|ILO's Director General Guy Ryder, with Elizabeth Tinoco, the Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean.|
"The average rate of informality in the Americas is almost 47 per cent. It has dropped, but the rate is still high," Ryder said in a press conference held hours before the start of the 18th American Regional Meeting. "The challenge of labour formalization in the region must be a priority."
"With these rates of informality, it is no surprise that the Americas are still the most unequal region in the world," he added.
Ryder said that progress has been made with respect to employment in the region. He noted that the urban unemployment rate is at 6.2 per cent, down from 6.6 per cent in the middle of last year. He also said there has been a breakthrough in the fight against poverty.
Loss of dynamismHowever, Ryder warned that the current situation merits special attention because of the loss of economic dynamism at a regional and global level, which will certainly impact the labour market.
The Director-General of the ILO took note of progress in Latin America to promote the fundamental rights of workers, especially in the fight against child labour.
Ryder also referred to other outstanding challenges in the region, including social dialogue.
"At a time when there is much discussion, in the region and beyond, about the need for structural reforms to improve the productivity and competitiveness of our economies, it is important to understand that dialogue between governments, employers and workers is a tool, not an obstacle, to promote improvements in these areas," said Ryder.
Flagship eventThe regional meeting, held with the support of the Government of Peru and considered the flagship event on the world of work on the continent, brings together labour ministers and other government delegates, as well as senior representatives of employers´ and workers´ organizations in Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada and the United States.
The event, which also hosts representatives from five European countries and various international institutions and NGOs, will assess progress and changes in the region since the last regional meeting held in 2010 in Santiago de Chile.
The American Regional Meeting, which runs until 16 October, will also include two special dialogue sessions with guest speakers on the topics of "Sustainable development through decent work, productivity and social inclusion" and "The path to equity: From the informal to the formal economy."
ILO regional meetings are held every four years in each of the regions: Asia Pacific, the Americas, Africa and Europe.
The ILO, founded in 1919, is the only agency of the United Nations system in which states have tripartite representatives.
The first Regional Meeting of the ILO took place in the Americas in 1936.
Luis Cordova, press officer for the ILO, +511 6150386, +51 989301246, firstname.lastname@example.org
Alejandro Iturrizaga, assistant press ILO, +511 6150301, +51 99401775, email@example.com