ILO Statement to the 50th Commission for Social Development

Promotion of GDP growth alone will not alleviate poverty

The macro agenda must be transformed to include more and broader objectives. An efficient model for growth and decent work at the center requires the integration of macroeconomic policy strategies with employment and social policy.

Statement | New York | 02 February 2012
Mr. Chair,

The outcome of the World Summit for Social Development represented a landmark breakthrough in the development paradigm, with the realization that poverty eradication cannot be achieve by pursuing economic development alone, but that people must be placed at the centre of development through the pursuit of equally strong social policies. Since Copenhagen, rapid globalization coupled with the financial and economic crises has put increasing pressure on economies. Today, some 900 million workers are living with their families below the US$ 2 a day poverty line. Despite strenuous government efforts, the jobs crisis continues unabated, with one in three workers worldwide—or an estimated 1.1 billion people—either unemployed or living in poverty. The recovery that started in 2009 has been short-lived, with 27 million more unemployed workers than at the start of the crisis.

Behind these figures are real lives, mothers and fathers without the means to support their families, young people with little hope or prospect of a better future. The Decent Work Agenda continues to provide an efficient model for breaking the cycle of poverty by creating new opportunities for economic growth and social justice. Lesson learnt from the global economic and jobs crisis reaffirm the need for a forward-looking transformative agenda for poverty eradication which directly targets job creation and productivity growth in the real economy. Special attention must be given to both the quantity and quality of jobs since millions are working yet barely surviving, often in the informal economy, in conditions that are antithetical to any notion of human dignity. The ILO Global Jobs Pact provides a comprehensive policy portfolio to promote a productive recovery in the labour market and achieve long term sustainability.

An efficient model for growth with decent work at the center requires the integration of employment and social policies with macroeconomic policy strategies. The promotion of GDP growth alone is not sufficient to eradicate poverty. The macro agenda must be transformed to include more and broader objectives than inflations targeting. It should be employment-friendly, promote financial inclusion especially for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, and increase the fiscal space for investments in social development including social protection floors.

With nearly 80 per cent of the people of our planet living without any access to social protection to help them cope with life’s risks, poverty eradication will remain a distant challenges. The ILO, in cooperation with other UN agencies is working towards the goal of eradicating extreme poverty worldwide through programs that combine transfer of resources, access to basic services and productive inclusion in the form of national social protection floors. When well-designed and linked to other policies, social protection enhances productivity, employability and supports economic development.

The International Labour Conference recognized at its 100th Session in June 2011 the nee for a new international Instrument on national Social Protection Floors, which was one of the recommendations of the Report of the high level advisory Group of the Social Protection Floors Initiative, chaired by Ms. Bachelet entitle, “Social protection Floor for a Fair and Inclusive Globalization”. The Elaboration of a Recommendation on national social protection floors will take place at the International Labour Conference in June 2012.

Mr. Chair,

The ILO has been actively participating in cooperation with UN-DESA and partner UN agencies, to build policy coherence through the development and implementation of the UN system-wide plan of action for the 2nd Decade for the Eradication of Poverty—with the theme “full employment and decent work for all”. This undertaking has provided an additional means of recognizing the policy interactions of various UN agencies while helping to identify mutually reinforcing impacts on employment for poverty eradication.

The ILO is committed to playing a decisive role in t organizing a new approach to working out of poverty and pursuing a new era of job-rich inclusive growth and social justice. We look forward to an ambitious political outcome of this Commission.

I thank you.