ILO at Rio+20: Integrate social inclusion and environmental protection

Speaking at a panel discussion at the Rio+20 summit, the ILO Director-General highlights the role of social policies on the road to a greener economy.

Communiqué de presse | 22 juin 2012
RIO DE JANEIRO – ILO Director-General Juan Somavia has urged governments attending the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development to integrate social inclusion and environmental protection.

"You must know what people need in order to formulate a long-term plan that aims to meet their basic needs as well and those of sustainable development,", Mr. Somavia said during a panel discussion on the Socio-Environmental Protection Floor organized by the Brazilian government.

The Socio-Environmental Protection Floor is a concept that calls for social protection initiatives to put an emphasis on environmental activities, and which Brazil says it is implementing through programmes of cash support for people living in extreme poverty.

For example, families getting cash through the Bolsa Familia programme – described as an anti-poverty scheme - can get additional income from Bolsa Verde if they engage in environmental conservation activities.

The social aspect is a very important factor to be considered in a crisis"

Mr. Somavia stressed the need to stimulate the economy, promote the expansion of the middle class and create jobs in order to tackle the crisis. He also urged governments to take social costs into account when considering macroeconomic measures.

"The social aspect is a very important factor to be considered in a crisis", he said.

The ILO believes its Decent Work Agenda provides a vehicle for a better integration of the three dimen sions of sustainable development - economic growth, social progress and inclusion.

Productive and decent employment also constitutes the nexus between sustainable development, poverty reduction and social inclusion, according to the ILO.

The ILO sees the UN summit as “a unique opportunity to leverage the Decent Work Agenda and position it as a prerequisite for a fairer, greener and sustainable globalization.”