GENEVA (ILO news)- The Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Juan Somavía, announced today that he will bring forward the date of his departure from his post to the second half of 2012 due to strong personal reasons that require him to be closer to his family.
In a letter to the Officers of the Governing Body, the Director General informed them of his decision to leave on 30 September 2012. The announcement is being made now to allow the ILO enough time to set in motion the process to elect his successor. Somavía’s third term as Director General was due to last until March 2014.
The Director-General said that he feels the “inner need” to take this step because, after nine years as Chile’s Ambassador to the United Nations in New York and the thirteen years he has been at the helm of the ILO, he believes it has now become necessary for him to “return home” to be near those close to him.
The Chilean Somavía is the first representative from a developing country to head the ILO. He gave life to the concept of “decent work”, and placed it at the heart of the ILO’s agenda. Since then, the ILO and its policy recommendations have been getting increasing political support.
“We have much to do in the year ahead”, he told the ILO staff. “The present situation calls upon us to work hard.”
In the past few months the ILO Director-General has made a strong call for a “new era of social justice”, a call that he made at the ILO’s 100th international conference in June, and reiterated in his addresses to both the IMF meeting in Washington last Saturday and the G-20 Ministerial Labour meeting in Paris earlier this week.
Between now and next September, Somavía will lead the work of the ILO towards its regional conferences in Africa and Asia, and take part in the G-20 summit in November. He will lead too the preparations for the ILO’s international conference next June which will focus on youth employment, social protection and workers’ rights in the context of the global economic crisis. Somavía will also push for action on the Global Jobs Pact launched by the ILO in 2009 in response to the crisis.
The International Labour Office is the permanent secretariat of the International Labour Organization.