CDB-ILO symposium to focus on economic and employment recovery in wake of global economic crisis

News | 20 January 2011
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) will jointly host a regional symposium to discuss economic and labour market recovery responses to the crisis, based on the ILO's Global Jobs Pact. The symposium will be held on 25-26 January 2011 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Conference Centre, Barbados under the theme "Addressing the effects of the global economic crisis on labour markets in the Caribbean and preparing for sustainable and decent employment: the role of the Global Jobs Pact."

The Symposium will bring together for the first time, ministers and senior officials of the Finance and Labour Ministries from across the Caribbean as well as representatives of employers' and workers' organizations, the United Nations System, academia and international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Inter-American Development Bank. Papers will be presented by the International Monetary Fund, University of the West Indies, CDB and the ILO.

Barbados' Minister of Labour, Dr. the Honourable Esther Byer-Suckoo will deliver the feature address at the opening ceremony on Tuesday 25 January 2011. Other speakers will include Dr. Compton Bourne, President of the CDB, Sir Roy Trotman, Worker Vice-Chair of the Governing Body of the ILO, Mr. Marcel Mayer, President, Caribbean Employers' Confederation and Senator David Massiah, President of the Caribbean Congress of Labour.

The aim of the Symposium is to discuss the impact of the crisis on labour markets, and examine policies and programmes to stimulate trade, investment and competitiveness while supporting employment growth and social protection measures. The ILO's Global Jobs Pact will be used as the roadmap for promoting a productive recovery centred on the Decent Work Agenda - an Agenda which focuses on employment creation, social protection, social dialogue and respect for rights at work. The Pact was developed in June 2009 by governments, employers' and workers' organizations of ILO member States as a global policy instrument to address the social and employment impact of the economic crisis and to prepare for sustained post-crisis recovery.

The Symposium comes at a time when most Caribbean countries are reeling from the effects of the global economic crisis. Economic activity in the region declined sharply since the onset of the crisis in 2008, occasioned by a contraction in global demand, falling commodity prices, declining tourism, lower levels of remittances and slow foreign direct investment flows. Overall gross domestic product for the region is estimated to have declined by 1.4 per cent in 2009. With falling economic growth rates came rising unemployment and job losses, especially acute in the largely tourism-dependant Caribbean economies. The crisis has also affected the most vulnerable of the population.

The idea to host such a Symposium was put forward by Dr. Compton Bourne, when he addressed the Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization of the Governing Body of the ILO, Geneva, in March 2010. He spoke on the impact of the global economic crisis on developing economies and the role of the multilateral development banks.