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Move beyond ambition to action – ILO DG

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The Global Forum for a Human-centred Recovery, organized by the International Labour Organization, opened with a plea by the ILO Director-General for the international community to take action to address the ‘dangerous inequalities’ exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic within and among countries.

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, has urged the international community to close the gap between visionary statements of ambition and the collective action that’s needed to address the social and economic fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his remarks at the opening of the ILO’s Global Forum for a Human-centred Recovery , Ryder highlighted the inequalities, widened by the pandemic, which have hit the weakest hardest.

“The current trajectory, be it one of recovery, is prolonging and accentuating this divergence,” he said. “We simply must act to check and reverse these dynamics, which otherwise will make our world more unfair and ultimately more dangerous.”

“By building new and concrete lines of joint action and cooperation in each of the areas the forum will address – inclusive growth and decent jobs, universal social protection, protecting workers and sustaining enterprises, and a just transition to carbon neutrality – we can contribute importantly to a breakthrough scenario with tangible consequences.”

The three-day Forum brings together heads of State and Government, heads of international organizations and multilateral development banks, and employers’ and workers’ leaders from around the world to propose concrete actions that will strengthen the international response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking at the opening session, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told delegates that the Forum “comes at a crucial time when our ability to recover from this pandemic – and rescue the Sustainable Development Goals  – hangs in the balance”.

“We need a human-centred, green recovery that puts people first,” he said. “[This means] achieving universal social protection… the best line of defence against shocks of all kinds and critical to a just transition. It means strategic investments in decent jobs and accelerating the formalization of jobs in the informal sector. Putting people first means true vaccine equity… reforming the global financial system so all countries can access financing to support their people, including through debt relief and fairer tax systems… climate commitments that match the scale and urgency of the crisis.”

The opening sessions included statements by a number of heads of state and government from all regions, and heads of international organizations, who joined the call for advancing a human-centred recovery through strengthened multilateral and tripartite cooperation. The first thematic session on the opening day covered ‘Decent jobs and inclusive economic growth’. Subsequent thematic sessions will focus on ‘Universal social protection’, ‘Protecting workers and sustaining enterprises’, and a ‘Just transition’. The Global Forum will close on Thursday with a session, ‘Toward a Human-Centred Recovery from the COVID-19  Crisis that is Inclusive, Sustainable and Resilient’.

Participants will also examine the actions and investments needed to meet the ambition of the ILO Global Call to Action  and the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection .

Speakers on the opening day in order of appearance were:

Renate Hornung-Draus, Employer Vice-Chairperson of the ILO Governing Body; Catelene Passchier, Worker Vice-Chairperson of the ILO Governing Body; António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Ignazio Cassis, President of the Swiss Confederation; Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal; Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia; Alberto Fernández, President of the Republic of Argentina; Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation; Roberto Suárez, Secretary-General, International Organisation of Employers; Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General; Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea; Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization; Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, World Trade Organization; Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser, President, Islamic Development Bank; Beth Dunford, Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, African Development Bank (AfDB); Michele Parmelee, President, International Organisation of Employers; Luca Visentini, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).

The Forum , which runs from 22-24 February, can be followed starting at 8:00 p.m. in Manila via the ILO website in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and with international sign interpretation.

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