BUSAN, Republic of Korea (ILO News) - Worker, employer and government leaders concluded the 14th Asian Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organization (ILO) today by launching an "Asian Decent Work Decade" aimed at linking the goal of decent work with the global poverty reduction agenda.
The delegates, representing Asian, Pacific and Arab ILO member States also committed to promoting "tangible" policy measures to better ensure that economic growth translates into productive employment and decent work for all.
"Our focus is enhancing productivity, competitiveness and growth," said Juan Somavia, Director-General of the ILO. "The answer isn't charity, giveaways or handouts. The best social programme is a decent job. The dignity and reward of honest hard work, that's what people want."
Conclusions adopted by over 400 government, worker and employer delegates at the ILO meeting said that the region's member States would "commit to an Asian Decent Work Decade - for the period up to 2015 - during which we will make a concentrated and sustained effort to progressively realize decent work in all countries of our diverse continent".
Delegates said the Decent Work Decade could also make an important contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to reduce poverty by the year 2015. The Decade will promote the ILO's Decent Work Agenda which stands on the pillars of rights at work, employment, social protection and social dialogue.
"We resolve to ensure that Asia continues to provide global policy leadership in making decent work for all a central objective of our relevant national and international policies as well as our national development strategies," the conclusions said.
The conclusions noted that the ILO's Decent Work Agenda has become integrated into the national agendas of many countries, as well as the international development agenda.
Delegates strongly endorsed the Outcome Document of the UN World Summit in 2005 and the Ministerial Declaration of the high-level segment of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in July 2006.
"We are convinced that the ILO's Decent Work Agenda can contribute to a sustainable route out of poverty, assist in addressing the growing economic inequalities both within and between countries in the region, and thus, make an important contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals," the conclusions said. "The Decent Work Agenda also enables progress towards a fair globalization in which the goals of economic efficiency and social equity are well-balanced." In addition the delegates said initiatives to bolster the ILO's Decent Work Country Programmes at the regional level should be encouraged. Amongst the priorities identified by the meeting for national and regional action are:
- ratification and respect for core labour standards;
- sustainable productivity growth and economic competitiveness;
- decent work opportunities, especially in the informal economy and rural areas;
- support services for small- and medium-sized enterprises;
- education, training and lifelong learning for employability;
- decent work opportunities and access to entrepreneurship for young women and men, along with measures to combat child labour;
- improved dialogue on all aspects of labour migration;
- effective labour market governance including labour/management cooperation and strengthened labour inspection and employment services;
- gender equality and action to meet the needs of vulnerable workers;
- extended coverage of social protection;
- improved occupational safety and health.
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