Government agencies and employers' organisations started discussion on co-coordinating macroeconomic, employment and social protection policies, supporting productive employment, sustainable enterprises and skills development and rights at work and social dialogue from yesterday in the 15th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that is taking place on December 4-7 at the Kyoto International Convention Centre (KICC), Japan.
Government ministers, representatives of workers' and employers' organisations, and academics from more than 46 countries in Asia, the Pacific and the Arab States has gathered in Kyoto to discuss how employment, economic and social progress can be safeguarded in the face of the uncertain global economic outlook.
About 500 people are attending the meeting, including about 30 government labour and employment ministers. The Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda gave the keynote speech at the opening ceremony yesterday.
The director general of the ILO Juan Somavia also spoke on the occasion.
A Youth Leaders' Forum is tackling the pressing challenge of youth employment and there will be special sessions on green jobs, employment-led natural disaster response and partnerships for decent work.
The meeting will open at a time of extreme economic uncertainty and amid growing concern that, while the region's economic performance remains positive, it will not be immune from the turbulence affecting its key export markets."The existing unbalanced growth cannot continue. It has failed to deliver jobs of the quality and quantity needed to assure women and men and their families a decent life," Somavia said, adding that, today, unemployment levels in Asia and the Pacific have yet to reach the pre-crisis low of 76.9 million in 2007. Nearly 60 per cent of the region's workers are in vulnerable employment.
"We need a model of growth that is more socially and economically efficient. The crisis of youth employment demands urgent action. Young people make up around 20 per cent of the region's population but are half of the jobless. We must restore their hope in a better future through opportunities for decent work."
"During the meeting there will also be addresses by Dr Jose Luis Guterres, vice prime minister of Timor Leste, Dr Ahmed Luqman, Director General of the Arab Labour Organisation and Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary General of ASEAN.
The ILO is the UN specialised agency dealing with work and work-related issues.
It has a unique tripartite membership structure, under which governments, employers' and workers' organisations act as equal partners, making decisions representative of the real economy.The meeting is normally held only every four years. The last meeting was in Busan, South Korea in 2006.