GENEVA, Switzerland, (ILO News) – The director-general of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Guy Ryder, has welcomed the commitment and determination of world leaders to build a better world of work as a core element of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis .
Speaking at the close of the Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work , the director-general said, “I think it is difficult to overstate the level of common purpose, of determination, to overcome the crisis. To build forward to something better. From this everything else becomes possible.”
“We have some very important tools to deploy, as we seek to get the world of work back on its feet,” Ryder said. “Some are very familiar to us, such as social dialogue and international labour standards. We also have a relatively new asset in our hands. That is our Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work . I think we are seeing just how valuable it is as a roadmap for us to find the way forward.”
Heads of State and government, as well as prominent global employers’ and trade union leaders, took part in the three-day global event, held online from 7-9 July. The Summit was the largest ever online gathering of workers, employers and governments with contributions from heads of the UN, WHO, IMF, WTO and the OECD.
UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres said, “This global summit is an opportunity for governments, workers’ and employers’ representatives to shape winning responses,” he said. Recovery from the crisis, “is not a choice between health or jobs and the economy. They are interlinked. We will either win on all fronts or fail on all fronts.”
“We already have a strong foundation for action and solutions, the ILO Centenary Declaration as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development , and SDG Goal 8 on decent work and economic growth . Together we can emerge from this crisis stronger, with decent jobs and a brighter, more equal and greener future for all,” the secretary-general added.
“Our systems, jobs, livelihoods and the economy are intertwined,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general, World Health Organization (WHO). “WHO calls on governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations in the health sector to develop strong and sustainable national programmes for the occupational safety and health of health workers. Together, we have a duty to protect those who protect us.”
The Summit discussed strategies for addressing the massive world-of-work vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic and in particular, the needs of those working without social protection and in the informal economy; the promotion of full and productive employment and sustainable enterprises; ways of ensuring that poverty reduction, equality and combating climate change are core elements in the recovery process; and how the international community can recommit to delivering on the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The first part of the Summit, held from 1-2 July, consisted of a series of virtual regional events covering Africa , the Americas , the Arab States , Asia-Pacific and Europe and Central Asia . Representatives of governments, employers, workers, and regional organizations discussed the huge impact of the pandemic on their economies , labour markets and societies, and different national responses. The conclusions of these regional events fed into the discussions this week at the Global Summit.
The last day of the Global Summit, ILO Constituents’ Day , provided ministers, workers’ and employers’ leaders from the ILO’s 187 member States a forum to share views on how the ILO Centenary Declaration can guide action to support recovery from the pandemic and build a better world of work.