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G20 Leaders' Summit - St Petersburg

Jobs and Growth in focus at G20 Summit

G20 leaders marked a shift toward measures that would support a more inclusive pattern of growth.

Press release | 06 September 2013
Vladimir Putin and Guy Ryder
at the G20 leader's summit in
Saint Petersburg
SAINT PETERSBURG – ILO Director-General Guy Ryder welcomed the recognition by G20 Leaders that more must be done to reduce unemployment, which is hitting record levels in many G20 countries, and to tackle the underemployment that is slowing poverty reduction in many developing and emerging economies.

“Tackling the global jobs crisis is a human, social and political imperative and is key to raising global demand and so the commitment of the G20 leaders is a very important step to improving economic performance”, said the ILO chief. “Good social and employment policies are good economics.”

In their final communique the G20 say that the group’s most urgent need is “to increase the momentum of the global recovery, generate higher growth and better jobs, while strengthening the foundations for long-term growth and avoiding policies that could cause the recovery to falter or promote growth at other countries’ expense.”

There was also a broad-ranging discussion between the G20 leaders and representatives from employers and workers. Russian President Vladimir Putin told a meeting with the ‘Business 20’ and ‘Labour 20’ that the G20 agreed with both groups that more had to be done on employment and job creation. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta added that while the group had difficult discussions and were divided on other matters, the G20 was united on jobs-rich growth and on the role of social partnerships in meeting G20 goals.

Recognizing that coordination is needed at both the national and international levels, the Russian Presidency of the G20 organized in July the first joint meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Employment and Labour Ministers. The bringing together of ministers who normally focus on the demand side of the economy and of labour markets with colleagues who typically focus on the supply side of labour markets led to an important breakthrough.

The G20 heads endorsed their ministers’ recommendations at the Saint Petersburg summit and called upon the two groups of Ministers “to work together (...) to deliver on implementation of this commitment with the support of the ILO, the OECD and the World Bank Group to identify (...) effective measures for more inclusive labour markets.”

Amidst a weakening of growth in a number of emerging economies and fragile recovery in advanced ones, the G20 recognized that “too many of our citizens have yet to participate in the economic expansion” and the summit marked a shift toward measures that would support a more inclusive pattern of growth, such as investing in infrastructure, making financing available for enterprises, especially SMEs, and the role of social protection as one of the foundations for sustainable, job-creating economic growth. “To prevent the risk of a slide into a low growth trap, the G20 is rightly putting emphasis on strengthening demand and making growth more inclusive,” said Ryder.

“The real test for the G20 five years after the onset of the global financial crisis is whether commitments made at summits are acted upon when leaders get home”, added Ryder. Together with its sister organizations, the ILO has been asked to analyze the recent experience of G20 countries and identify the policies that have been successful in creating more and better jobs, promoting labour formalization, reducing inequality, ensuring effective social protection and labour market adaptability. “These have been our priorities, and it is good to know that our intensified work on empirical evidence and policy will contribute to the actions of this important global forum”, concluded the ILO chief.