G7 Biarritz Summit

ILO welcomes G7 prioritization of inequality

ILO Director-General Ryder emphasized at the G7 Leaders’ Summit that the tools to tackle inequality already exist, and that concrete measures are needed across a range of policy areas.

News | 26 August 2019
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BIARRITZ, France (ILO News) – ILO Director-General Guy Ryder has welcomed the G7 Leaders’ focus on inequality and has stressed that immediate action is needed to support greater equity.

“The general consensus now is that inequalities – social, economic and political – are a problem, but we haven’t moved to action, and things have stayed at the level of good intentions”, said Ryder. “We must intervene now to achieve change.”

Ryder, who attended the three-day G7 summit in Biarritz, France, said that the fight against inequality strongly aligned with the ILO’s mandate for social justice, most recently expressed in the ILO’s Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, adopted at the International Labour Conference in June.

We must intervene now to achieve change."

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General
“If we accept that two of the main drivers of inequality are technology and the changing bargaining relationships inherent in globalization, then without change to our policies, we will just get more of the same,” added Ryder, noting that “inequality comes out of labour markets, making what is done at national level extraordinarily important. We do have the instruments to make a difference.”

He recalled that the G7’s labour and employment ministers meeting (known this year as the G7 Social), held in Paris in June, called for greater multilateral dialogue on inequalities, as did the statement of the G7 social partners (workers’ and employers’ organizations). “We need better linkages and more coherence between institutions dealing with labour, trade and financial policies,” Ryder said. “On that basis then maybe we can achieve effective change.”

Ryder drew attention to the importance of placing the issues on the agenda of the Paris Peace Forum in November.

The Director-General applauded the prominence given to environmental issues during the summit, and the leaders’ commitment to provide US$20 million to help fight the Amazon forest fires.

He praised the Biarritz Declaration for a G7 & Africa Partnership, which commits to promoting women’s entrepreneurship in Africa, a digital transformation, and enhanced transparency in public procurement and to combat corruption.

The ILO also welcomed the opportunity offered by the Summit to engage with the G7 members to promote sustainable growth and fight inequalities, noting that stronger cooperation with the G7 and other international organizations could increase efficiency, impact and the ability of institutions to deliver on their mandates, and expressed its strong support for the joint statement adopted in that regard.