ILO opens Kyoto meeting today on economic stress
Ministers, representatives of workers' and employers' organisations and academics from more than 46 countries gather in the Japanese city of Kyoto today to discuss how employment, economic and social progress can be safeguarded in the face of the uncertain global economic outlook.
The 15th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organisation will continue until December 7 at the Kyoto International Convention Centre, the ILO said in a statement.
About 500 people, including about 30 labour and employment ministers from Asia, the Pacific and Arab states are expected to attend the event.
Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will give the keynote statement at the opening ceremony. ILO Director General Juan Somavia will also speak.
Discussions at the meeting will focus on co-coordinating macroeconomic, employment and social protection policies; supporting productive employment, sustainable enterprises and skills development; and rights at work and social dialogue, according to the statement.
A Youth Leaders' Forum will tackle 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 ILO said.
The meeting opens 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.
"Today, unemployment levels in Asia and the Pacific have yet to reach the pre-crisis low of 76.9 million in 2007. Nearly 60 percent of the region's workers are in vulnerable employment. We need a model of growth that is more socially and economically efficient,” he said.
“The crisis of youth employment demands urgent action. Young people make up around 20 percent 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,” Somavia said.
The ILO normally organises the Asia-Pacific event every four years. The last meeting was in Busan, South Korea, in 2006.