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Minister Maurate: Fair Access To Jobs Is Fundamental Right

Issued by the APEC Human Resources Development Working Group

Arequipa, Peru, 5 May 2024

“The value of employment is to build economic and social development for our economies. We cannot afford to waste a single iota of human capital if we really want to contribute to the development of our societies,” said Peru’s Minister of Labor and Employment Promotion, Daniel Maurate Romero on Saturday.

“I realize that today, we have yet to be able to build a world for all that is equitable and inclusive,” Minister Maurate continued. He opened an expert dialogue on inclusion and empowerment for people with disabilities in Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru.

The World Health Organization estimates that one out of six people in the world today has a disability. Without concerted efforts to break down barriers for people with disabilities to contribute to the economy, the world stands to lose up to USD 13 trillion per year in disposable income.

Minister Maurate explained that people with disabilities face difficulties every day to function in a society that in some cases does not consider their needs, and on the contrary makes them invisible.

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“In the labor field we can see inactivity, informality and unemployment,” added Minister Maurate. “People with disabilities face the greatest structural barriers in gaining access to the world of work and equal conditions.”

“There are approximately 13 percent of the population of each of our economies who are persons with disabilities of working age. Compared to people without disabilities, they experience higher rates of unemployment and economic inactivity. They are also at greater risk of insufficient social protection. This is a common global situation, including in APEC.”

Minister Maurate highlighted the objective of APEC as a forum, which since its foundation has sought to promote economic growth and well-being for all, noting that economic development “would be meaningless if it did not seek the well-being of all people without discrimination.”

The expert dialogue sought to provide inputs to strengthen the capacity of APEC economies to facilitate inclusion of people with disabilities into the workforce, as well as cultivating an inclusive and resilient labor market through digital transformation, particularly those driven by artificial intelligence.

Experts discussed concrete practices to address the challenge of labour formalisation and digital transformation policies from a disability perspective. They also spoke about digital skills development for people with disabilities.

The dialogue also witnessed the launch of the Friends of the Chair on Promoting Disability Policies, a forum created within the APEC Human Resources Working Group (HRDWG), which aims to advance the Detroit Principles and Recommendations for Equality and Inclusion in Education, Training, and Employment to promote equality and inclusion in workforce development.

“Through the Friends of the Chair, we are aiming to realise the aspirations to expand special education programs, increase participation in vocational training and micro, small and medium enterprises entrepreneurship development programmes by persons with disabilities, as well as extend the social safety net coverage for people with disabilities in informal employment,” said Zhao Li, Lead Shepherd of the APEC HRDWG.

“I am sure that the Friends of the Chair will play a fundamental role in the exchanging experiences and promoting innovative, evidence-based strategies to promote policies that encourage the participation of people with disabilities in the labour market and thus, harnessing the full potential of that entire human group,” Minister Maurate concluded.

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