Joint ILO-GTFA conference

Joint ILO-GTFA conference - Globalization and Employment: Global Shocks, Structural Change and Policy Response

Leaders from International Organizations, NGOs and academia met at this conference organized by the ILO and the GTFA project to discuss the employment implications of instability in global markets.

The world is in a fragile recovery from the most severe financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression. Surging public debts and deficits, resurging global imbalances, and continuing financial sector weakness are just a few of the challenges facing the post-crisis world economy. Unemployment rates remain high in many countries and are expected to stay high in industrialized nations even as the recovery unfolds. The ILO (2010) estimates that unemployment rates increased by more than 30 million in 2009 to a total 212 million unemployed.

Although the possibility of a sovereign debt crisis is now looming over the world economy, GDP growth has started to pick up in most regions and employment growth is following, albeit with a lag. One of the questions that arise during this recovery phase is whether the global economy will return back to "normal" or whether the global crisis has triggered structural changes that will affect the long term patterns of trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) flows with resulting effects on employment.

In this context, the International Labour Office– in collaboration with the Global Trade and Financial Architecture (GTFA) project, has organized a conference on the linkages between globalization and employment in the light of global shocks and structural change (See program below).

During the Event, the ILO launched a new publication publication entitled “Trade and Employment in the Global Crisis” by Marion Jansen co-ordinator of the ILO's Trade and Employment Programme and Erik von Uexkull, ILO Economist. The study analyses how cross-border trade has acted as a transmission channel, spreading the crisis to developing and emerging economies. Key topics covered include the role of export concentration in increasing labour markets' vulnerability to trade shocks, the effects of global price volatility on household and company investment decisions, the impact of the global slowdown on workers' and governments' bargaining power and the impact of negative trade shocks on gender inequality.

Program of the Conference

Morning session 1

Chair: Debapriya Bhattacharya (Special Adviser on Least Developed Countries, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

9:00 Opening remarks

  • José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Director, Employment Sector, International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Otaviano Canuto, Vice-President and Network Head, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, World Bank

9:30 Learning the Hard Way: The Great Trade Crash and the Employment Crisis (Part I)

Morning session 2

Chair: José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs (Executive Director, Employment Sector, ILO)

11:00 Learning the Hard Way: The Great Crash and the Employment Crisis (Part II)

Afternoon session 1

Chair: Fernando de Mateo (Ambassador, Mexico)

13:30 Structural change: The shift of Global Demand and Production as it Affects Trade and


Afternoon session 2:

Chair: Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz (Chief Executive, ICTSD)

15:30 Fine-Tuning Globalization: Policy Response and Adjustment

17:30 Closing remarks

  • Alejandro Jara, Director General, World Trade Organization
  • José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Director, Employment Sector, ILO
  • Otaviano Canuto, Vice-President and Network Head, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, World Bank

For further information on trade and employment, or to set up interviews with ILO experts please contact Mr. Erik von Uexkull at - +41 22 799 6734 - or visit the Trade and employment web page.