Representatives of governments, employers and workers,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a privilege to take part in this closing session of the International Labour Conference during this, the ILO’s 90th anniversary year.
I congratulate my friend Director-General Juan Somavia on his new mandate and look forward to his continued leadership.
Director-General Somavia has kept me informed about the work of your Conference which comes at such a critical time.
Economies are suffering. Anxiety is rising. People are hurting.
The challenge is clear.
As the Director-General said at the start of this Conference, we must “help workers, families and enterprises weather the crisis and build the foundation of a decent work path to recovery and sustainable growth.”
At this conference, you have made an essential contribution.
You have put the focus on employment-centered recovery.
You have mobilized world leaders to share their experiences and commit to action.
And you have emerged with a Global Jobs Pact.
When I addressed your Governing Body last November, I encouraged the ILO to expand its contribution to confronting the crisis.
You have met that challenge.
The Global Jobs Pact responds directly to the everyday worries of working women and men. It speaks to the concerns of enterprises large and small. It addresses the hopes of young people seeking opportunity as they enter this turbulent market.
In just a few days, the General Assembly of the United Nations will convene a summit on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development. That will be followed by the G8 Summit in Italy next month.
I will be there.
And I can assure you, so will the message of the Global Jobs Pact.
I will carry it with me – just as the Pact carries with it the hearts and hopes of people around the world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This pact is ours together. And we will work to maximize its potential throughout the UN system - including through the United Nations Chief Executives Board and the Economic and Social Council.
Once again, thank you for keeping the focus where it needs to be – decent work, a fair globalization, and sustainable growth for all.
Keep working for social justice.
Congratulations once again on a landmark conference.