The ILO calls for inclusive structural transformation at the LED Regional Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean

News | 20 May 2019
From 7 to 9 May, the ILO participated in the 3rd Regional Forum of Local Economic Development (LED) for Latin America and the Caribbean in Barranquilla, Colombia.

The Regional Forum is a platform for dialogue on key issues such as poverty eradication, employment generation, sustainable entrepreneurship, partnerships among multiple actors, including the participation of civil society and workers’ and employers’ organizations. The central theme of the 2019 edition, which specifically focused on the analysis of LED as an operational and strategic approach to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals, was “Local Economic Development in fragile territories affected by conflict and violence: A framework for resilience and cohesion for sustainable and inclusive development”. The ambitious programme aimed to facilitate the exchange of knowledge through thematic axes integrating the three dimensions of sustainable human development: environmental, social and economic, and the Agenda 2030.

Among the invited speakers at the opening panel discussion, Mito Tsukamoto, Chief of the Development and Investment Branch in ILO’s Employment Policy Department, delivered a statement focusing on the need for a structural transformation that is inclusive and that allows productive development with not only economic benefits, but also social and environmental. 

Referring to the current global consensus that building and maintaining peace requires addressing the root causes of conflicts and crises, which are found or nourished in conditions of poverty, exclusion, inequality, discrimination and serious violations of human rights, Ms. Tsukamoto stated that “there is a momentum for inclusive growth, job creation and decent work, especially for young people, women and vulnerable groups, as basic components for conflict prevention, post-conflict recovery and peacekeeping”.

Mentioning ILO’s sustained efforts to promote social justice and social cohesion through decent work, including through Recommendation No. 205, the Jobs for Peace and Resilience global flagship programme and ongoing research on the linkages between jobs and peace, Ms. Tsukamoto affirmed that “employment contributes to the empowerment and socio-economic (re) integration of young people, women and vulnerable groups, creating income opportunities, contacts and also reducing complaints (presumed or real) between different groups and individuals.” She added that in fragile situations, the perspective of Local Economic Development (LED) – combined with an approach based on employment-intensive investments (for example, in public works, in the management of natural resources, and in basic services) and on local resources - has historically been applied to achieve socio-economic reintegration and build a process of sustainable development. She concluded by stating that LED’s territorial approach has the potential to contribute to an inclusive transformation, not only to sustain livelihoods, but also to strengthen the necessary local institutions, and to safeguard the peace and resilience of countries.

Besides participating in the opening of the Regional Forum, the ILO also contributed to the design and facilitation of one of the eight thematic blocks, on “Employment and economic empowerment of young people, women and vulnerable sectors”. Italo Cardona, the ILO Coordinator in Bogota, led a discussion where institutions, professionals and actors from public, private and civil society organizations directly involved in LED for the consolidation of peace and social cohesion in Latin America shared their experiences and highlighted the importance of cooperation with other countries that face similar challenges to encompass national and local efforts to create resilient and peaceful societies.

The three-day Forum, which included interdisciplinary workshops to generate a dynamic of exchange of valuable experiences and good practices, was an important preparatory step to advance the reflexion on thematic and regional perspectives ahead of the 5th World Forum of Local Economic Development, which will be held in Cordoba (Argentina) in autumn 2019.