Chairperson of the Conference, Mr. Gilles de Robien,
Representatives of governments, employers and workers,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Your discussion could not come at a better time.
We are days away from the G20 meeting in Canada. Our September MDG Summit in New York is just around the corner.
Today, you undertake a vital dialogue drawing from the richness of tripartite experience around the globe.
You are focusing on productive employment and social protection to realize the Millennium Development Goals.
Let me begin by sharing what I am seeing and hearing.
The challenge of creating quality jobs—decent work—comes up wherever I go.
In countries rich and poor. In places north and south. It is a call from heads of State and directly from people on the street.
As Director-General Somavia has often said, the global jobs challenge is not just an economic or social issue. It is a political issue.
The ILO has helped lead the way with the Global Jobs Pact which is moving job creation up the priority list in the recovery process.
Now is the time to go even further.
Yes, there is some hopeful economic news. But there is even more uncertainty. Far too many are left on the sidelines.
A recovery is not meaningful if people learn about it in the newspaper.
Working women and men need to see it in their own lives and livelihoods.
Simply put: A real recovery must reach the real economy.
You are guiding the way.
With social justice and fair globalization as the compass - with productive employment and social protection as the drivers.
This is the way to dignity for families...recovery for economies...and success for the MDGs.
I look forward to the outcome of your discussions.
It will enrich the MDG Summit in September and all our work ahead.