High-Level Regional Forum on Responding to the Economic Crisis - Coherent Policies for Growth, Employment and Decent Work in Asia and the Pacific

In coping with the current crisis, most countries in Asia and the Pacific benefit from sound financial institutions and a record of sustained growth and macroeconomic stability. Poverty however remains widespread and systems of social protection are fragile and underdeveloped. Even a slight decline in the rates of economic growth can have dramatic social repercussions, particularly among vulnerable sectors and groups. Social distress intersects with political instabilities and tensions. A strong Asian response to the crisis is a critical component of the strategy to set the global economy on a sustainable path out of recession.

Objectives of the Forum

The International Labour Office (ILO) in collaboration with the ADB and the Department of Labour and Employment of the Philippines is convening this High-Level Regional Forum in order to strengthen commitment to coherent national and international policies for recovery and a sustainable route towards a fair and inclusive globalization. The Forum is part of a series of similar gatherings the ILO is organizing throughout all regions. It is organized by the ILO with the support of the Government of Norway and the cooperation of the Department of Labour and Employment of the Philippines.

The High Level Forum will draw on the outcomes of the ILO Governing Body’s Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization in November 2008, which called for comprehensive and coordinated measures to minimize the duration and depth of the current economic downturn and combat negative social consequences. The discussion in Manila will be of special importance in reinforcing the Decent Work Agenda in Asia and the Pacific. Promoting the Decent Work Agenda’s four pillars - employment, social protection, fundamental principles and rights at work and social dialogue – provides a platform for an effective and balanced policy package to respond to the economic crisis.

The forum will provide a timely opportunity to share knowledge on the social dimension of the financial and economic crisis and to discuss the policy tools, the coordinating mechanisms and the scope of national economic and social strategies to deal with them. The main outcomes will be a set of recommendations to provide policy-makers in the region with guidance about priorities and ideas for comprehensive programmes of action at the national and regional level.