ECOSOC 2012 e-discussion: Jobs, Decent Work and Inclusive Growth

On line discussion on “Jobs, Decent Work and Inclusive Growth” organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO),the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). In order to register, follow the discussion and contribute your comments, please send an email to

In the lead-up to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Annual Ministerial Review, to be held in New York in July later this year, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have launched an e-discussion on "Jobs, Decent Work and Inclusive Growth", to be hosted by the UNDP TeamWorks online platform. The e-discussion, which will be held 8 February – 14 March and moderated jointly by ILO and UNDP, will examine public policies which can support aggregate demand, foster enterprise development and create decent jobs. The discussion will provide recommendations to Member States on measures that can be undertaken to address the global employment challenges.

By interacting online with experts, practitioners and scholars from around the world to formulate critical policy messages and concrete recommendations for the 2012 Annual Ministerial Review, you can help to ensure that the final agreement reflects a diversity of contexts, experiences and perspectives. In order to register, follow the discussion and contribute your comments, please send an email to

Background and programme

2012 will be an important turning point for addressing the worst consequences of the global jobs crisis. It is also the time to examine the possible solutions to the persisting structural problems in labour markets of many economies that – if not tackled – are not likely to be solved by economic recovery. In July, ECOSOC will hold its Annual Ministerial Review in New York, to assess the progress on the international development agenda, with a special focus on the promotion of productive capacity, employment and decent work as tools for reducing poverty, moving towards sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In this context, the e-discussion presents an important opportunity to shape the contours of the debate in July and influence the resulting agreement among participating government ministers.

Part I of the discussion: “Recovery plans through decent work”

Participants will focus on using decent work as the tool for recovery. The world employment outlook is grim. In many developed countries, unemployment and precarious work is rising. Underemployment, casual and informal work remain predominant in many developing countries. Improving the economic outlook depends to a large extent on turning around the employment trends. Yet, labour markets are suffering from the weakness of global aggregate demand. This constitutes what many economists call a "negative feedback loop". How do we alter the direction of this "loop"? How can we make the relationship between growth and employment mutually reinforcing?

During the second week of this discussion, participants will address the issue of informality in Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SMEs)

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises comprise the vast majority of businesses in most countries and are often responsible for the majority of job creation, but their productivity varies widely. In many developing countries, more than 90 per cent of SMEs employ less than 10 workers, most of whom operate in an informal setting without legal recognition or registration and limited or no access to labour regulation and social insurance. The drivers of informality are multiple and include a high incidence of poverty and these enterprises are plagued by saturated markets as well as limited access to finance, infrastructure, information, value chains, skills etc. How then, should the main constraints to higher productivity and better quality of jobs be addressed? Can a gradual transition out of informality be promoted? How can social protection of informal workers be ensured?

Part II: “Creating employment opportunities through inclusive growth”

Participants will focus on the development of inclusive policies that foster the creation of productive and decent jobs and strategies to include women and young people in the labour market.