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Decade for ‘decent work in the Americas’ declared

Decade for ‘decent work in the Americas’ declared at end of UN labour meeting

Government, employer and worker delegates announced the start of a “Decade of promoting decent work in the Americas” while addressing a deficit of 126 million jobs in Latin countries as a quadrennial regional meeting of the United Nations labour agency drew to a close in Brasilia today.

“By committing ourselves now to a Decade of promoting decent work, we may hope for great progress in the region by 2015,” Juan Somavia Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) said at the meeting’s conclusion.

A report submitted to the meeting, Decent work in the Americas: An Agenda for the Hemisphere, 2006-2015, warns that the formal work deficit in Latin America could increase to 158 million by 2015 unless the necessary steps are taken to generate more and better jobs.

That Agenda lists four main challenges to increased employment: ensuring that economic growth promotes employment for all; guaranteeing that labour rights are effectively upheld and respected; adopting new social protection mechanisms suited to current conditions; and using these procedures to combat social exclusion.

To address these challenges, at the regional meeting delegates agreed on the importance on the need to adapt policies to the specific circumstances of each country. In the development of country programmes, it was important to ensure direct participation of the employers’ and workers’ organizations in policy creation at national level, according to the concluding document.

“These policies should stimulate national and foreign investment, inclusive economic growth and the generation of decent work with quality employment, social protection and the effective respect of labour rights,” it says.

The Sixteenth American Regional Meeting was officially opened on 3 May by the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who said that democracies must evolve in order to ensure that “the world of work can improve.”

On 4 May, in parallel with the main meeting, the ILO’s global report on child labour was presented at the Planalto Presidential Palace. According to the report, the number of child workers in the world has fallen by 11 per cent. Delegates reaffirmed their commitment to eradicating the worst forms of child labour.

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