Salvador, Bahia (ILO News) – Brazil has launched a series of conferences on job creation and decent work in an effort to promote social dialogue on a scale that is unprecedented anywhere in the world, said the ILO Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Elizabeth Tinoco.
“In no other country in the world has there been such an effort to engage in social dialogue, with the aim of reaching consensus on the implementation of policies for generating more and better jobs”, said Ms Tinoco at the Bahia State Conference on Employment and Decent Work, the first of a series of 27 such events to be held in all states of Brazil.
These state conferences will culminate in the formulation of proposals and the appointment of delegates for the National Conference on Employment and Decent Work, which has been convened by the Government of Brazil and is to be held in Brasilia in May 2012. The state conferences were preceded by dozens of municipal conferences on the same subject.
“The ILO has been following this process from the outset, to lend its support and also to learn from it”, said the ILO representative at the Bahia conference, which was officially opened by the Governor of Bahía State, Jaques Wagner.
Ms Tinoco recalled that the conference was the third to be held in the State of Bahia on the issue of decent work. Furthermore, the State of Bahia was the first in the world to develop its own Decent Work Agenda, in 2006.
The ILO Regional Director highlighted the importance of designing policies specifically geared towards creating employment and safeguarding people’s incomes through innovative social protection schemes. “Economic growth is key to creating employment, but it is not enough”, she added.
During the opening session, Ms Tinoco also recalled that Brazil and other Latin American countries had managed to withstand the effects of the international crisis and were enjoying the benefits of the recovery, but warned that the risks of further recessions in the industrialized world created uncertainty.
“Although Latin America managed to bring its urban unemployment rate back to the pre-crisis level of 7.3 per cent in 2010, and although this rate has continued to fall in 2011, countries should not let their guard down in respect of what is happening with economies in other parts of the world”, she said.
Ms Tinoco highlighted that the region’s achievements had been helped by policies based on the expansion of fiscal expenditure and on measures designed to safeguard people’s jobs and incomes. “It shows how policies focused on the generation of more and better jobs directly benefit the economy”, she said.
In her statement, she recalled that Brazil had achieved economic growth of 7 per cent in 2010, with an unemployment rate of 6.3 per cent, which was the lowest ever recorded. Furthermore, she recalled that, according to official data, almost 30 million people have overcome poverty and 15 million formal jobs have been created. She also referred to efforts to combat child and forced labour. “This is decent work”, said Ms Tinoco.
The concept of decent work was introduced in 1999 by the Director-General of the ILO, Juan Somavia, and it relates to the generation of opportunities for all men and women to obtain work in conditions of freedom, equality, security and human dignity.
“Many challenges remain, such as stamping out inequality through work, eradicating forced labour and child labour for once and for all, achieving gender equality and pursuing efforts to create employment for young people in such a way as to renew their hope for the future”, said Ms Tinoco.