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Multilateral system

ILO Director-General makes first visit to UN in New York

During his trip to the United Nations in New York, the Director-General met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and chaired a preparatory meeting of the UN 2023 Water Conference.

News | 26 October 2022
ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo (L) and UN Secretary-General António Guterres (R) ©UN
GENEVA (ILO News) - ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo, has made his first visit to the United Nations in New York since taking up office on 1 October 2022.

During his two-day mission, from 23-25 October, the Director-General met UN Secretary-General António Guterres, their first meeting since Houngbo took office. He also participated in a preparatory meeting of the UN 2023 Water Conference, in his capacity as Chair of UN Water.

The Secretary-General offered congratulations to the Director-General on his election and expressed appreciation for the ILO’s role in helping to shape important UN processes, including Our Common Agenda and the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions.

He said the ILO’s continued support was required to provide substantive inputs to the proposed World Social Summit, as well as other initiatives by the Secretary-General, including contributions to the 2023 SDG Summit and efforts to reform the international financial system.

They also discussed the creation of a Global Coalition for Social Justice, a goal Houngbo announced when he took up his ILO mandate. Houngbo said the ILO Governing Body would consider the proposal to launch the Coalition at its meeting in October and November, with the aim of promoting greater policy coherence and political support for addressing global challenges.

The Director-General welcomed the Secretary-General’s support for the Coalition, which, he said, will make an important contribution to forthcoming UN Summits.

As Chair of UN Water, Houngbo also participated in a preparatory meeting for the UN 2023 Water Conference which is due to take place in New York from March 22-24, 2023.

Speaking to delegates he warned that, “demand for water is skyrocketing, while water sources are becoming more polluted, agriculture is getting thirstier… and climate change is making water scarcer and supplies more unpredictable.”

“Right now, the world is seriously off track to meet the SDG 6 and other water-related goals and targets. The latest data shows that governments need to quadruple the rate of progress if they are to ensure water and sanitation for all by 2030,” he added.

Houngbo held talks with the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Csaba Kőrösi, where they discussed their mutual commitment to prioritize action on the global water crisis and the quest for social justice. He also met Members of the Group of Friends of Decent Work, a group of like-minded countries who support the advancement of decent work in UN processes at the UN, to discuss their continued efforts to achieve SDG 8 and social justice.