ILO Statement to the Second Committee of the 66th General Assembly

ILO calls for jobs-intensive growth model

A pro-employment macroeconomic framework is needed which sets explicit quantitative employment targets at national and international levels.

Statement | New York | 19 October 2011
Mr. Chair,

In a world in which nearly 40 per cent of the labour force and the families they support are living on less than $2 per day, where the level of productive employment remains stagnant, precarious and informal jobs are rising, real wages are declining, and economic growth is not being matched by employment creation, the advantages of globalization are too distant for too many and the risks are all too real.

The quest for a fair globalization that meets the simple and legitimate aspirations for decent jobs and a better future for all remains a serious challenge. The ILO initiated, World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization reported back in 2004 that globalization’s “potential for good is immense” and that it “has opened the door to many benefits … promoted open societies and open economies and encouraged a freer exchange of goods, ideas and knowledge.” Nevertheless, “deep-seated and persistent imbalances in the current workings of the global economy are ethically unacceptable and politically unsustainable … and we need to urgently rethink our current policies and institutions.” These are just a few of the report’s messages that remain uncannily relevant today.

Mr. Chair,

The world needs a more efficient, job-intensive growth model. We must recognize that success cannot be measured in terms of economic growth alone. A pro-employment macroeconomic framework is needed which sets explicit quantitative employment targets at national and international levels. This was a clear message resonating from the 12th ILO African Regional Meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa last week. Policies that create jobs, produced real growth, read demand, provide basic social protection and generate fiscal income to finance development goals should be pursued. We can no longer allow a financial market driven by profits to overshadow the development needs of the real economy. Policies such as those contained in the Global Jobs Pact, which target productive investments in job-generating sustainable enterprises and which place people at the center of development must be expanded.

Promoting decent work opportunities’ for the youth should become a global priority. Targeted efforts are needed to address the known mismatch between skills and education and the jobs available. Full, productive and freely chosen employment for young people requires long-term, coherent and concerted action over a wide range of economic and social policies that create enough job opportunities to meet the demands of the growing labour force.

Continued priority should also be given to policies and programmes that protect the most vulnerable and poorest through the expansion and development of social protection floors. Social protection is a prerequisite for long-term equitable and sustainable development. In countries with limited fiscal space, particularly in LDCs, the introduction of elements of a Floor should be gradually pursued. The ILO’s International Financial and Actuarial Service (ILO FACTS), stands ready to assist governments in developing their own capacity for quantitative planning and to improve the management and governance of their social protection floors. This actuarial analysis can help determine where and how to target spending to meet specific development goals. A major report of the Social Protection Floor Advisory Group, chair by former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet and convened by the ILO with the collaboration of WHO, entitled, “Social protection floor for a fair and inclusive globalization” will be officially launched here at the United Nations on 27 October and will serve as an opportunity to continue the discussion on the Social Protection Floor Initiative.

Finally, I would like to emphasize that policy formulation and implementation for a fairer globalization that leads to more efficient growth, must be based on social dialogue and pursue the ratification and application of ILO Conventions along with strong labour administration and inspection. Experience shows that broad participation and ownership of policy frameworks is essential for equitable and sustainable development.

Mr. Chair,

Building a fairer and more inclusive globalization must become a worldwide priority. The ILO has a wealth of distinctive experience and knowledge in the area of employment and decent work and stands ready to partner with Member States, UN agencies as well as international and regional organizations in a new era of growth, development and social justice.

I thank you.