Press release

President of Finland says that ILO values and policies are needed more than ever

In an address at the opening of the 100th annual Conference of the International Labour Organization, Finnish President Tarja Halonen cited the “absence of social justice” in the world, and said the ILO’s “values and policies are needed more than ever to create “a world with fewer tensions, greater fairness and strengthened security.”

Press release | 01 June 2011

GENEVA (ILO news) – In an address at the opening of the 100th annual Conference of the International Labour Organization, Finnish President Tarja Halonen cited the “absence of social justice” in the world, and said the ILO’s “values and policies are needed more than ever to create “a world with fewer tensions, greater fairness and strengthened security.”

Addressing some 3000 government, employer and worker delegates on the opening day of the Organization’s International Labour Conference, President Halonen said “the core conventions adopted by the Organization remain highly topical. Still, a great deal remains to be done in their national implementation in many parts of the world. These basic rights must be respected when we look for means to advance the global economy”.

Ms. Halonen also recalled the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization established by the ILO that she had co-chaired, and noted that it had led to results at the United Nations’ World Summit in 2005 and contributed to the adoption in 2008 of the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization that “now defines the strategic objectives of the ILO.”

“On this basis, it has been possible to address the impacts of globalization including the requirement of access to decent work,” she said. “The ILO has been active to ensure that issues of working life are taken into account in the debate on the global economy – and now also in the work of the G20 countries”.

Noting that the World Commission, had recommended that “work towards a fairer globalization begins at home,” she added that Finland and the other Nordic countries, had based their systems on “the welfare society model” while remaining “among the most competitive countries in the world ... Governments, labour market organizations and other key partners should agree on national measures which guarantee that the benefits of globalization can be fully utilised”.

Ms. Halonen also stressed the need for close cooperation between different international organizations, saying “I consider that an intense interaction between such organizations as the ILO, the UN Conference on Trade and Development and the World Trade Organization would provide a solid basis for global solutions. At the global level, we need a better coherence among different objectives and actions and a common understanding on how to achieve our goals”.