Chilean elected to third term as head of UN labour organization

18 November 2008

Juan Somavia was elected to a third term as Director-General of the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) today as he pledged to work to ensure social justice amid a growing series of challenges in the global economy.

Mr. Somavia ran unopposed to continue his stint as the ninth Director-General in the Geneva-based agency’s 89-year history, and formally begins his new five-year term in March 2009. He assumed office as ILO chief in early 1999.

During the past decade, the Chilean has led the promotion of the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda, and overseen the implementation of the Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which was adopted in 1998.

The Organization has also seen a huge increase in the number of ratifications of ILO labour standards during his tenure, as well as its own adoption of a landmark Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, in June of this year.

“We stand today at a significant moment in this Organization’s history,” said Mr. Somavia.

“Unemployment is rising. The crisis continues to batter economies and individuals across the world. The number of working poor is increasing. And there is a growing chorus of concern over the balance, fairness and sustainability of the current model of globalization.”


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