102nd International Labour Conference

Ryder calls for forward-looking examination of the place of work “in our lives and societies”

As the International Labour Organization approaches its centenary in 2019, the ILO Director-General says it must continue to become more useful and relevant.

Press release | 21 June 2013
GENEVA – ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, called for urgent action in a number of critical areas to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving world of work.

Reviewing the discussions that took place at the 102nd International Labour Conference, Ryder stressed the ILO’s determination to fulfil the organization’s mandate to improve the conditions of Palestinian workers.

He also reaffirmed his commitment to implement “Seven Centenary Initiatives” – covering governance, standards, enterprises, green jobs, poverty, women and the future of work – which were outlined in his report to the conference and which received broad support from the over 4,700 delegates who attended the ILC.

Ryder said that the initiatives would give the organization the tools and strategic direction it needed to make its work better, more relevant and influential.

Speaking of a Future of Work Initiative, the ILO Director-General said that “a forward-looking examination of the place of work in our lives and societies is needed. It will frame policy choices and it will be appropriate to the marking of the ILO’s 100th anniversary.”

He said there had been “strong convergence” on the need for the ILO to establish a platform of engagement with enterprises – as proposed in the Enterprise Initiative.

“In addition, there was widespread interest in defining and implementing an ILO role in respect of global supply chains and more generally in respect of corporate social responsibility,” he added.

The “End of Poverty Initiative”, which aims to enable the ILO to play a bigger role in putting an end to extreme poverty by 2030, was also strongly supported, with many speakers linking the initiative to future ILO work on the rural economy, informality and the post-2015 development agenda.

Ryder observed that the “Women at Work” Initiative – which aims to establish a picture of the place and conditions of women in the world of work, and to catalyse action to realize equality of opportunity and treatment – had received less comment than the others. He said he hoped that this reflected a well-established commitment among delegates to this issue which did not require further restatement.

Ryder anticipated that the ILO’s role in the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable development path would be “the single factor which would most clearly distinguish the Organization’s second century of activity from its first.” The Green Initiative would be a vehicle for taking this forward.

The initiatives on standards and governance were more institutional in nature, Ryder explained, but were just as important and more closely related to the ILO’s reform agenda.

Looking ahead he said that the seven initiatives would be further developed to establish a Centenary Road Map.

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