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ILO Tackles Social Consequences of Globalization

GENEVA (ILO News) - The International Labour Organization (ILO) today launched a top-level commission comprising Presidents, politicians, academics, social experts and a Nobel Economics laureate which, for the first time, will address the social dimension of globalization.

Press release | 27 February 2002

GENEVA (ILO News) - The International Labour Organization (ILO) today launched a top-level commission comprising Presidents, politicians, academics, social experts and a Nobel Economics laureate which, for the first time, will address the social dimension of globalization.

The World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization will be led by two Heads of State, Finnish President Tarja Halonen and President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania. Its ultimate goal is to use the process of globalization as a resource to reduce poverty and unemployment, to foster growth and sustainable development, said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia at a news conference.

"The Commission is an unprecedented effort to promote international dialogue on ideas to make globalization more inclusive, at a time when the debate is dominated more by polemics and preconceptions than by facts. " Juan Somavia, who was recently invited to address both the Porto Alegre Social Forum and Davos in New York, added that "the time for consensus-building and new thinking around these difficult issues has arrived."

"For some, globalization has been an instrument for progress. It has created wealth, expanded opportunities and provided a nurturing environment for entrepreneurship and enterprise. But for others, it has exacerbated inequalities and insecurity. They fear that the risks are too great, the benefits too small", Mr. Somavia said.

"Globalization has to deliver what working people and their families everywhere aspire to - a decent job, security and a voice in the decision-making process. People want a better shot at the gains that globalization is meant to deliver. This means access to much better opportunities for decent work, and promoting development with social justice in the context of open economies and open societies."

The Commission will "examine ways in which all international organizations can contribute to a more inclusive globalization process that is acceptable and fair to all," Mr. Somavia said.

Presidents Halonen and Mkapa will serve as Co-chairs of the Commission whose members will act in their personal capacity.

In its effort to formulate concrete actions to guide and shape the process of globalization, the Commission will also:

  • Establish the facts and outline the main contours and dynamics of the process;
  • Examine the perceptions of workers, enterprises, investors and consumers as well as different expressions of civil society and public opinion from all parts of the world;
  • Analyse the impact of globalization on employment, decent work, poverty reduction, economic growth and development;
  • Forge a broad consensus on the issues, including the involvement of all interested international organizations, as well as governments and organizations representing workers and employers; and,
  • Launch a process for addressing the key issues posed by the global economy to make globalization sustainable and promote the fair sharing of its benefits.

This is the first time that an independent Commission has been co-Chaired by two sitting Heads of State. Its members, drawn from all regions of the world, include former Italian Premier Giuliano Amato; Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Economics; Julio Maria Sanguinetti, former President of the Republic of Uruguay; Ruth C.L. Cardoso, First Lady of Brazil and President of that country's Community Solidarity Council; Ann McLaughlin Korologos, Vice Chairman of the Rand Corporation and former US Secretary of Labour; Surin Pitsuwan, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand; Deepak Nayyar, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi and former Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India; Hernando de Soto, author and President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Peru; John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO; Francois Perigot, President of the International Organization of Employers and former Chairman and CEO of Unilever France; and Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions. Leading personalities from Japan and the Russian Federation have also been invited, and their confirmation is awaited. (Full list of members annexed)

Mr. Somavia will act as an ex officio member of the Commission, together with the President of Governing Body, Mr. Alain Ludovic Tou, the Chairperson of the Workers' Group, Lord Bill Brett, and the Chairperson of the Employers' Group, Mr. Daniel Funes de Rioja.

The Commission will be serviced by a special secretariat set up by the ILO. Mr. P. Gopinath, a senior official of the ILO, has been appointed as Executive Secretary of the Commission.

The Commission has scheduled its first meeting for 25 March 2002 in Geneva. It is expected to complete its deliberations and present an authoritative report to the ILO's Director-General in the course of 2003.

Composition of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization

Co-chair: Tarja Kaarina Halonen
President of the Republic of Finland

Tarja Halonen was elected the 11 th President of Finland in February 2000 and assumed office on 1 March 2000. She is Finland's first female head of state.

President Halonen was born in Helsinki in 1943. She graduated from the University of Helsinki in 1968 and has a Master of Laws degree. President Halonen's professional career started in the National Union of Finnish Students, where she worked as the Social Affairs Secretary in 1969-70. She became a lawyer with the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions in 1970 which position she held during her political career as a Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister.

President Halonen joined the Social Democratic party in 1971. Her political career began in 1974 when she was appointed parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, a post she held until 1975. President Halonen was elected to the Parliament in 1979 and held her seat in five consecutive elections until she assumed the office of the President of Finland. In the parliament she served as Chair of the Social Affairs Committee from 1984 to 1987, Deputy-Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee from 1991 to 1995 and Chair of the Grand Committee in 1995. An integral part of President Halonen's political activity has been her five terms in the Helsinki City Council from 1977 to 1996.

President Halonen has served in three cabinets and her appointments have been: Minister at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health from 1987 to 1990, Minister of Justice in 1990-91, and Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1995 to 2000. She was also Minister responsible for Nordic co-operation in 1989-91. During her time as Foreign Minister Finland held the EU Presidency for the first time in July-December 1999.

President Halonen has also played an active role at the Council of Europe, first as Deputy-Chair of the Finnish Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly from 1991 to 1995 and later in the Ministerial Committee. She was also a Member of the Committee of Wise Persons of the Council of Europe in 1998-99.

President Halonen has paid close attention to issues of human rights, democracy and civil society. Issues concerning social justice and promotion of equality have been central themes throughout her political career. She has likewise long played an active role in the international solidarity movement.

President Halonen is married to Pentii Arajärvi and has one daughter. She is interested in theatre and has held several honorary positions in this sphere. Her other interests include the history of the arts, and painting and drawing are among her hobbies. She has also been closely involved in rhythmics competition gymnastics and swims regularly.

Co-chair: Benjamin William Mkapa
President of the United Republic of Tanzania

Benjamin W. Mkapa, a seasoned journalist, diplomat and politician, was elected President of Tanzania in November 1995. He is the third President of the United Republic of Tanzania since independence in 1961.

President Mkapa was born in 1938 in Masasi, in the Mtwara region of the country. He received his primary and secondary education in Tanzania and continued his studies at Makere University College in Uganda, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (with honours) in 1962.

President Mkapa's career began in local administration in Dodom, where he was appointed district officer in 1962. He became a Foreign Service Officer later that year. In 1966 Mr. Mkapa embarked upon a long career in journalism. During the 1960s and 70s he served as Managing Editor of two of Tanzania's leading newspapers, The Nationalist Uhru and The Daily News.

His experience in the news media led to his being appointed, in 1974, as Press Secretary to the then President of Tanzania, H.E. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, whom he served for two years.

In 1976, Mr. Mkapa became the Founding Editors of the Tanzania News Agency (SHITATA).

He also became Minister for Information and Culture in 1980-82; and again Minister for Information and Broadcasting in 1990-92.

President Mkapa's equally long diplomatic career included a number of high postings, including High Commissioner to Nigeria (in 1976) and Minister for Foreign Affairs (from 1977 to 1980).

In 1982, he served as High Commissioner to Canada and between 1983 and 1984 as Ambassador to the United States of America. He returned home in 1984 where he was again appointed as Member of the Parliament and Minister for Foreign Affairs. In 1992, he served as Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education, prior to being elected President in 1995, and Chairman of his Party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi, in 1996. He was re-elected President in 2000 for another 5 year term.

Throughout his political career, President Mkapa has worked to strengthen Tanzanian democracy, entrench civil rights and fight poverty, while increasing the country's exposure to international trade and investment. He is active in conflict prevention, management and resolution in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and is an active player in regional economic co-operation within the East African Community, and the Souther African Development Community.

President Mkapa holds two honorary dctorate degrees from Soka University in Japan (1998) and Morehouse College, Aztlanta, USA (1999). His main hobby is reading.

He is married to the former Anna Joseph Maro, and they have two sons.

The Members of the Commission are:

Guilano Amato (Italy); Vice-President of the Constitutional Convention of the European Union. Dr. Amato served as Prime Minister of Italy twice, from 1992 to 1993 and from 2000 to 2001. A Member of Parliament from 1983 to 1993, Dr. Amato has held several important Government positions, including those of Deputy Prime Minister, Treasury Minister, Minister of Institutional Reforms and President of the Italian Antitrust Authority Dr. Amato is a lawyer by training and was a Full Professor of Italian and Comparative Constitutional Law at the University of Rome, School of Political Science, from 1975 to 1997.

Ruth C.L. Cardoso (Brazil); First Lady of Brazil and President of the Community Solidarity Council, an organization that has been promoting inter-sectoral partnerships in the fight against poverty and social exclusion since 1995. Dr. Cardoso was previously Senior researcher at the Brazilian Centre of Analysis and Planning and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Sao Paulo. She is a member of the Board of the United Nations Foundation and is the author of several books and articles on youth, social movements, civil society and new social actors.

Heba Handoussa (Egypt); Managing Director of the Economic Research Forum for the Arab countries, Iran and Turkey. Professor Handoussa is also a member of the Shura Council, Egypt's Upper House of Parliament. An economist by training, Professor Handoussa taught at the American University in Cairo and was subsequently appointed as Vice Provost. She has served as an advisor to the Egyptian government and consultant to the World Bank. Her numerous research publications cover the areas of structural adjustment, industrial policy and foreign aid, institutional reform and comparative development models.

Eveline Herfkens (Netherlands); Minister for Development Co-operation since 1998. From 1996 to 1998, Ms. Herfkens was Ambassador to the United Nations and the WTO. During that time, she was a member of the Board of UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and Chair of the Bureau of the Economic Commission for Europe. From 1990 to 1996, she was Executive Director of the World Bank Group. Before that, Ms. Herfkens was a member of Parliament for the Labour Party of the Netherlands for nine years. Trained as a lawyer, Ms. Herkens has also been active in several non-governmental organizations.

Ann McLaughlin Korologos (United States of America); Vice Chairman of the Rand Corporation, a non-profit institution engaged in policy and decision making through research and analysis. Ms. Korologos, who served as US Secretary of Labor from 1987 to 1989, also served as Under-Secretary of the Department of the Interior and as an Assistant Secretary of the Department of Treasury. From 1996 to August 2000, Ms. Korologos was Chairman of the Aspen Institute. She is currently a Senior Advisor to Benedetto, Gartland and company, an investment banking firm in New York.

Lu Mai (China); Secretary-General of the China Development Research Foundation since 1998. Mr. Lu has also been Senior Research Fellow of the Development Research Center of the State Council since 1995. Mr. Lu has extensive experience in rural reform in China, and was Director of the Experimental Area office for Rural Reform, Research Centre for Rural Development of the State Council in the late 1980's. He is the author of numerous publications on economic reform and served as a consultant for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and other international organizations.

Deepak Nayyar (India); Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi. Dr. Nayyar is a distinguished economist, having taught at universities in India, France and the United Kingdom. He served as Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India and was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. The author of numerous books and articles, Dr. Nayyar is Chairman of the Board of Governors of the World Institute for Development Economics Research, and a Member of the Advisory Council for the International Development Centre at the University of Oxford.

Francois Perigot (France); President of the International Organization of Employers since June 2001. Mr. Perigot has had an extensive career in French industry, having served as Chairman and CEO of Thibaud, Gibbs et Cie (from 1968 to 1970) and then held the position of Chairman and CEO of Unilever France (from 1971 to 1986.) From 1986 to 1994, Mr. Perigot served as President of the National Council of French Employers. Since 1997, Mr. Perigot has been President of the Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF) International, the main employer organization in France.

Surin Pitsuwan (Thailand); Member of Parliament and former Minister of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Surin has had a long career in government and foreign affairs. Dr. Surin served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1997 to 2001, and before that was Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1992 to 1995. He has served as a Member of Parliament for six consecutive terms since being elected in 1986. A graduate of political science, Dr. Surin is currently a Member of the Commission on Human Security and is a regular columnist for major newspapers in Thailand and the region.

Julio Maria Sanguinetti (Uruguay); President of the Circulo de Montevideo, a forum which aims to open up new forms of governance and achieve sustainable development in Latin America. Mr. Sanguinetti was elected to serve as President of the Republic of Uruguay for two terms, from 1985 to 1990, and 1990 to1995. Mr. Sanguinetti has had a long and distinguished career in politics, culture and journalism. His many accomplishments were recognized in the awarding of the UNESCO Simon Bolivar prize in 2000, and by the awarding of several honorary degrees from universities around the world.

Hernando de Soto (Peru); President of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy. An influential author of best-selling books on economic policy, Mr. de Soto heads an important think-tank on development issues. Regarded as one of the most influential thinkers on the informal sector, he has worked as an advisor to the Peruvian government, notably on the development and implementation of strategies for bringing informal enterprises and property ownership into the economic mainstream. His most recent book is The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Succeeds in the West and Fails Everywhere Else.

Joseph Stiglitz (United States of America); Professor of Economics, Business and International Affairs, Columbia University. A renowned scholar and teacher, Professor Stiglitz is one of the founders of modern development economics. He has held professorships at Yale, Princeton, Oxford and Stanford and was Chief Economist of the World Bank. He was Chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors from 1993 to 1997. Joseph Stiglitz received the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2001.

John J. Sweeney (United States of America); President of the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). A native of Bronx, New York, Mr. Sweeney has been President of the AFL-CIO since 1995. His trade union career began as a research assistant with the Ladies Garment Workers. In 1960, he joined the SEIU as a contract director for New York City, and went on to become President of the International union in 1980, an office which he held for four terms before being elected as the President of the of the AFL-CIO.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz; (Philippines) Executive Director of Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples' International Center for Policy Research and Education). An indigenous activist from the Cordillera region in the Philippines, Ms. Tauli-Corpuz founded and managed various NGOs involved in social awareness raising, community organizing, research and development work. She is a member and the chairperson-rapporteur of the Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations since l994, she was recently appointed as a Commissioner of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women, representing indigenous peoples.

Aminata D. Traoré (Mali); Author and Coordinator of the African Social Forum. Dr. Traoré previously served as Minister of Culture and Tourism and has been active in a number of important development issues, including North-South relations, bilateral and multilateral cooperation, water, health, gender issues and community development. She has promoted a number of non-governmental organizations concerned with local knowledge and values, and was among the co-organizers of the first African Social Forum, held in Bamako in January 2002.

Zwelinzima Vavi (South Africa); General Secretary of Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU). Mr. Vavi worked in a gold-mining territory of Klerksdrop and Orkney, and joined the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) as an organizer in 1987. In 1988, he became COSATU's regional secretary for the Western Transvaal. Four years later, he took up the position of National Organizing Secretary. Before taking his current position as General Secretary, he served as COSATU's Deputy General Secretary from 1993 to 1999.

Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker (Germany); Scientist and Parliamentarian. A member of the German Bundestag since 1998, Dr von Weizsaecker is currently Chairman of a Bundestag commission on "Globalization of the World Economy: Challenges and Answers". Trained in biology and physics, he has served as Director of the UN Centre for Science and Technology for Development and of the Institute for European Environmental Policy. He has been a member of the Club of Rome since 1991 and has written and published widely on public policy, environmental and energy related topics.