Crisis response

El Salvador and Argentina adopt ILO Jobs Pact

Several countries are now implementing the Global Jobs Pact launched by the ILO last year to guide national and international policies to stimulate economic recovery, create jobs and protect working people and their families.

News | 08 July 2010

El Salvador and Argentina are the first two countries to seek the assistance of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in formulating integrated socio-economic policies that put social issues at the core of economic recovery and development, Assane Diop, ILO Executive Director of Social Protection, told reporters at a press conference in New York. Brazil, India and South Africa had also expressed interest in implementing the Pact.

The Pact received strong international support, the last one coming from the G20 labour ministers earlier this year in Washington D.C. Furthermore, G20 leaders said last month in Toronto that they have agreed on the steps to be taken to “ensure a full return to growth with quality jobs, to reform and strengthen financial systems, and to create strong, sustainable and balanced global growth.”

Yesterday, ECOSOC’s Substantive Session examined the UN short- and long-term response to the economic crisis, which is critical to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Assane Diop underlined the link between economic growth and social progress, noting that policies were needed for both.

“We need a global solution to these crises, and all countries must play their role,” he said. Global economic growth was happening primarily in countries in the South, while countries with advanced economies struggled to make gains. In that regard, China, India, Brazil and South Africa would make significant contributions and stimulate employment at the global level, due to their ability to offer productive investments, he noted.

The Jobs Pact proposes a range of crisis-response measures that countries can adapt to their specific needs and situation. Social protection measures must, however, be accompanied by investment in the real economy to create jobs. “Unless we continue to invest in the real economy, we will not be in a position to create the number of jobs we need to face the problem of unemployment in the youth population,” Diop said.

Elaborating on the measures being taken to ensure that jobs were preserved and the most vulnerable protected from the economic crisis, Carlos Acevedo Flores, President of the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador, said his country had developed both short-term and longer-term strategies that were consistent with the UN social protection initiative under the global jobs plan. The strategies in El Salvador were developed after multi-sector consultations, and have the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

In a statement released at the G20 meeting in Toronto, ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said that the impact of the G20 gathering will hinge on whether the agreement is implemented “in a balanced manner” at both the national and regional levels. “Building confidence is not only about calming financial markets,” Director-General stressed. “It is also about citizens feeling confident that leaders are implementing policies in a fair way.”

The Pact calls for measures to retain people in employment, to sustain enterprises and to accelerate employment creation and jobs recovery combined with social protection systems, in particular for the most vulnerable, integrating gender concerns on all measures. It calls upon donor countries and multilateral agencies to consider further funding, including existing crisis resources for the implementation of the Pact’s recommendations and policy options.

Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also noted that economies are still suffering from the financial, food and energy crises. In his remarks to ECOSOC’s High-Level Segment held at the UN Headquarters, he called for stepped-up investment in agriculture and other sectors as part of the ILO’s Global Jobs Pact. “Millions of people are jobless. Millions more have been pushed into extreme poverty,” he told the gathering of representatives of national economic and social councils, adding that there is much more work to do and that none of it can be done by any single actor, acting alone.

For more information about the Global Jobs Pact and its implementation at national level, please contact jobspact@ilo.org