and forced labour, among others.

According to ILO data released at the meeting, the 8.0 per cent unemployment rate in Latin America and the Caribbean is the highest in a decade, and could rise even more, considering that according to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) the region will have a slow growth of 0.5 per cent in 2019, below the 0.9 per cent recorded last year when it was already considered moderate and with little impact on labour markets.

It will also be difficult to reduce informal labour, which affects 50 per cent of those employed in the region.

"We are living a moment of high complexity in Latin America and the Caribbean," said the UNDCO Regional Director, Christian Salazar, who spoke at the inauguration on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinators. He stressed the importance of revitalizing cooperation at a time when it is not only needed to advance in sustainable development, but also to "avoid setbacks".

“We need to work together, we need to align ourselves better to deal with labour and economy issues,” said Salazar, who added that this synergy could be obtained through “a collective knowledge that we can contribute to support countries in collective processes that promote decent work and inclusive growth.”

He added that it is essential to deal with the world of work issues, which should not be left out of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Salazar gave the example of youth unemployment, as young people face unemployment three times greater than adults. Youth in the region also experience a level of labour informality at a rate of 60 per cent, and 20 per cent of young people who are neither employed or in school have difficulty entering the labour market.

During the meeting, participants also raised the importance of considering the unique structure of the ILO in interagency collaboration efforts. The ILO is the UN’s only tripartite institution where 187 member States are represented by governments and employers 'and workers' organizations.

The meeting also recognized the new UN Resolution on the ILO Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work. The Resolution called all agencies, funds and programmes to mainstream decent work in their programmatic activities and for consider including some of its components in the UN sustainable development cooperation frameworks according to national realities

The agenda of the two-day meeting between the UN Resident Coordinators and ILO Directors also includes the analysis of issues such as the impact of ILO International Labour Standards, tripartism, the objectives of employment promotion, social protection and vocational training, as well as the priorities that serve as a guide for interagency collaboration in the UN System.

High-level delegates who attended the opening of the meeting included Mr. Javier Palacios, Deputy Minister of Labour and Employment Promotion of Peru, Mr. Cicero Pereira da Silva, Representative of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), and Mr Alberto Echavarría, the Employers' Representative of the ILO Governing Body. Mr Mario Cimoli, ECLAC Deputy Executive Secretary, and Mr Luis Felipe López-Calva, UNDP Regional Director also joined the meeting by videoconference.