“Bahia Agenda” for decent work presented at ILO annual conference ─ Governor Wagner calls for “inclusion through decent work”

The Governor of the Brazilian State of Bahia Jacques Wagner today presented the world’s first state-level Decent Work initiative at the annual conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) here. The plan was created with support from employers and workers and is considered an innovative model to generate more and better jobs.

Press release | 10 June 2008

GENEVA (ILO News) ─ The Governor of the Brazilian State of Bahia Jacques Wagner today presented the world’s first state-level Decent Work initiative at the annual conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) here. The plan was created with support from employers and workers and is considered an innovative model to generate more and better jobs.

“The best social programme we can have is one that implies inclusion through decent work”, Mr. Wagner said during the presentation of the “Agenda Bahia” at the 97th International Labour Conference. The Governor added that the idea to have a breakthrough plan at the state level is related to the fact that “people live and work in a territory, in a municipality, in a state”.

Also participating in the event was ILO Director-General Juan Somavia, Brazilian Minister of Labour Carlos Lupi and representatives of workers and employers from Brazil, members of the Parliament of that country and delegates attending the ILO’s tripartite conference.

The ILO and the Government of Bahia signed a technical cooperation protocol to support the implementation of the agenda that seeks to address the four pillars of decent work: respect for fundamental principles and rights at work, creation of more and better jobs, extension of social protection and the promotion of social dialogue, with a cross-cutting goal of promoting gender and racial equality.

Mr. Somavia noted the “innovative character “of the Bahia programme and the fact that it shows how a “global agenda can have local roots” and added that it also shows how proposals originally designed at the international level “can be put into practice in a space where people actually live”.

The Director-General also said this is the first experience at the state level and predicted that “it’s not going to be the last”, adding that it could be used “as a stimulus and inspiration for other countries and regions.” Mr. Somavia also underlined the fact that “Agenda Bahia” had been approved with “political will and commitment at the highest level” and confirmed that the ILO will continue to support this process.

“I think we are making history”, Mr. Somavia said.

Governor Wagner said it was inconceivable to “think of another way of building a better world than through giving value to the world of work”, and said he hoped that the Agenda Bahia “helps other governments promote the same kind of initiatives”.

The Agenda is organized around eight main issues: domestic work; occupational safety and health; youth employment; eradication of child labour; public administration; promotion of equality; eradication of forced labour; and bio-fuels.

The process of the “Agenda Bahia” was launched in December 2007 and was supported by other governmental institutions and representatives of workers, employers and civil society with the technical support of the ILO.

In addition to Minister Lupi, employer representative Dagoberto Lima Godoy and worker representative Nair Goulart all expressed tripartite support for the programme.