Crisis response

Helen Clark praises ILO-UNDP action in crisis as trade unions hold 2nd World Congress in Vancouver

Just days ahead of the G20 meeting in Toronto, the 2nd World Congress of the International Trade Union Confederations (ITUC) - “Now the People, from the crisis to global justice” - opened with a global plea to tackle the jobs crisis.

News | 23 June 2010

Present at the Congress, Helen Clark, Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), gave an incisive analysis of the global state of employment in the aftermath of the crisis and offered a new action agenda for taking forward the Millennium Development Goals and the Global Jobs Pact.

“Together, we can build our knowledge about the employment impacts of policies and programmes, determining ‘what works’ and why, so that when countries look to us for good advice, we can apply what we have collectively learned to help them expand decent work”, Clark said in her speech.

The International Labour Organization and the United Nations Development Programme have joined efforts to strengthen collaboration and to provide advisory support to countries taking forward national versions of the Global Jobs Pact, premised on social dialogue, collective bargaining and respect for international labour standards.

“A number of countries which have seen impressive economic growth, such as China, Brazil, and Korea, have used significant public sector support to ‘enable’ the private sector, to grow competitive businesses and jobs. To make sure that growth is “job-rich”, such support can be directed towards labour intensive sectors,” Clark added.

Clark echoed concerns of many participants – over 1,400 delegates are attending the Congress, representing 175 million workers from 155 countries – fearing that exit plans adopted by some countries to quit fiscal stimulus policies would have significant implications for employment growth. She called for active employment policies, as the world seeks to recover from the recession. “For nations seeking to emerge from the recession in a way which is fair and just, the Global Jobs Pact paves the way”, Clark said.

Talking about new development strategies, Clark said, “…development is about far more than just increasing GDP per capita; it fundamentally must be about improving people’s ability to shape their own lives.” In view of the upcoming MDG Summit in September, Clark sent a strong appeal to world leaders to agree on a concrete MDG action agenda from now to 2015. Decent work should be at the core of this agenda, as it is a key factor in meeting all the other MDGs. “Stable and decent jobs enable families to have enough income and food, to be well nourished, to send their children to school, and to access health care”, she said.

The 2nd World ITUC Congress, to be held 21- 25 June 2010 in Vancouver, will hear from eminent speakers and panelists, including: Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization; Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme; Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Argentina; and Kari Tapiola, Executive Director of the International Labour Organization.

For more information on the ILO Global Jobs Pact, please contact