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ILO Governing Body

ILO Governing Body concludes discussions on policy responses to global economic and jobs crisis

The International Labour Office Governing Body concluded its discussions on the financial and economic global crisis, recommending a series of measures aimed at mitigating its impact and shaping a sustainable recovery.

Press release | 27 March 2009

GENEVA (ILO News) – The International Labour Office (ILO) Governing Body concluded its discussions on the financial and economic global crisis, recommending a series of measures aimed at mitigating its impact and shaping a sustainable recovery.

In a report on the high-level tripartite discussions on the crisis, the ILO listed a series of next steps, including:

• Calling on the upcoming Group of 20 meeting in London to increase its focus on the jobs and social dimensions of the global economic crisis, including a proposal for a Global Jobs Pact;

• Making the economic crisis the main theme of the ILO’s International Labour Conference that will gather more than 4,000 worker, employer and government representatives in Geneva in June;

• The programme of the Conference itself, on 3 - 19 June 2009, will be adapted to give high priority to the ways to overcome the employment and social policy effects of the crisis, including through high-level presentations and panel discussions and working out joint conclusions on action to exit the crisis.

• Participating actively in all relevant international forums addressing the crisis, advocating increased focus on its employment and social aspects, as well as stepping up its policy advice service to meet constituents’ requests.

“The way forward is to work for a new vision of open market economies with a strong social dimension in which a competitive, efficient and socially responsible private sector and an active and accountable public sector generate decent work for all and a cleaner, fairer and more stable globalization,” the ILO statement said. (GB.304/4)

During the high-level discussion, ILO Director-General Juan Somavia called for a prompt response to the jobs crisis, describing international coordination to tackle the crisis as weak, and adding “the financial, trade, economic, employment and social roots of the global crisis are interlinked and so must be the policy responses We need to implement a coherent and coordinated job-oriented recovery strategy, based on sustainable enterprises, as soon as possible”.

The Governing body also adopted the implementation plan of the "ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization" GB.304/7, which it said “sets out the role of the ILO in realizing such a vision”. The International Labour Conference adopted the Declaration last year to strengthen the ILO’s capacity to promote its Decent Work Agenda and respond to the challenges of globalization.

The high-level meeting also heard remarks by International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who called for increased cooperation between the IMF and the ILO. Guy Ryder, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC); Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs; and Jonathan Shaw, Minister for Disabled People and for the South East of the UK Department for Work and Pensions and others also addressed the ILO meeting.

Nobel prize-winning economist, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, addressed a special sitting of the Governing Body on the impact of the global financial and economic crisis on 18 March, during which he also was presented with the 2008 ILO Decent Work Research Prize by Mr. Somavia.

Faced with the social and labour implications of the global crisis, and building on the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, the Governing Body supported the Director-General's proposals for the Programme and Budget for 2010-11. The Governing Body recommended to the International Labour Conference a provisional regular budget of $665.1 million for the biennium which maintained the same level of resources as 2008-09. The Programme and Budget includes estimates for an expanded programme of extra-budgetary technical cooperation, rising from $350 million to $425 million, and a doubling of voluntary supplementary funding to the regular budget from $45 to $90 million.

Governing body members spoke of the need to reinforce action to deliver decent jobs and to reinforce services to the ILO's government, employer and worker constituents. They welcomed the more focussed, results-based proposals to ensure a balanced approach based on the four strategic objectives of employment, protection, dialogue and rights.

The Governing Body approved the report of the Committee on Freedom of Association that draws special attention to the cases of Colombia, the Republic of Korea, Ethiopia and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. (GB.304/6).

The Governing Body discussed the extension of the arrangements for treating complaints on forced labour in Myanmar. It noted the recent steps to increase information on the availability of the complaints mechanism, which is run by the ILO Liaison Officer. It also expressed concern that acts of harassment against those who use this mechanism can weaken it and affect its credibility."

The Governing Body is the executive body of the International Labour Office (the Office is the secretariat of the Organization). It meets three times a year, in March, June and November and takes decisions on ILO policy, the agenda of the International Labour Conference and the draft Programme and Budget of the Organization for submission to the Conference.

It is composed of 56 titular members (28 Governments, 14 Employers and 14 Workers) and 66 deputy members (28 Governments, 19 Employers and 19 Workers). Ten of the titular government seats are permanently held by States of chief industrial importance (Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States). The other Government members are elected by the Conference every three years.