New York

20 October 2020

Deputy Secretary-General's video message on the occasion of the Jobs Reset Summit - an initiative of the World Economic Forum

Excellencies, colleagues and friends,

I commend the World Economic Forum for convening this initiative. My warm greetings to all who are participating in this dialogue to shape a new agenda for growth, jobs, skills and equity in a response to COVID-19, but most importantly to recover better.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have serious consequences on the world and in the economies of developing countries. Recent estimates show the pandemic could push up to 115 million people into poverty this year – the first increase in decades. ILO projections on job loss have again been revised upward with the equivalent of 495 million full-time equivalent jobs lost by the second quarter of 2020.

The crisis revealed the structural failures of economies and societies across the globe. 

A global multilateral response is an imperative if our recoveries are to address the long-term impacts of the crisis.

We must support those that have been hardest hit: informal workers, women and youth. 

Fiscal packages are needed to support incomes and businesses, especially in low-income countries.

These countries lack the resources to do it on their own and they need the support of the international community for their stimulus to keep families and businesses afloat.

This will allow countries to provide income support for those who have lost their jobs.

Action must be taken to assist workers’ return to employment and avoid large-scale and long-term marginalization from labour markets – ensuring that no-one and no country is left behind. 

We need a new generation of social protection systems and services to enable vulnerable populations return to work, especially women, while knowing that their children are being care and protected.

We need innovative solutions for training, skilling and re-tooling. 

We need an all of society approach and innovative public-private partnerships.

Digital technologies are crucial to the solutions.

We need better jobs, that can support the transition to the green, inclusive and just society of the future. Circular economies will be key to sustainability.

As we move firmly in this direction, with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreements as our compass, you can continue to count on the United Nations with our footprint in 131 countries.

I am confident that today’s discussions will contribute to this important effort to transform our economies, the world of work and deliver accelerated approaches to enhancing the competencies that are needed to recover better, through education, reskilling, upskilling and better jobs.

Thank you for your engagement and commitment. I look forward to the outcomes of your discussions.