G20 informal Employment Working Group

G20 countries are leaders in shaping the future of work

In remarks at a meeting of the G20 Informal Employment Working Group at ILO headquarters in Geneva, ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, outlined the key issues facing a rapidly changing world of work.

Statement | 06 November 2018
Thank you very much indeed, Alejandra1

I can really be brief. I want firstly to welcome you all. It is a pleasure and honour for the ILO to host you for what is, I understand, the final meeting of the Employment Working Group of the Argentinian Presidency of the G20. I feel very pleased to be seated here between the past, present and the future – the German, the Argentinian and the Japanese Presidencies of the G20!

Alejandra, I believe I speak for everybody when I say that your Presidency year has been extremely productive and forward-looking, building on last year’s German Presidency, and permit me to congratulate you and your excellent team on all you have been able to do.

The adoption of theDeclaration of the Labour and Employment Ministers in Mendoza in September was the culmination of a year of collaboration among G20 countries on key issues, particularly around the theme of the future of work that is so present in this building and this organization. The Declaration continues to position the G20 countries as leaders in an on-going discussion of policy options to shape the future of work we want, and this is of course the theme of the centenary year at the ILO. The rapid changes affecting the world of work, as well as the need to reshape lifelong learning policies, strengthen social protection, achieve gender equality, and leave no one behind are very much at the centre of the Mendoza Declaration.

The endorsement in the Declaration of the “G20 Strategy to eradicate child labour, forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery in the world of work” was a particularly important milestone, one which Argentina has done much to bring about because you also hosted the world conference against child labour and forced labour in 2017. The Declaration also clearly states that a future that doesn’t give everyone an equal chance to live a decent life is unacceptable, as shown in the commitment to promote the participation of persons with disabilities in the labour market, and also the recognition of the need to enable women to participate equally in the digital economy.

In addition Argentina successfully steered us through an innovation introduced by your Presidency: the joint education and employment meetings and the adoption of the first ever Joint Declaration of Education and Employment Ministers. This was I believe a significant investment of political capital from Argentina and a highly relevant initiative that supports enhanced policy coherence across member states. This whole of government approach essential if we are to meet the skills development needs of the future.

Given the relevance and high quality of the collective work of the Employment Working Group, the themes that you dealt with this year should resonate clearly with your Leaders when they meet in 3 weeks’ time in Buenos Aires. The two Declarations give them a wealth of key points to emphasize in the G20 Leaders’ Communique, however succinctly that might happen. We have put on the table a strong commitment to decent work, formalizing labour markets, and innovative employment and social policies - particularly those that address skills gaps and accelerate progress towards gender equality. These seem to me to be very important building blocks for a strong Communiqué.

Looking ahead, the incoming team for the Japanese Presidency will have the task of continuing to facilitate the discussion among G20 members of key challenges and policy priorities in the context of rapid change in the world of work, demographic challenge, rising inequalities and very much more. I am sure that under the leadership of Japan, and Assistant Minister Asada , the Employment Working Group will be able, once again, to forge a consensus on what collective actions in the world of work should be taken to make progress towards making fairer and more inclusive societies possible. Let me say to the Assistant Minister that, as in previous years, the full support of the ILO is available to you and to the Japanese Presidency.

So once again, congratulations on the Argentinian G20 Presidency, which has raised many issues that I am sure will be continued in the coming year, given the appetite of the G20 for continuity and accountability. I am sure these are matters you will address further today and in the future.

Thank you very much.

 1Ms Alejandra Kern, Under Secretary of Social and Labour Policy Planning in the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security of Argentina.