G20 Summit

ILO head calls for setting the global economy on a faster and more inclusive development trajectory

Statement | Hangzhou, China | 05 September 2016
Thank you Mr President.

A number of Leaders have spoken yesterday and this morning of the frustration or even anger of many of their citizens that they have not shared fairly in the benefits of globalization and economic growth in recent years. And consequently of the anxiety and fear with which many of those citizens view the future.

The imperative of setting the interconnected global economy on a faster and more inclusive development trajectory is urgently and widely felt as are the dangerous consequences of failure.

Indeed the ILO’s near century-old founding principle that social justice is the guarantee of lasting peace and stability appears today not as a historic footnote but rather as a harsh and uncomfortable political reality.

The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is the international community’s response. And with its strong commitment to leave nobody behind, it is surely the right one. It merits and it requires our collective efforts to ensure its successful implementation.

And because it is a universal agenda the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda is crucially important to joining its own efforts to those of other countries.

All the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are important, and we know they are interconnected. But strikingly, and surely not fortuitously one of the SDGs is referenced in the G20 Action Plan more than any of the others: that is SDG 8 on inclusive growth and decent work for all. And that reflects our discussions in Hangzhou this week.

And here our starting point is not the one we would have chosen. Worldwide unemployment and underemployment is high and rising, wage incomes are stagnant and inequality is rising as well. Of particular concern is that after 3 years of some improvement youth unemployment is on the rise again, likely to reach 13.1% this year. That is 71 million young people without work around the world. And some 36% of youth who are in work are nevertheless still in poverty.

To them this must look a lot like the opposite of inclusive growth.

So when policy-makers consider fiscal and monetary options, the nature and intent of structural reform, the embracing of innovation and the expansion of trade, it needs to be with deliberate consideration of equity and inclusion in mind.

The 2030 Agenda itself provides good guidance on this, as does the Beijing Declaration of your Labour and Employment Ministers and what it says on entrepreneurship, employability, apprenticeships, sustainable wage policy, and equitable and sustainable social protection systems.

The input of the Business-20 and the Labour-20 contributed importantly to your Ministers’ deliberations, underlining that social dialogue is a key to translating global agreements and declarations into practical solutions.

Thank you.