GENEVA (ILO News) – In a message to the annual Conference of the International Labour Organization, ILO Director-General Juan Somavia called for “reactivating the real economy and creating jobs” as the key to emerging from the global economic crisis.
“The only sustainable way out of the crisis is by reactivating the real economy and creating employment,” Mr. Somavia said. “There is no other way. Despite the multiple uncertainties we face, we cannot lose this focus”.
“The world faces not only a fiscal deficit, but also a huge deficit of decent work,” Mr. Somavia said. “Underemployment remains very high and the informal economy is widening. The most vulnerable sectors and the middle classes in many countries are highly insecure. Progress in equality between men and women is at risk if employment opportunities for women deteriorate. And young people everywhere are wondering where they can find a job.”
He also called for promoting “productive investment, sustainable enterprises, decent work, fair wages, and rising consumption and fiscal income, which lead to growth”.
“In a couple of weeks, leaders of the G20 will meet in Toronto,” Mr. Somavia said. “I hope that they will build on the decisions taken at the summit of Pittsburgh under the leadership of President Obama, when they placed “quality jobs at the heart of recovery”.
Mr. Somavia spoke as leaders from the real economy – government, labour, employers and civil society – prepared to address the impact of the current economic and jobs crises on employment policy and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) during two high-level panels convened especially for the Conference.