New York

08 July 2020

Secretary-General's video message for the Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work

Let me begin by thanking ILO Director-General Guy Ryder for this initiative — and all of you for taking part in this virtual Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work.

The world of work is the world of people, of dignity, of opportunity, of hope.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shattered that world.

Every worker, every business and every corner of the globe has been hit.

This crisis is exposing fragilities — many of which the ILO has been long been  sounding the alarm.

Rising inequalities.  Systemic gender discrimination.  Inadequate social protection.  Lack of opportunities for young people.  Stagnant wages.  Runaway climate change.  The list goes on.

Some countries are just entering the worst days of the health emergency.

Others are struggling to open up their economies and facing the threat of a dangerous reversal of progress.

But let’s be clear: it’s not a choice between health or jobs and the economy.

They are interlinked.

We will either win on all fronts or fail on all fronts.

This Global Summit is an opportunity for governments, workers and employers’ representatives to shape winning responses.

Responses that stimulate the economy and employment.

Solutions that support enterprises, decent jobs and incomes.

Approaches that safeguard workers and expand social protection.

Plans that promote gender equality and reinforce social cohesion.

Proposals that protect the most vulnerable and invest in essential workers — such as those in health and care services — who are on the frontlines of the response.

And above all, initiatives that are grounded in unity and solidarity.

No country can solve this crisis alone.  We are in this together.

Strong, effective multilateral solutions matter more than ever.

From the beginning, the United Nations has called for massive global support for the most vulnerable people and countries – a rescue package amounting to at least 10 per cent of the global economy.

Developed countries have stepped up support for their own countries — but we are promoting mechanisms of solidarity to ensure that the developing world will also fully benefit.

You already have a strong foundation for action and solutions – the ILO Centenary Declaration — as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth.

So I welcome your discussions.  You are an essential part of the effort to build back better.

Together, we can emerge from this crisis stronger, with decent jobs and a brighter, more equal and greener future for all.

Thank you.