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Co-Sponsoring Organizations


ECOSOC High-level Segment

“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” .

3 July – 5 July 2006


The 2005 World Summit put the goals of full employment and decent work firmly back into the United Nations development agenda. It demonstrated that there is a solid consensus that in order to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs, employment and decent work need to be at the centre of economic and social policies. World Leaders also concluded at the Summit that in many parts of the world the goals could not be achieved by the 2015 deadline under the prevailing employment and labour market condition. Against this backdrop ECOSOC decided to devote its 2006 High-Level Segment to employment.

Copyright © Mr. Olaf Langmack

According to the ILO's Global Employment Trend Brief , unemployment has risen over the last decade. In 2005 the number of unemployed worldwide reached new heights of nearly 192 million people and underemployment remains pervasive. While employment is a key to poverty eradication, half of the world's labour force still does not earn enough to lift themselves and their families above the global poverty line of US$2 per day. These key figures illustrate that action is urgently needed.

This year's high-level segment again attracted many high-level participants. It was attended by around thirty Ministers, including three Prime Ministers, from Mozambique , Norway and Pakistan . Many heads of UN system organizations as well as heads of other international organizations also participated in the High-Level Segment. The Segment concluded on Wednesday 5 July with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration on Employment and Decent work for all, which contains a number of practical measures for creating an enabling environment at the national and international levels to deal with the structural crisis of unemployment.

The High-level Segment will include high-level roundtable discussions and breakfast meetings, which are organized from the 3 -5 July 2005. The objective of these meetings is to enable participants to engage in a discussion on critical issues in the area of employment. The roundtables will be chaired by Member States at the highest level and will also include Executive Heads of agencies, funds and programmes and civil society representatives.

A report of the Secretary-General on the themes of the high-level segment was jointly prepared by DESA and the ILO. The report incorporates inputs from a number of relevant United Nations organizations and draws upon the discussion at the Informal Preparatory Meeting of the Council held at UN Headquarters in New York on 4-5 April 2006. The Report of the Secretary-General should be read in conjunction with a conference room paper which provides a comprehensive analysis of the high-level segment theme and identifies priority areas where action is most urgently needed.

In addition, in the afternoon of 3 July 2006, the Council held two informal ministerial roundtables on the annual ministerial review and the biennial High-Level Development Cooperation Forum respectively. These roundtables provided the Council with an opportunity to further discuss how best to implement the new mandates that the Council has been entrusted with by World Leaders at the 2005 World Summit.

On 5 July 2006, the Council held a series of high-level roundtables on the theme of the 2006 High-level Segment of ECOSOC, “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”.

As part of its High-level Segment, the Council also held a high-level policy dialogue with the executive heads of international trade and finance institutions on current issues in the world economy. In addition to risks to the current economic outlook and the trade agenda these included questions related to global divergence addressed by the World Economic and Social Survey 2006 . Please click to read the summary of the high-level policy dialogue.

The Council had also a useful exchange of views with the co-chairs and some members of the High-Level Panel on System-Wide Coherence . The main message was that the need for coherence and consistency within the system has never been more imperative. The Council's members looked forward the o recommendations for a real change in the way the UN system operates and interacts with other actors in the field.