I am pleased to send greetings to this International High-Level Conference on Decent Work.
Employment is a critical pathway to poverty reduction and economic empowerment. Yet, with almost 500 million workers living in extreme poverty, and many more working under poor conditions, work by itself is clearly not enough to ensure lives of well-being and opportunity.
People need adequately remunerated jobs, safe workplaces, employers that comply with labour standards, and access to social protection. That encompassing vision is what we mean by decent work.
The global economic and financial crisis has made it harder to achieve full employment and decent work for all. Global unemployment is at record highs. Poverty reduction has slowed and income inequalities continue to widen. The jobs crisis has been felt most among young people.
The creation of decent jobs continues to be a high priority for the
United Nations. This is critical for realizing the Millennium Development Goals, and must figure prominently as the world shapes the post-2015 development agenda and strives to implement the Rio+20 outcome, “The Future We Want”.
I encourage all stakeholders to work together to place full employment and decent work at the centre of policy-making. Your Conference can help draw global attention to this effort, and I wish you a productive and successful meeting.