ILO launches high level meeting to discuss the future of work in Arab states

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, opens the Tripartite Arab Meeting on the Future of Work in Beirut, Lebanon, bringing together government, worker and employer representatives to shed light on forces transforming the world of work in Arab States.

Press release | 03 April 2017
Delegates at the launch of the Tripartite Arab Meeting on the Future of Work
Beirut, Lebanon (ILO News) An ILO meeting on the future of work in the Arab world kicked off in Beirut on Monday (April 3), bringing together key world-of-work actors to discuss major labour and employment issues the region is expected to face over the coming years.

Held under the Patronage of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad El Hariri, the event brought together ILO member state representatives to exchange views around the fast-changing nature of work, and highlight some of the challenges and opportunities coming to the fore and their implications for the future of work in the region.

The meeting is part of ILO’s global “Future of Work Initiative" which invites government, worker and employer representatives from member states to undertake dialogue structured around work and society, decent jobs, the organization of work and production, and the governance of work.

Through understanding the transformations that are taking place in the world of work, the ILO will be able to better serve its constituents in promoting decent work and social justice.

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, on mission from the Organization’s headquarters in Geneva, attended the event.

“One of the challenges we face as we try to build the future of work that we want, is whether we are determined to make the goal of Decent Work for all a reality or to simply leave it as one more good intention adopted by the United Nations,” Ryder said during the opening of the event.

“Can I suggest that we jointly – governments, workers and employers, and all the friends joining us - make it our business to make that future of work a reality,” Ryder continued.

ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat stressed the “importance of effective and participatory tripartite dialogue as a crucial mechanism to understand the challenges facing us, and how we can work together to ensure a more prosperous future for the region through social justice and decent work for all.”

The Future of Work Initiative is one of seven Centenary Initiatives - a package of activities aimed at equipping the Organization to take up successfully the challenges of its social justice mandate in the future - launched by ILO Director Guy Ryder in the run up to 100 years since the Organization’s foundation in 1919.

Regional government, employer and worker representatives, as well as UN agencies, academic institutions, youth leaders and private sector experts helds debates on four key thematic areas affecting the future of work in the region: achieving social justice through a demographic-driven initiative and responding to the unique needs of youth, women and refugees; developing robust economies that are able to take advantage of global trends and technological changes for improved employment outcomes; achieving gender equality and boosting women’s employment prospects amidst the changing world of work; and strengthening social security in Arab States.

Lebanon’s Minister of Labour Mohammad Kabbara, speaking on behalf of the patron of the vent Prime Minister Saad al Hariri, said: “The events unfolding in the Arab region compel us to adopt sound policies developed through cooperative efforts, in order to create a common ground which will lead us to strengthened social dialogue for the benefit of all in the region.”

The event also included a debate by youth leaders on how they envision the future of work in the region taking shape. Some of their concerns are the impact of technology, and the need for better education and skills development to qualify for the jobs of the future.