Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark says ILO Global Jobs pact “paves the way” for economic recovery

United Nations Development Programme Administrator (UNDP) Helen Clark said the ILO Global Jobs Pact “paves the way” for countries seeking a “fair and just” way out of the global recession.

Press release | 22 March 2010

GENEVA (ILO News) – United Nations Development Programme Administrator (UNDP) Helen Clark said the ILO Global Jobs Pact “paves the way” for countries seeking a “fair and just” way out of the global recession.

“It is not simply that we need to create millions of jobs each year to keep pace with growth in the world’s labour force,” Ms. Clark told the ILO’s Governing Body meeting here. “To have a chance of achieving the first MDG (Millennium Development Goal) of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 in many countries, significantly more and better jobs will need to be created.”

“For nations seeking to emerge from the recession in a way which is fair and just, the Global Jobs Pact paves the way”, she said.

Ms. Clark was addressing the “Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization (WP/SDG) of the ILO Governing Body, which is considering ways to recover and sustain growth and development, as well as analyzing the contribution of the Global Jobs Pact adopted by ILO member States during the International Labour Conference last year.

Earlier in the day, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) President Dr. Compton Bourne addressed the Working Party on the impact of the global economic crisis on developing economies and the role of multilateral development banks.

Ms. Clark said the recent decision of the UNDP Executive Board to integrate the Global Jobs Pact into that organization’s operational activities in collaboration with the ILO was part of the UNDP’s efforts to “maintain traction on the MDGs in tough times.”

ILO Director-General, in his welcoming remarks, said: “We believe we could do more to get full value out of this articulated approach if UNDP and ILO work even more closely together”.

Ms. Clark cited several joint UNDP-ILO initiatives, including the promotion of sustainable employment in Bulgaria and Egypt, and support to young unemployed workers in Bosnia, Costa Rica and Sudan.

Looking ahead, Ms. Clark said there were four areas were UNDP could step up collaboration with the ILO, including opportunities created by the recently adopted UN policy regarding post-conflict countries on employment creation, income generation and reintegration; climate change; increasing the knowledge base on the employment impacts of policies and programmes; and work on the Global Social Protection Floor initiative.

In his comments to the WP/SDG, Dr. Bourne said the global economic crisis had affected developing countries through four main channels: foreign trade, foreign direct investment, foreign financial capital flows and migrant remittances. He said in the Caribbean sub-region covered by the CDB the number of persons living below the national poverty lines is around 6.8 million, of which approximately 4 million are in Haiti.

“In such situations of high levels of poverty, crisis induced unemployment and reductions in the flow of migrant remittances can entail major material and social hardship”, he said.

Dr. Bourne said that “apart from its financial role, the CDB seeks to lay a secure foundation for future employment and income by advocating and helping to put in place fiscal and other financial economic policies as well as regulatory, public administration and justice administration frameworks conducive to private sector investment and development, and to public trust and confidence in national governance systems”.

Dr. Bourne’s intervention was followed by a discussion, in which he invited the ILO and the CDB to organize a conference with other development partners to analyze how the Caribbean region could incorporate the Global Jobs Pact into its recovery policies.