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UN development and labour agencies join forces to promote growth for jobs

UN development and labour agencies join forces to promote growth for jobs

Despite a time of unprecedented prosperity, the world is also suffering “exploding inequalities,” the heads of the United Nations development and labour agencies warned today, as they signed a joint agreement strengthening collaboration to fight poverty and create more decent work.

UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Kemal Dervis and International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General Juan Somavia gathered in Geneva to sign the agreement, which is aimed at promoting economic growth with social development to benefit the bottom 20 to 40 per cent of the population.

“We urgently need much more inclusive growth,” the joint letter signed by the two agency chiefs said. “Although we live at a time of unprecedented prosperity, it is also one of exploding inequalities that hamper poverty reduction. Alongside democratic participation, we need economic empowerment, which means decent work for all.”

The agreement is a direct follow-up to last year’s UN Economic and Social Council Ministerial Declaration on decent work and full employment, and it will also bolster the world body’s efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of targets that aim to deal with a host of social ills – including eradicating extreme poverty – by 2015.

The two agencies have already identified a number of countries that offer the greatest opportunities for combined support from UNDP and the ILO to work together towards making decent work a central element in UN country programmes. The agreement is open to other UN agencies and funds and programmes and will contribute to ongoing UN reform efforts.