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International Labour Conference

Calls for increased action on inequalities and skills end second session of 109th International Labour Conference

The second and final session of the 109th International Labour Conference has concluded with a call from Member States for the ILO to develop new strategies to tackle inequalities and boost skills and life-long learning.

Press release | 13 December 2021
GENEVA (ILO News) - Delegates attending the second segment of the 109th International Labour Conference (ILC) have tasked the International Labour Organization (ILO) with developing new strategies to accelerate action to reduce inequalities and boost skills and life-long learning.

The move came at the closure of the 2021 ILC, after the adoption of two sets of conclusions and reports, on Skills and lifelong learning and Inequalities and the world of work. The documents were produced by two tripartite conference Working Groups.

The strategy on inequalities and the world of work is intended to help ILO Member States accelerate action to reduce and prevent inequalities in the world of work and ensure that no-one is left behind. This entails combined and coordinated action in seven areas: promoting employment creation; fostering equal opportunity; ensuring adequate protection for all workers; accelerating the transition to formality; ensuring gender equality and non-discrimination, promoting equality, diversity and inclusion; realizing universal social protection; and promoting trade and development for a fair globalization and shared prosperity.

Delegates asked the ILO to engage urgently in stronger multilateral coordination and collaboration on inequality during recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

The Conference also adopted a resolution calling on the ILO to develop a coherent, inclusive and gender-responsive ILO strategy and action plan on skills and lifelong learning for 2022–30. These measures should include strengthening the ILO’s work in the area, including enhancing capacity-building, advisory services and project work; increased sharing of good practices and knowledge; promotion of relevant international labour standards; and expanding partnerships and engagement with other organizations, including financial institutions.

Speaking at the closing Plenary session, the ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder described the 109th ILC as “unlike any other in the long history of the ILO”.
Successfully completing the agenda had “ensured the ILO’s institutional integrity and continuity….[and] demonstrated that whatever the pandemic throws at us, and however long it lasts, the ILO has the means and more importantly the determination to come through it.”

The Conference had “produced very substantive results”, he told delegates, describing the Global Call for Action for a Human-Centred Recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, adopted at the June ILC session, as “both a political clarion call and a road map for the ILO and its constituents alike”.

“One immediate and I believe crucial consequence will be the convening of the major multilateral policy forum early next year which will offer a real strategic opportunity to boost the coherence of the international system action for the recovery that we very much want and that we badly need,” he added.

The November session of the ILC took place from 25 November to 11 December, with around 4,900 delegates – representing Governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations - and observers accredited. They included 157 ministers and vice-ministers and high-level representatives from workers and employers, from 181 ILO Member States.

Like the first session of the 109th ILC, in June, the November session was held virtually – for the first time in the ILO’s history. Despite these changes in format delegates addressed all items on the conference agenda.

The first segment of the Conference was held from May 20 to June 19. It included a two-day, high-level, World of Work Summit at which delegates adopted the Global Call to Action, which outlines measures to create a human-centred recovery from the pandemic. There were also discussions on social protection and the impact of COVID-19.

During the June session delegates passed an emergency resolution on the situation in Myanmar and voted to adopt the ILO Programme and Budget for the 2022-23 biennium and the report of the Committee on the Application of Standards.

The 110th Session of the ILC is scheduled to take place from 30 May to 10 June 2022.