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"Employment fuels development"

The newly elected Chairman of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office (ILO), Carlos A. Tomada says employment should be seen as an important element of democratic stability and the fight against poverty. The link between employment, democracy and poverty will be on top of the agenda of the next Summit of the Americas scheduled in November in the Argentine city of Mar del Plata.

Article | 28 June 2005

GENEVA (ILO Online) - "Economic growth, income distribution and social cohesion cannot be attained without decent work", said Carlos A. Tomada when he was elected Chairman of the Governing Body of the ILO for its 2005-06 Session.

The Argentine Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security said that one of the objectives of his chairmanship of the executive body of the ILO will be "to make any possible effort in favour of decent work becoming central to the agenda of all countries".

Mr. Tomada replaces the French government delegate Philippe Séguin who served as Governing Body Chairman during the 2004-05 Session.

In an interview with ILO Online, the Minister referred to the new session of the Governing Body as "very promising". According to Tomada, "each day we can find more sectors, regions and countries understanding that employment is not just a variable depending on economic decisions".

"Employment is fuelling development and should be considered as one of the building blocks of economic growth", says the Chairman of the Governing Body who served Argentina as Minister of Labour in 2003 when the country was confronted with the challenge of "the worst social crisis in its history". Mr. Tomada is a lawyer with a 30 year experience in labour issues. In the past, he headed the Argentine delegation and served it as a technical advisor.

It is the first time that Argentina, one of the founding members of the ILO, assumes the chairmanship of the Governing Body. The executive council of the ILO meets three times annually, in March, June and November. It takes decisions on ILO policy, sets up the agenda of the International Labour Conference and establishes the program and budget of the Organization to be adopted by the Conference.

The Governing Body is composed of 56 titular members (28 Governments, 14 Employers and 14 Workers), and 66 deputy members (28 Governments, 19 Employers and 19 Workers).

The Minister said that the need to create more and better employment was repeatedly on the political agenda of Latin American countries over the last years. This was also one of the reasons why the coming Fourth Summit of the Americas was dedicated to "Creating Employment to Fight Poverty and Strengthen Democratic Governance".

The meeting scheduled on 4-5 November in the Argentine seaside resort Mar del Plata will bring together political leaders from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. A declaration and a plan of action are expected at the end of the meeting. According to Mr. Tomada, "the political will behind this meeting is already a good start".

"We all know that democratic governance and high levels of poverty are the two main social problems in our region and we think that we can address these problems through employment creation", Mr. Tomada said.

He recalled that 2005 was the year in which the Summit was supposed to sign the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) but this was not going to happen now. "We moved from the original purpose of the meeting to the need to create employment", Mr. Tomada explained. According to the Minister, many countries in the region already suffer from high levels of social exclusion and impoverishment and only by solving these problems "we can attain sustainable democracies".

The next meeting of the Governing Body chaired by Mr. Tomada is scheduled for November in Geneva, shortly after the Mar del Plata Summit.