Heinz Koller: ILO Centenary Declaration is a roadmap to develop skill sets for today’s rapidly changing world of work

The “Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work” adopted by the International Labour Conference in June, calls for a “human-centered approach” to the future of work. That is more than relevant for today’s discussion entitled “A world at risk: developing the skill sets to endure, adapt, and thrive”, said today Heinz Koller, Assistant Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. He addressed the panel discussion at the international WorldSkills Conference 2019.

News | 23 August 2019

KAZAN, RUSSIAN FEDERATION (ILO News) – Mega drivers of change such as technological advances, globalization, demographic trends and climate change are deeply transforming the world of work. The unprecedented speed and scale of these transformations create a lot of uncertainty, fears and put pressure on our societies

“First of all people want to know what these changes mean to them. They want answers to concrete questions: Will I retain my job? Where can I acquire new skills? Where can I get social protection during my transition from one job to the next one? Using a bottom up approach, we asked all our 187 Members to organize National Dialogues and to tell us how they see the future of work. This formed the basis for the report of the Global Commission on the Future of Work and ultimately the Centenary Declaration”, - Koller said.

Heinz Koller spoke highly of the Russian national Future of Work report where the tripartite constituents and the State Duma have put the emphasis on a necessary ”humanization of work”. The report’s conclusions resonate with the human-centered approach taken by the Global Commission and the Centenary Declaration.

Heinz Koller discussed three major lines of action formulated in the Centenary Declaration. First of all it is strengthening the capacities of all people to benefit from the opportunities of a changing world of work,  including through effective lifelong learning and quality education for all, universal social protection, effective realization of gender equality, support to sustainable transitions in working lives of people.

Second, it is strengthening the institutions of work to ensure adequate protection of all workers, regardless of their status, and by complying with the ILO fundamental conventions and observing the human rights at work. These include freedom of association and collective bargaining; fighting forced labour; abolishment of child labour; and non-discrimination, but also an adequate living wage, maximum working hours and occupational safety and health.

Third, you need to invest and promote inclusive and sustainable growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, as reflected in the UN 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG 8 on decent work.

“The ILO is the only - and the oldest - tripartite organization with a normative labour rights agenda. Over the last hundred years, we have worked together with the governments, employers and workers to come up with the best solutions for the world of work. And we will continue to work together for the next hundred years”, Koller concluded.

WorldSkills is the world championships of vocational skills and trades. The championship in Kazan is the 45th WorldSkills Competition, and it is the first time that was held in Russia or the CIS. On August 22-27, more than 1,300 competitors from 63 WorldSkills Member countries and regions will compete in 56 skills.

The Worldkills Conference was held alongside the Kazan WorldSkills 2019 championship. During the Conference, international government representatives, experts, and thought-leaders explored and debated an array of topics pivotal to the future of skills, including how to maximize their economic and social impact.