BANGKOK (ILO News) – The International Labour Organization (ILO) will hold its Thirteenth Asian Regional Meeting here from 28-31 August.
The meeting will seek to establish new policies and projects for promoting decent work in the region as a key to reducing poverty, restoring economies and providing a viable and productive response to the challenges of globalization and the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis, as new economic difficulties loom in the region.
ILO Director-General Juan Somavia is to join His Excellency Mr Dej Boon-Long, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Welfare of Thailand, and other Asian leaders at the conference, which groups representatives of governments, and employer and worker organizations from 39 ILO member States. The ILO is a global labour organization within the United Nations system dedicated to promoting decent work: securing employment, improved conditions of life and work, social protection and social dialogue. It has 175 member States worldwide.
The Asian Regional Meeting will discuss a new ILO report entitled “Decent Work in Asia” which contains an analysis of the labour market, social protection and employment situation in the Asian region and provides suggestions for tackling the deficit in decent work. Advance copies of the report and other background information, including an agenda, are available through the ILO offices in Bangkok and Geneva, or at the web address /public/english/region/asro/bangkok/arm/index.htm
“Decent work can make the difference,” Mr. Somavia’s report says. “As the financial crisis showed, there were weaknesses with respect to social protection and social dialogue, and in the recovery from the crisis it will be important to build the institutions which can tackle these dimensions of the decent work agenda.” This is now all the more urgent in the context of the current economic downturn.
The decent work deficit is described as “the absence of sufficient employment opportunities, inadequate social protection, the denial of rights at work and shortcomings in social dialogue”. According to Mr Somavia, it illuminates the gap between “the world that we work in and the hopes people have for a better life.”
The ILO’s Asian Region meets every four years. Its last gathering in 1997 was overshadowed by the high drama of the Asian financial crisis. In 2001, tackling the decent work deficit is high on the agenda, as the organization and its member States search for ways to “take practical action to make decent work a living reality for the majority of the population of the world”.