Press Releases

    ECOSOC/6209
    12 July 2006

    Economic and Social Council Begins Debate on Creating Environment Impacting on Employment, Decent Work

    (Reissued as received)

    GENEVA, 4 July (UN Information Service) -- The Economic and Social Council this morning started its high-level debate on the creation of an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its impact on sustainable development.

    Introducing the report of the Secretary-General on the same subject, which is the theme for the high-level segment, José Antonio Ocampo, Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said the goal of "full employment" had been one of the central concerns of the United Nations since its inception and was enshrined in the Charter.  The challenges of achieving and maintaining full and productive employment clearly required a fairly comprehensive approach at both the national and international levels.

    Milivoje Panic, Vice-President of the Committee for Development Policy, said that the Committee was unanimous in its view that creating an environment for full and productive employment and decent work for all should be a key objective of domestic economic and social policy.  Productive employment was of central importance in fighting poverty and providing adequate social security.  Unfortunately, that goal remained unattainable at present in many developing countries.

    Membathisi Mdladlana, Minister of Labour for South Africa, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the United Nations could help Member States develop the correct labour rules and regulations at the local and national level.  But those were unlikely to have a lasting improvement in achieving sustainable development unless there was also a conducive international environment for creating productive employment and decent work for all. 

    Tarja Filatov, Minister of Labour of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union emphasized the need to promote decent work for all in Union relations and cooperation programmes with developing countries and regions.  The Union was committed to paying greater attention to productive employment and decent work, which meant productive employment and decent work for all women and men.

    Ali Bin Abdulah Al Ka'abi, Minister of Labour of the United Arab Emirates, said there was no doubt that the increasing number of unemployed people in the world, and the low income of millions of employed people in developing countries, constituted a huge challenge to the maintenance of peace, stability and security, not only at the national level of those countries, but also at the regional and international levels. 

    Gilbert Ondongo, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security of the Republic of the Congo, said that any employment should be accompanied by a decent income; and the need for decent work was an ideal for all societies, including the developing countries.

    Madan Murlidhar Dulloo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mauritius, said development was a human-centred process, and the economy was a tool of human development.  At the global and national level, people should be put first. 

    Mohamed Ould el Abed, Minister for Economic and Development Affairs of Mauritania, said the creation of an environment that would generate full and productive employment and decent work was indispensable for poverty reduction strategy, social development and the promotion of human rights.

    Ruben Ramirez Lezcano, Vice Minister for Economic Relations and Integration of Paraguay, said that trade was one of the most important and effective instruments for development, as it contributed significantly to the generation of employment, the reduction of poverty, and the improvement of standards of living. 

    Alexander Yakovenko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said that a new important aspect of the current employment problems in many countries and regions was the increasing deficit of productive capital rather than low demand in the labour market.

    Cestmir Sajda, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic, said the Government of the Czech Republic was responding proactively to many challenges, and in the area of economy and employment, had progressively introduced new legislation, which provided for a more liberal environment for labour and industrial relations. 

    Maria Pilar Hernandez, Vice-Minister of External Relations of Venezuela, said work was the capacity of human beings.  One could not talk about decent work without decent employers, decent legislation and decent rights. The Venezuelan Government had this year strengthened the workers union's claim for decent work.

    Carmen Elisa Sosa de Callejas, Vice-Minister of Labour of El Salvador, said employment was fundamental, not only as a source of income, but as a condition through which individuals could lead decent autonomous lives, participating in their communities, and thereby increasing social cohesion.

    Goran Bankov, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy of Bulgaria, said Bulgaria was one of the countries in South-East Europe to have carried out radical changes in the transition from a centrally planned economy to a liberal market economy, based on the principles of democracy. 

    Hema Yetuddin, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, said poverty was indeed the mother of all ills; its continued existence posed a clear and present danger to all societies, and the malaise should be addressed.  To address the problem of agricultural seasonal work, there was a need to create opportunities in other sectors, particularly in manufacturing and services. 

    Esteban Rodriguez, Director-General of Labour at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour of Spain, said the creation of an environment for full employment and decent work should be a national priority for all countries.  All people, including the excluded individuals of the society, should share productive work.

    Francesco Frangialli, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, said if one asked how to give jobs to those needing them, how to create decent and durable employment, and how to ensure non-discrimination in access to jobs, the response was to provide employment in the tourism sector, as this generated a significant number of goods and services and productive activities. 

    Clyde Mascoll, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance of Barbados, said Barbados's vision of development was anchored in its commitment to integrity in all areas of governance; its development as a stable and well ordered democracy governed by the rule of law was best exemplified by the meaningful participation of all sectors, classes and creeds in all aspects of its political, social and economic affairs.

    Hyuck Choi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea, said more emphasis should be placed on youth employment, since the improved integration of youth into the labour market was necessary for present and future growth prospects, as well as for social mobility and cohesion.

    Also taking the floor were representatives of the following non-governmental organizations: the Conference of NGOs (CONGO), World Federation of UN Associations, and China NGO Network for International Exchanges. 

    When the Council reconvenes at 4.30 p.m., it will continue to hear statements from dignitaries on the theme of creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all and its impact on sustainable development.

    Report of the Secretary-General on Creating an Environment Conducive to Generating Full Employment for All

    The report of the Secretary-General on creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its impact on sustainable development (E/2006/55), says the world is facing a structural challenge for job creation, one that growth alone appears incapable of resolving.  Employment per se is not sufficient to attain the Millennium Development Goals and the United Nations development agenda if it does not generate sufficient income for individuals and households to move out of poverty, or if work is under precarious and hazardous conditions.  Greater attention, therefore, needs to be paid to decent work, defined as "opportunities for men and women to obtain productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity".

    Recognizing the crucial role of employment for poverty reduction, gender equality, women's empowerment and social integration, leaders at the World Summit in September 2005 resolved "to make the goals of full and productive employment and decent work for all a central objective of [their] relevant national and international policies". This places a great responsibility on individual Governments and the international community, including the multilateral system.  The dual challenge is the creation of new productive jobs and the improvement of existing ones.  In recent years, however, the employment content of growth seems to have weakened, while the effective supply of labour has increased owing to external opening and the growing participation of developing countries in the world economy, in combination with continued high fertility rates in many developing countries and a rise in participation rates of women.

    Statements on Creating an Environment Conducive to Generating Full Employment for All

    JOSE ANTONIO OCAMPO, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, introducing the report of the Secretary-General, said the goal of "full employment" had been one of the central concerns of the United Nations since its inception and was enshrined in the Charter.  In its first five years, the United Nations issued three major reports on economic development, each of which focused primarily on "how to achieve and maintain full employment".  In recent history, the 1995 World Summit on Social Development focused global attention on the issue of employment, and at the 2005 World Summit, world leaders agreed to "make the goals of full and productive employment and decent work for all a central objective of their national and international policies".  While these commitments were in themselves achievements, the vision they represented did not match the reality of recent trends in employment generation and the quality of jobs. 

    The challenges of achieving and maintaining full and productive employment clearly required a fairly comprehensive approach at both the national and international levels.  This was essential to achieve not only the global objectives on employment, but also the wider United Nations development agenda, with its central focus on overall improvement in the plight of the poor.  The responsibility for creating conditions for full and productive employment and decent work for all rested first with national Governments.  The competitive environment that characterised the global economy had made it more difficult in all countries to manage demands for both job security and labour market flexibility.  The productive integration of youth into the labour market, especially from poor households, was essential for socio-economic stability.  The need remained to ensure that employment policies appeared more prominently in national development and growth strategies.  The ILO's Decent Work Country Programmes should be made an essential part of the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks.  There was also a need for consistent follow-up to declarations and global agreements in this field.  The Council should become a major forum for ensuring that the goal of full and productive employment and decent work for all received the attention and action that it deserved from Governments and the international community.

    MILIVOJE PANIC, Vice-President of the Committee for Development Policy, said that the Committee had considered the nature and causes of unemployment problems in many developing countries, including those countries where rapid economic growth had failed to generate new and better jobs.  The Committee was unanimous in its view that creating an environment for full and productive employment and decent work for all should be a key objective of domestic economic and social policy.  Productive employment was of central importance in fighting poverty and providing adequate social security.  Unfortunately, that goal remained unattainable at present in many developing countries where a high proportion of the working population was trapped in low-skill and low-wage jobs in agricultural and informal sectors. 

    The commitments by Governments to reduce poverty required continued action to reconcile economic growth and employment generation within a coherent macroeconomic framework.  At the national level, employment generation had to be a key priority of both social and economic development strategies and policies.  That was also of critical importance at the level of individual sectors.   Priority should also be given to channelling resources towards institutional strengthening and capacity building to improve human capital.  The Committee was in full agreement that although achieving economic growth was essential for improvements in social well being, growth in itself was not sufficient to achieve that goal.  People in the developing world aspired, like people in the most advanced economies, to decent jobs and a higher standard of living.  At the international level, development partners needed to ensure that employment objectives were fully and explicitly integrated into growth-enhancing and poverty-reducing policies and strategies.  Trade liberalism and greater integration into the world economy might generate new employment opportunities.  The challenge that confronts individual countries and the international community was to develop and agree on the effective policies needed to generate and sustain full, productive employment and decent work for all.

    MEMBATHISI MDLADLANA, Minister of Labour for South Africa, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the United Nations could help Member States develop the correct labour rules and regulations at the local and national level.  But these were unlikely to have a lasting improvement in achieving sustainable development unless there was also a conducive international environment for creating productive employment and decent work for all.  This was critical if there was to be fulfilment of the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and further success in substantially reducing the total number of people unemployed.  Developing countries were already striving to create an environment conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all.

    It was important to note that the unemployment problem at the national level was not exclusively a labour market problem.  Economic growth at the national level was of primary importance.  Globalisation had brought with it a variety of challenges, opportunities, and global imbalances in the economic, financial and trading regimes.  As a result, most of the economic and job opportunities tended to favour the developed world, whilst developing countries suffered as the gap between rich and poor became wider.  The root causes of unemployment, such as hunger and poverty, underdevelopment, lack of capacity and technical know-how also needed to be addressed holistically and equitably.  The impact of monetary and trade policies, the role of international organizations, international migration and corporate social and environmental responsibility also needed to be addressed holistically, comprehensibly and equitably.  A universal rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitably multilateral trading system and the fullest realisation of the development dimension of the Doha work programme were essential to ensure that trade played its full part in promoting economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.

    TARJA FILATOV, Minister of Labour of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union emphasized the need to promote decent work for all in Union relations and cooperation programmes with developing countries and regions.  That encouraged consistency between the internal and the external policies of the Union.  The European Consensus on Development Policy emphasized as a crucial factor to achieve a high level of social cohesion.  It committed for the first time the whole Union, meaning the European Community and the Member States, not only as members of the Council but also as bilateral donors.  The Union was committed to paying greater attention to productive employment and decent work, which meant productive employment and decent work for all women and men, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.  That commitment would be underlined from a social development perspective through its engagement in next year's session of the Commission on Social Development, which would deal with the issue of "promoting full employment and decent work for all".  Now it was time to implement those commitments, in all countries.  In the Union, decent work country programmes should be incorporated in national poverty reduction and growth strategies, as well as in development cooperation policies.

    Decent country programmes needed to take into account national priorities and specificities that strengthened ownership and contributed to better mobilization resources, to strengthen policy coherence and to facilitate cooperation with donors.  Governments should also ensure the involvement of female and male workers and employers as that contributed to the success of structural reforms, maintained the social support for those reforms, and ensured that the benefits were widely distributed.  There was a need to design labour market institutions that provided both flexibility and security.  The European Union would stand ready to work together with all governments and international partners that were committed to the same objective at national, regional and international levels.

    ALI BIN ABDULAH AL KA'ABI, Minister of Labour of the United Arab Emirates, said there was no doubt that the increasing number of unemployed people in the world, and the low income of millions of employed people in developing countries constituted a huge challenge to the maintenance of peace, stability and security, not only at the national level of these countries, but also at the regional and international levels.  At the same time, continued unemployment and poverty resulted in the deterioration of economic and social conditions in developing and poor countries, and impaired their efforts towards the achievement of sustainable development and prosperity for all.  The responsibility of achieving the goals of full employment and decent work for all, and poverty reduction, fell upon the shoulders of the entire international community, not only the developing and poor countries. 

    This challenge had to be confronted through real global partnerships and effective international cooperation in order to create a national and international environment which was conducive to generating full and productive employment for all in accordance with the international development goals, the Millennium Development Goals, and the outcomes of international conferences and summits on social and economic development and relevant areas.  There was a need for continuing international efforts aimed at creating a national and international environment which reduced unemployment and provided productive employment and decent work for all through a global partnership which was based on principles of justice, fairness and transparency. 

    GILBERT ONDONGO, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security of the Republic of the Congo, said that any employment should be accompanied by decent income.  The need for decent work was an ideal for all societies, including the developing countries.  The implementation by each country of policies to increase employment opportunities should aim at creating an environment for full employment and decent work.  In the Congo, the Government was attempting to create an environment conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all its citizens. The Government was further laying down the essential legal environment and structure that would ensure stability in employment. 

    The Government of the Congo was also putting more emphasis on the development of its natural resources that would further strengthen the environment for the creation of full and productive employment.  The policies on employment covered all sectors, including education, economy, justice and other sectors.  Making full employment the world objective would help countries to strengthen their efforts to create an environment for full and productive employment for their citizens.  The world should now start creating an environment at the national and international levels, which could result in sustainable development.  The decisions taken by each country should affect the situation of the respective countries, in matters of employment and decent revenues.

    MADAN MURLIDHAR DULLOO, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mauritius, said the 2005 United Nations World Summit put the goals of full employment and decent work firmly back into the UN Development Agenda.  The objective of full and productive employment and decent work embodied a substantial part of the internationally agreed development agenda, including the Millennium Development Goals.  Development was a human-centred process, and the economy was a tool of human development.  At the global and national level, people should be put first.  The pursuit of full and productive employment and decent work for all implied the existence of a broad set of economic and social conditions, and it was, of course, the responsibility of countries to establish the internal conditions such as healthy public finance, social harmony, law and order, and, more generally, good governance.

    The limited resources of countries, both in terms of natural resources and investment flows, had to be kept it mind when considering their capacities to generate employment.  Limits were posed on economic activities of countries with fragile ecosystems, where overexploitation to meet competition in the global market could only lead to irreversible degradation of the environment, and solidarity needed to be displayed to prevent such situations.  The modern globalized economy had shown that change was the new constant if citizens were to be kept in productive employment with decent work conditions.  The international environment would hopefully become more conducive and enable all to adapt in a socially and environmentally sustainable way.

    MOHAMED OULD EL ABED, Minister for Economic and Development Affairs of Mauritania, said the creation of an environment that would generate full and productive employment and decent work was indispensable for poverty reduction, social development and the promotion of human rights.  The initiatives taken by the international community during the last few years in the field of debt reduction, in sustainable human development, good governance and the fight against poverty had witnessed that urgent measures should be taken to fight specific solutions with regard to the developing countries.  The commitments of the Millennium Development Goals should be realized.  The UN Summit in 2005 had expressed its commitment to create an environment conducive for full and productive employment and decent work at the global level. 

    In Mauritania, the objectives fixed for full employment and decent work had not been fulfilled, in spite of the implementation of a plan of action on the poverty reduction strategy put in place for 2001-2004.  In the plan of action for poverty reduction designed for 2006 to 2010, full employment had been given a large space and the conditions were strengthened.  The implementation of the national policy for full employment had opened a new era in the country with the process of national transition which started in August 2005, which aimed at restoring a rule of law based on democratic pluralism and good governance.  A new Constitution had been put in place to guarantee a peaceful and democratic power transition.  The administrative and judicial systems had also been reformed.  The economic structure would also provide a transparent and effective use of the natural resources that the country had.

    RUBEN RAMIREZ LEZCANO, Vice Minister for Economic Relations and Integration of Paraguay, said great importance was given to the report of the Secretary-General, in particular the stress placed on the urgent need to turn decent jobs into a global objectives.  On employment, the just globalisation was supported at the World Summit of 2005, and that for young people employment would be a part of national development strategies as well as for strategies for poverty alleviation.   States bore responsibilities as members of the Council and of other organizations, including the United Nations, to fulfil this mandate.  The answer lay in a tangible response to the labour needs of the developing world, in particular the most vulnerable ones. 

    Trade was one of the most important and effective instruments for development, as it contributed significantly to the generation of employment, the reduction of poverty, and the improvement of standards of living.  Progress towards the attainment of development goals was meagre.  There appeared to be a lack of determined political commitment to make headway in negotiations linked to the Doha Development Round.  The developing sector represented 50 per cent of the total labour force in the developing world.  The construction of fair societies presupposed equal treatment for all members, and also required the removal of the impediments preventing participation by all in material development, and therefore a legal and material platform needed to be constructed in order to recognise the contribution of women towards generating social change, their dignity and rights respected, and democracy strengthened through full participation. 

    ALEXANDER YAKOVENKO, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said that a new important aspect of the current employment problems in many countries and regions was the increasing deficit of productive capital rather than the low demand in the labour market.  A purely monetarist approach to the analysis of economic growth was not sufficiently objective.  It should give way to integrated assessments of the economic development quality that would make allowance for the dynamics of new job creation.  Russia supported the policy that would focus the efforts of the international community to ensure employment and decent work for all, on such components of those problems as a catalytic role of economic growth in increasing employment; employment for population groups with low income in urban and rural areas, particularly in developing countries; employment as a factor of social and economic reconstruction of the countries that were affected by conflicts and emergencies; job creation and protection of rights of women and youth; problems of labour migration in the context of globalization; solution of the problems of labour market flexibility and informal employment.

    The Russian Federation had inherited from the USSR a well-developed system of special protection of population, including institutions in the area of employment.  At the same time, during transition to the market economy, it faced the most difficult task of adapting former institutions to new conditions and modern standards, and ensuring the balance between the liberal market regime of labour relations and the protection of citizens' rights.  Those factors taken into account, a significant amount of work had been done to reform legislation and improve the structure of relevant authorities.  Considerable efforts were being made to stimulate youth employment by implementing targeted programmes for professional orientation in the labour market and promotion of different forms of employment.

    CESTMIR SAJDA, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic, said the Government of the Czech Republic was responding proactively to many challenges, and in the area of the economy and employment, had progressively introduced new legislation, which provided for a more liberal environment for labour and industrial relations.  It was aware that flexicurity, which meant the successful combination of higher flexibility and assured protection of legitimate rights of employees, was not only a single one-off project, and therefore continued to monitor and evaluate the trends in the labour market as well as in the area of labour relations. 

    There was a need to break the vicious cycle of poverty, and among possible actions, the emphasis was placed on training, skills development and jobs creation, especially through support of micro- and small enterprises.  Purely national strategies for sustainable pro-poor and pro-jobs growth were unlikely to succeed in a world where economies were becoming increasingly integrated.  The commitment of the international community to build partnerships in order to combat poverty, to address the unfair aspects of the modern world, to help in the creation of a better future and in particular to promote full and productive employment and decent work were strongly articulated.  The necessity to act in a spirit of social conciliation, to listen to needs and requirements of social partners and to cooperate with them on all levels was a fundamental defence against any future failure.  This consensus attitude produced stability, created persistently favourable conditions for economic and social progress, and applied in developed as well as developing countries.

    MARIA PILAR HERNANDEZ, Vice-Minister of External Relations of Venezuela, said work was the capacity of human beings.  Man was differentiated from animals by work.  At the present moment, there was a trend to ignore the achievements of workers.  One could not talk about decent work without decent employers, decent legislation and decent rights. The Venezuelan Government had this year strengthened the workers union's claim for decent work.  A series of legation had also been put in place to ensure that companies were socially responsible for workers.  The companies should produce guarantees that they were providing social benefits to their employees.  The credit system so far had served creditors who deposited the money in the banks instead of generating employment.  The micro-credit system was now serving small private enterprises not only to generate employment and decent work but also to make profits for themselves. The possibility of funding through the credit system had been guaranteed by the State through the creation of 12 private banks that were intended to fund entrepreneurs.

    The system of funding had been effective in creating employment and decent work.  The micro credit for micro entrepreneurs had enhanced and strengthened employment opportunities.  The Government had further strengthened the environment that would guarantee full employment and decent work for all without any distinction as to their social backgrounds.  Thus, the Government had reduced the social tension that might arise in lack of employment and decent work, mainly seen in other countries.  In addition, the Government had taken further measures to reinforce women's empowerment and their effective participation in the country's development.

    CARMEN ELISA SOSA DE CALLEJAS, Vice-Minister of Labour of El Salvador, said employment was fundamental, not only as a source of income, but as a condition through which individuals could lead decent autonomous lives, participating in their communities, and thereby increasing social cohesion.  Consequently, it was necessary to create opportunities for people to achieve productive employment in conditions of liberty, equality, security and human dignity.  International cooperation was a necessary compliment to national efforts towards job creation, and towards endeavours made by developing countries with a view to using their national resources for the elimination of poverty and guaranteeing the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.  Solid democratic institutions, corresponding to the needs of the community and improved economic infrastructures were also required.

    The use of science and technology was essential to address requirements of national development, including job creation, expansion of basic services and the use of information and communications technology for the benefit of the community.  The generation of progress with equity was necessary to create opportunities for all, and employment was the main tool for the elimination of poverty.  Venezuela supported a just globalisation, and acknowledged that the objectives of full productive employment and decent work for all should be a fundamental element of national and international policies, national employment strategies, and of the common efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. 

    GORAN BANKOV, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy of Bulgaria, said Bulgaria was one of the countries in South-East Europe to have carried out radical changes in the transition from a centrally planned economy to a liberal market economy, based on the principles of democracy.  Its efforts were directed at reforms striving to achieve full compatibility with the standards of the European Union.  Regardless of the positive results achieved, the transition had had a very high social cost such as increased poverty and unemployment, diminishing incomes and reduced quality and access to social services.  In fact, large social groups of the population had had to bear the brunt of the transition process by accepting lower living standards.  The reduction of social tensions, the alleviation of the unfavourable economic conditions and the achievement of higher efficiency and social justice had been Bulgaria's main political priorities for a long period of time.  Today, on the eve of its accession to the European Union, its efforts were directed towards creating an educated and well-trained workforce, a wider and more efficient employment of the population and fulfilment of the goals of the Lisbon Strategy of the European Union.

    Currently, one of the main priorities of Bulgaria was directed towards securing higher incomes and better living standards for the population, as an instrument of economic growth, increased competitiveness and greater social justice.  Concrete steps were being taken to increase labour incomes and reduce the tax burden.  Conditions for private business and entrepreneurship were also being improved.  Measures taken by the Government to transform undeclared work into registered employment also had had a positive effect on the economic activity.

    HAMAYETUDDIN, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, said poverty was indeed the mother of all ills; its continued existence posed a clear and present danger to all societies, and the malaise should be addressed.  To address the problem of agricultural seasonal work, there was a need to create opportunities in other sectors, particularly in manufacturing and services.  The key to achieving this was through the growth of the private business sector- the private sectors should become competitive and have meaningful market access in order to attain development objectives. 

    Labour mobility also faced stiff opposition in receiving countries, mostly in terms of stringent entry laws, xenophobia, and political backlash.  The key challenge was to change the mindset, recognising that organised labour mobility benefited both the recipient and the source countries.  Collective international efforts should focus on facilitating labour mobility on terms acceptable to all.  Bangladesh was committed to continuing efforts for full and productive employment, work that was decent, and working environments that enabled workers to develop their potential. 

    ESTEBAN RODRIQUEZ, Director-General of Labour at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour of Spain, said the creation of an environment for full employment and decent work should be a national priority for all countries.  All people, including the excluded individuals of the society, should share productive work.  The Spanish Government had been engaged in a dialogue with all sectors of the society with the aim of embarking on a quality of work plan that would mobilize all actors.   A new policy for industrialization had been designed, based on the promotion of the environment and security of workers.  The objective of the Government policy was to promote dignified jobs for all.  In May this year, a tripartite agreement among the Government, employers and trade unions had been reached to promote the social security system in the field of work.  In the agreement, the need for permanent jobs was emphasized through the conversion of temporary jobs into permanent ones.  The Government had advocated for the role of women in employment and their equal participation.  The promotion of gender equality had allowed women to enjoy not only equal employment opportunities but also to enjoy maternal leave and other benefits. 

    The Government would continue its social dialogue, which was an element necessary to promote decent work and strengthen social coherence.  The Government also believed that decent work was necessary for all to live a decent life in the society.  Further efforts were also being made to facilitate migrants into the labour market and the society.  Migrants from North Africa and other countries were enjoying their rights and they were fully integrated in the society.

    FRANCESCO FRANGIALLI, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, said if one asked how to give jobs to those needing them, how to create decent and durable employment, and how to ensure non-discrimination in access to jobs, the response was to provide employment in the tourism sector, as this generated a significant number of goods and services and productive activities.  Tourism was a powerful sociological force, and was one of the most remarkable traits of this period.  First, in order to act on employment, one had to be aware of its volume and appreciate both its structure and tendencies.  Employment in and as of itself was not enough; it needed to be decent, durable, equally accessible and divided, and without unbearable external effects, whether these be social, environmental, or cultural.

    Tourism was a "smokeless" industry.  Its environmental impact, without being negligible, was significantly less than that of industrial or agricultural activities.  Tourism created many jobs, skilled and unskilled, jobs for the young, women, and in indigenous communities.  It encouraged employment stability and surety.  Where it was implanted, employment advanced and poverty retreated.  However, it was largely misunderstood, as it was not sufficiently measured. 

    CLYDE MASCOLL, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance of Barbados, said Barbados's vision of development was anchored in its commitment to integrity in all areas of governance; its development as a stable and well ordered democracy governed by the rule of law was best exemplified by the meaningful participation of all sectors, classes and creeds in all aspects of its political, social and economic affairs.  Barbados recognized that the success of any sustained social and economic progress depended on the individual and collective commitment of every sector, community and citizens to a philosophy of good governance, characterized by democratic engagement, and the subjugation of sectoral and individual interests to the national good.  That recognition of mutual interests and inherent interdependence had given birth in 1993 in Barbados, to the social partnership arrangement, a tripartite social compact with the objective of promoting collaboration and consultation on all aspects of national development.

    While globalization had resulted in economic growth and employment generation around the world, it had also had a negative short-term effect on employment, wages, labour relations and the scope of coverage of social protections - creating a "decent work deficit".  The international community could not afford to continue to ignore those developments, and should seek to devise measures to decrease and eliminate the "decent work deficit" wherever it exited.  That required a firm commitment to respect workers' rights, and the fair treatment of workers without regard for nationality, socio-economic background, ethnicity or race.

    HYUCK CHOI, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea, said in a globalized world, there were not only new opportunities but also new challenges in generating employment and decent work.  Economic integration and external openness had clearly had positive effects for world economic growth, but unfortunately, employment growth had weakened in recent years.  Employment policies should be fully integrated into national development and growth strategies in order to effectively respond to these challenges.  Among the various aspects that should be considered for assuring productive employment and decent work were two factors: addressing labour-market challenges and generating rural employment.  Structural change and labour-market adjustment had become common challenges that faced economies integrating into the global economy.

    More emphasis should be placed on youth employment, since the improved integration of youth into the labour market was necessary for present and future growth prospects, as well as for social mobility and cohesion.  Development and aid alone could not ensure sustainable development in the long run.  The history of development in many countries had shown that promoting trade was the most effective means of achieving sustainable growth.  National Governments should play a primary role in creating environments conducive to employment and decent work, but at the same time, enhanced international cooperation in addressing macroeconomic and trade-related issues was essential, and therefore coordinated and concerted efforts for sustainable growth and full employment should be further pursued in the multilateral system.

    RENATE D. BLOEM, President of the Conference of NGOs (CONGO), said that for the last 50 years, CONGO had actively promoted and facilitated the participation and involvement of NGOs and civil society organizations in the work of the United Nations.  Today, it was reaching out to NGOs around the world, in particular those from developing countries, to further strengthen their presence at the United Nations and to facilitate their efforts to relate more effectively to the important matters treated in the United Nations fora.  It was in that context that CONGO had organized again a two-day forum on employment and decent work that was held here last Thursday and Friday; it was an another important step for strengthening UN-NGO relations and building a true partnership between civil society, governments, other actors and the UN.  Holding an interactive dialogue during the main deliberations at the high-level segment should enhance the standing of the interaction with civil society.  

    BRUNA MOLINA, of World Federation of United Nations Associations, said all Member States, United Nations agencies, employers as well as civil society should work towards the specific targets of the Millennium Development Goals to alleviate world poverty, hunger and disease; to globalise human rights, the equality of women and environmental protection; and to create fair rules of trade and to increase development assistance.  Migration and decent work were directly connected to development, and a more effective set of rules and better coherence within the United Nations system and its agencies was urgently required. 

    CUI JIANJUN, Secretary-General of the China NGO Network for International Exchanges, said employment was one of the most important economic factors in reducing poverty.  It was one of the most important social factors in maintaining a sustainable development.  It was also a political factor for keeping a country in harmony.  China was the largest developing country and most populous nation in the world.  After a quarter of a century's reform and open-up, China had scored sustained economic growth and social progress.  China fed a quarter of the world's population and provided employment to 26 per cent of the world labour force.  Yet, it still faced a formidable and pressing task in the way ahead.  NGOs in China worked in partnership with the Government, the private sector and other social forces in dealing with the issue of development.

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