Globalization must be harnessed to benefit rich and poor alike, UN labour agency says

24 February 2004

The world's interdependent economy benefits few and disenfranchises many, according to a new report presented today by the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) which calls for building an “inclusive” globalization.

The world's interdependent economy benefits few and disenfranchises many, according to a new report presented today by the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) which calls for building an “inclusive” globalization.

A Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All acknowledges that globalization’s potential for good is “immense” but warns that current imbalances in the world economy are ethically unacceptable and politically unsustainable.

The report was issued by the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, which was co-chaired by President Tarja Halonen of Finland and President Benjamin William Mkapa of Tanzania.

Their report “offers no miraculous or simple solutions, for there are none,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia, who originally proposed the panel. “But is an attempt to help break the current impasse by focusing on the concerns and aspirations of people and on the ways to better harness the potential of globalization itself,” he added.

In New York, a spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised the ILO for the initiative and hailed the report's release, voicing hope that the international community would heed its findings "on one of the most important issues of our time - the need to ensure that people throughout the world, and especially the poor, can benefit from globalization and have a voice wherever decisions about it are taken."

Among its recommendations, the Commission calls for fairer rules for international trade, investment, finance and migration as well as measures to promote core labour standards and a minimum level of social protection in the global economy. In addition, the experts underscore the need to mobilize international resources to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of time-bound targets for tackling global ills.

The Commission calls for giving global priority to finding decent work for all – a goal that should be pursued through complementary national and international policies. “This would respond to a major political demand in all countries,” the experts observe, pointing out that accelerating jobs creation in all nations would help to reduce tensions within and among them.

The report will be discussed by the ILO’s Governing Body in March, and the Director?General will make proposals for follow up to the International Labour Conference in June. It will also be submitted to national leaders, the UN Secretary-General and the heads of key international organizations, other intergovernmental bodies, and non-State actors in the global community.

 

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