UN labour chief extols G20 for prioritizing job creation

ILO Director-General Juan Somavia

28 June 2010 – The head of the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) today praised the leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) industrialized nations for recognizing the importance of the need to spur economic recovery and generate employment.

In a statement issued yesterday in Toronto, Canada, the leaders said that they have agreed on the steps to be taken to “ensure a full return to growth with quality jobs, to reform and strengthen financial systems, and to create strong, sustainable and balanced global growth.”

The heads of the countries, said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia, have struck a “delicate policy balance between continuing the stimulus plans and a growth-friendly fiscal consolidation process differentiated for and tailored to national circumstances.”

But ultimately, he said, the impact of the G20 gathering in Toronto will hinge on whether the agreement is implemented “in a balanced manner” at both the national and regional levels.

“Building confidence is not only about calming financial markets,” Mr. Somavia stressed. “It is also about citizens feeling confident that leaders are implementing policies in a fair way.”

He also underscored the significance of the commitment made by the G20 leaders to enhance access to financial services for the poor and to boost financing for small- and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries.

At a working dinner over the weekend, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the heads of the G20 nations that he understood the concerns over rising budget deficits and public debt.

But he stressed that “under any circumstances we must not balance budgets on the backs of the world’s poorest people.”

Mr. Ban underlined that the world cannot depend on recovery led by consumption alone, but rather that investments must be mobilized to ensure today’s recovery and tomorrow’s growth.

He called for stepped-up investment in agriculture and other sectors as part of the ILO’s Global Jobs Pact, which was adopted and received strong support during the G20 summit in the United States city of Pittsburgh in September last year. It urges measures to maintain employment and to avoid deflationary wage spirals and worsening working conditions.

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