ILO Forum on Decent Work for a Fair Globalization

The ILO Forum on Decent Work for a Fair Globalization focused on the analysis and promotion of the Decent Work concept and the Decent Work Agenda as the key for economic, social and environmental sustainability and as a contribution to the shaping of a fair and inclusive globalization. The Forum was hosted by the Government of Portugal, the country currently holding the Presidency of the European Union. It was also supported by the European Commission.


strengthening education, training and employability,

upgrading the informal economy,

managing labour migration,

expanding social security,

decent jobs for young women and men

addressing the issue of policy coherence in the international system.

Para 47 of the Outcome Document of the UN World Summit 2005

The World Commission’s proposal to hold a Forum was widely welcomed, and the ILO Governing Body approved its celebration in November 2007, with the support of the Government of Portugal and the European Commission.

The Forum facilitated a substantive and wide-ranging discussion on fair and inclusive globalization and decent work. It registered the progress made towards a fairer globalization since the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization published its report in 2004. At the same time it resonated with the concern that progress remained uneven, inequalities and decent work deficits still affected too many people in too many countries, and confidence in the institutions tasked to govern globalization was weak. Against that scenario, the Forum brought up evidence of a fresh commitment to stronger social policies in both developing and developed countries, pointing out cases of success of policies and programmes for decent work, new promising approaches, and areas where policy development was further required. The need for greater coherence of relevant national and international policies was a recurring motif.

Many ideas and suggestions came out of the discussion, which should inspire policy-makers and stakeholders and prompt them into more decisive action. The information and opinions expressed at the Forum will be looked at in detail by the Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization of the ILO Governing Body in its March 2008 session, to consider how they could contribute to greater effectiveness of the activities of the organisation.

Two parallel events were held in the course of the Lisbon Forum that showed concretely how the interest in an open discussion on the issues related to decent work for a fair globalization went beyond the usual ILO networks.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) organized the participation of a number of parliamentarians to the Forum and on 31 October 2007 convened a separate meeting of parliamentarians to discuss how best the IPU could facilitate parliamentary action on decent work for a fair globalization and extend its cooperation with the ILO. Their conclusions were presented at a plenary session of the Forum in a panel of parliamentarians.

An international meeting on “Putting the puzzle together: policy coherence for decent work” was also organized in Lisbon on 31 October 2007 by the International Trade Union Confederation and the European Trade Union Confederation in collaboration with the Global Progressive Forum, Solidar and Social Alert International. The participants took the occasion of the ILO Forum to launch a “Call to Action for Decent Work” in the form of a petition to build on the global campaign “Decent Work – Decent Life” that got underway at the World Social Forum in Nairobi in 2006. The Call to Action will be publicised throughout the world and the signatures collected will be presented to decision-makers at key international events.