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Press release

ILO Director-General urges G20 to stay focussed on reducing the global jobs deficit

International Labour Organization Director-General Juan Somavia today welcomed the G20 Leaders’ statement from Toronto in which they gave the “highest priority to safeguard and strengthen the recovery and to the next steps they should take to ensure a full return to growth with quality jobs”.

Press release | 28 June 2010

GENEVA (ILO News) – International Labour Organization Director-General Juan Somavia today welcomed the G20 Leaders’ statement from Toronto in which they gave the “highest priority to safeguard and strengthen the recovery and to the next steps they should take to ensure a full return to growth with quality jobs”.

"To do so they agreed to a delicate policy balance between continuing the stimulus plans and a growth friendly fiscal consolidation process differentiated for and tailored to national circumstances," Mr Somavia said. “The ultimate political, economic and social impact of the Toronto Summit will depend on whether this agreement is also implemented in a balanced manner at national and regional level.”

“Building confidence is not only about calming financial markets it is also about citizens feeling confident that leaders are implementing policies in a fair way,” Mr. Somavia said, “for working families there is no sustainable recovery without jobs recovery”.

“Social dialogue among business and labour, the actors of the real economy, will be crucial to sustain recovery and address fiscal issues as an important means of getting the right balance at this critical phase when the risks of a double dip recession are still worrying,” Mr. Somavia said.

He also underlined the statement of the G20 Leaders that “we welcome the recommendations of our Labour and Employment Ministers, who met in April 2010, on the employment impact of the global economic crisis. We affirm our commitment to achieving strong job growth and providing social protection to our most vulnerable citizens. An effective employment policy should place quality jobs at the heart of the recovery. We appreciate the work by the ILO in collaboration with the OECD on a training strategy that will help equip the workforce with the skills required for the jobs of today and those of tomorrow".

The ILO Director-General said, “The ILO is already working with some G20 members in the implementation of these measures and the Global Jobs Pact, endorsed by the Pittsburgh Summit last September, and we look forward to continuing this work in cooperation with our employer and worker constituencies”.

He also underlined the Leaders’ commitment to reforms which “will implement measures that will enhance the growth potential of our economies in a manner that pays particular attention to the most vulnerable” and which “support the broadly based expansion of demand if wages grow in line with productivity”.

Mr. Somavia also noted the role of open markets in supporting growth and job creation and welcomed the request by the leaders for “OECD, the ILO, World Bank, and the WTO to report on the benefits of trade liberalization for employment and growth at the Seoul Summit” and added that “It is an issue on which we have been working with the WTO for some time”.

He cited the Leaders' pledge to "implement the G20 financial reform agenda and ensure a stronger financial system which serves the needs of the real economy" and highlighted their decision “that the financial sector should make a fair and substantial contribution towards paying for any burdens associated with government interventions…”.

In this context the Director-General emphasized the importance of the commitment made to “improving access to financial services for the poor and to increasing financing available to small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries… including the launch of an SME Finance Challenge aimed at finding the most promising models” in this respect.

Mr. Somavia backed the decisions of the G20 leaders to recapitalize multi-lateral development banks, notably regional development banks, and a new initiative on food security.

A major focus of the Toronto meeting was building on the Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth launched in Pittsburgh in September 2009, which also set up, a Mutual Assessment Process designed to strengthen policy actions and frameworks. “The ILO, as a participating organization in the Mutual Assessment Process, will continue to work with countries in the coming months to assist in the achievement of the G20’s employment, development and poverty reduction goals,” Mr. Somavia said.

Noting that in the hardest hit countries, the key is a pickup in business investment and household consumption, he added, “If the private sector does not take up the lead in driving recovery, the next G20 may well have to revisit the policy balance agreed in Toronto.”

The Global Jobs Pact adopted by the ILO in 2009 is being used in many countries as a framework for dialogue on employment and social protection policies for the recovery. It also brings an opportunity for a green recovery.

Mr. Somavia highlighted the important role that Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon plays within the G20 in representing the United Nations system. In this respect he underlined the importance that Leaders’ gave to the upcoming high level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals, the reaffirmation of their commitment to assist LDCs, and the decision to establish a Working Group on Development. “Narrowing the development gap and reducing poverty are integral to our broader objective of achieving strong, sustainable and balanced growth and ensuring a more robust and resilient global economy for all,” the Leaders stated.

Previous commitments to increase Official Development Assistance made by the G20 should be implemented.

Noting the openness of the G20 Leaders to include representatives of regional organizations, ILO Director-General Somavia stated: “Dialogue and cooperation are essential in the globalized world. Shaping a fairer globalization delivering for people can only be achieved through dialogue and cooperation. This approach is to be deepened.”