ILO Statement to the 2014 ECOSOC High-Level Segment

More and better jobs called for across the globe

When asked about the kind of future they want, people from every continent overwhelmingly speak about decent jobs.

Statement | Economic and Social Council Chamber, UN, New York | 08 July 2014
ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review General Debate
“Addressing on-going and emerging challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and for sustaining development gains in the future”

7 July 2014

Statement delivered by:
Mr. Stephen Pursey,
Director, Multilateral Cooperation Department, ILO

Mr. President,

The development agenda beyond 2015 is meant to provide a common framework for focused and decisive action to eradicate poverty and promote the transition to inclusive and sustainable development across its economic, social and environmental dimensions.

The ILO vision for such an agenda is simple. Full and productive employment and decent work for all, including social protection, should be at the heart of the new sustainable development framework.

From the vast round of consultations on what should succeed the Millennium Development Goals, a clear message came out.

When asked about the kind of future they want, people from every continent overwhelmingly spoke about decent jobs. This is not surprising. Jobs are a sustainable means out of poverty, a way for individuals and households to gain dignity and respect and make their productive contribution to society, the economy and the environment.

The lack of decent and productive jobs increases inequalities, weakens social cohesion and diminishes trust in political leadership and national institutions. Tackling the jobs challenge will be imperative to make the post-2015 framework relevant and credible. The progress made so far in the discussion at the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals is encouraging.

Comprehensive national development strategies will be central to deliver on the new sustainable development goals. Those strategies should include national employment policy frameworks, based on tripartite consultations, that can help ensure coherence across a wide spectrum of policies, including pro-employment macroeconomic policies; trade, finance, tax, and infrastructure policies; activation strategies to facilitate young people’s school-to-work transition; policies for sectoral diversification, skills promotion and enterprise development, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.

The report of the Secretary General emphasizes the role of institutions in sustaining development gains. Effective labour market institutions and regulations are critical to support incomes and livelihoods, enhance productivity and ensure fair sharing of earnings. They encompass appropriately designed wage policies, including minimum wages; collective bargaining; labour inspection and employment services; targeted programmes to increase labour market participation of women and under-represented groups.

The establishment of nationally defined social protection floors for all in need is another fundamental institutional development to help low-income households escape poverty while building up effective and efficient systems for economic and social resilience.

Also essential are institutions for the promotion and respect of fundamental principles and rights at work.

The meaningful participation of civil society and stakeholders in national planning processes is among the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary General. Social dialogue based on independent and representative organizations of employers and workers is a tested means of striving for balanced and coherent policy decisions backed by broad consensus and support. It should be integrated among the main means of implementation of the future development framework, in order to enhance openness and accountability as well as effectiveness in delivery.

Finally, a concerted global effort should be made to improve the national collection and dissemination of relevant and up-to-date labour market statistics by means of regular and standardized household and labour force surveys. Labour market statistics are regularly collected in most countries but not enough is known about the reality of work in developing countries, especially in the poorest settings. For instance, gender disaggregated data and information on the duration, security and quality of employment and the level of wages are especially lacking. A modest international investment in generating better data would produce significant benefits in improving knowledge about patterns of inequality and vulnerability and sustainable ways to address them.

Thank you.