Governing Body

Brazil’s Foreign Minister calls for a job-intensive economic recovery

Brazil’s Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said a new global governance was needed to protect the most vulnerable members of society from the adverse effects of the global economic crisis and called on the International Labour Organization (ILO) to continue to play a leading role in promoting a job-based recovery and a fairer globalization.

News | 17 November 2009

GENEVA (ILO News) – Brazil’s Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said a new global governance was needed to protect the most vulnerable members of society from the adverse effects of the global economic crisis and called on the International Labour Organization (ILO) to continue to play a leading role in promoting a job-based recovery and a fairer globalization.

“This is more than a banking and financial crisis; it is a crisis of dogmas”, said Mr. Amorim recalling President Lula’s words during the Global Jobs Summit that took place in Geneva last June, adding that “it is our duty to reform global governance and to protect the most vulnerable from the worst effects of the crisis. The ILO has a key role to play in this respect.”

Mr. Amorim, who was the keynote speaker at a meeting of the Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization of the ILO Governing Body currently in session here, said “it is not enough to say ‘we need to come out of the crisis.’ We need to come out of the crisis by creating jobs, decent jobs”.

He said the ILO Global Jobs Pact, adopted in June of this year by the tripartite constituents of the ILO, was particularly important since it placed anti-cyclical measures and social protection at the heart of recovery efforts. He said Brazil had introduced a resolution to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) integrating the Global Jobs Pact into all of the UN funds and programmes.

“The Pact is a reference for the whole UN System and Bretton Woods institutions. It is our responsibility to implement it both at the local and international levels”, he said. “It is our common duty to find a way out of the crisis, but the solutions depend on each specific case. There isn’t a single country that does not have any good examples to offer, and not a single country that has nothing to learn”.

ILO Director-General Juan Somavia echoed Mr. Amorim’s call for a job-intensive recovery and said “perhaps we should not even use the word recovery until we see the trend in unemployment move steadily downward. We at the ILO should develop the notion that recovery occurs when people feel the recovery, and people feel the recovery when the jobs are there”.

Mr. Somavia said it was time to apply the same efforts and policy creativity to create jobs and support enterprises that was deployed in saving banks and rescuing the financial system, adding “this is a fundamental yardstick by which the future evolution of this crisis will be looked at”.

The Chairperson of the Governing Body, Ambassador Maria Nazareth Farani Azevêdo of Brazil, emphasized that the presence of Minister Amorim was particularly important to inform the discussions of the Working Party on the new global economic order and on the efforts to overcome the present crisis.

“ILO, with its tripartism and comprehensive composition, has become a central, legitimate and indispensable player in the search for an economic recovery which combines, as its main elements, the advancement of production and the creation of decent jobs with social protection. And it is the ILO that must lead this process”, said Ambassador Farani Azevêdo.

Mr. Amorim said it was difficult to exaggerate the effect the global economic crisis was having in terms of rising poverty and unemployment. He welcomed the recent statement adopted by the G20 summit in Pittsburgh and stressed the importance of the ILO’s participation in the meeting. “By highlighting the human aspects of the crisis, the heads of state made it clear that the market, be it the financial or any other market, must not be an end in itself, but rather an instrument of the real economy”, he said.

He also referred to the important role of South-South cooperation in alleviating poverty and the impact of the economic crisis. He said Brazil was already cooperating with the ILO in the areas of social security and child labour in countries such as Haiti, Paraguay, Ecuador, Angola and East Timor. Mr Somavia said South-South cooperation was extremely important to the ILO and a useful mechanism to share lessons and experiences from the crisis.