I have the honour to participate in the 102nd Session of the International Labour Conference and to deliver a statement on behalf of the Group of 15, which is known as the G-15.
We are a summit-level group of 17 developing countries established to foster, promote and sustain South–South cooperation and North–South dialogue for socio-economic progress, stability and sustain-able development. Naturally, the labour and employment issues which are the centre of the deliberations at this Conference appear high on our agenda as well.
This Group remains concerned that the continuing global financial crisis, which has led to an uncertain economic outlook, aggravated unemployment and rising poverty levels, is hampering ongoing efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in many developing countries. The number of unemployed worldwide rose to over 197 million in 2012 and, if this global unemployment trend persists, it may reach more than 210 million in the next five years. These figures are particularly daunting as three-quarters of this in-crease directly affects developing countries, particularly in Asia and Africa. Noting that the youth are developing countries are severely affected by this crisis, the Group calls for vigorous and unified action to promote forward-looking and progressive pro-macroeconomic and labour market policies to enhance youth rights, employability and entrepreneurship, while adequately confronting the grim legacy of a “lost generation”.
The Group welcomes the outcome of the Rio +20 Conference which confirms the global commitment for eradicating poverty and integrating the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustain-able development, and clearly draws attention to the need for sustainable development strategies to pro-actively address employment and generate decent jobs. The outcome also recognizes the importance of a just transition, including programmes to help workers adjust to labour market conditions and enhance capacity building to help optimize the development of workers’ skills according to the present needs. The Group urges special attention to be focused on SMEs through policy support, investments and incentives, as they remain fundamental to the economic fabric of developing countries. The Group recognizes the significant implications of the new demographic context for employment and social protection, particularly as it affects, inter alia, issues of productivity, poverty and migration in developing countries.
The Group appeals for adequate and informed policy interventions for an inclusive, integrated and gender-sensitive decent labour framework that builds on intergenerational solidarity and extends over the life cycle. In this regard, the Group calls upon the ILO to undertake further research and analysis on demographic transition, its impact and possible policy responses, particularly for developing countries where 73 per cent of the world’s older population will be living by 2030. The Group notes the report of the High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, just submitted in May 2013, where we have noted, with great interest, that creating jobs, sustainable livelihoods and equitable growth are among the priorities. The Group welcomes the ILO’s involvement in the post-2015 development process.
Looking ahead, the Group calls for the redoubling of global efforts, to ensure that the objectives of full and productive employment and decent work for all are duly considered in the discussions on the post-2015 development agenda. In the attempt to make employment and decent work the priority on the international agenda, the Group recognizes the importance of promoting social dialogue. The Group reiterates its full commitment to continue stimulating and harnessing the potential of South–South triangular, and North–South, cooperation in this important endeavour.
Finally, the Group agrees that the controversy surrounding the ILO supervisory system raises questions of fundamental significance for the ILO itself. A standards system which does not command full tripartite support and commitment will inevitably suffer in terms of authority and credibility. The Group underlines the importance of an inclusive, tripartite and constituent-led process for overcoming the challenges ahead.
In closing, the Group would like to express its appreciation for the dedicated leadership and commitment of Mr Guy Ryder at this critical time and wishes this Conference every success.