The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called for increased investments in universal social protection, decent work and a green transition.
ILO Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder, made the call in a statement at the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group on Thursday.
Ryder said this would ensure a human-centred recovery from the pandemic and empower people to navigate the challenges of a rapidly changing world of work.
He called on countries to back the Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection launched by the UN Secretary-General and the ILO at the General Assembly in September, saying that this would increase investments in universal social protection, decent work and a green and just transition.
Ryder recalled how the pandemic had been devastating for the most vulnerable, especially women, children, and underlined that they faced a very different future, depending on where they lived.
“The recovery is deeply uneven, spurred by vast differences between advanced and developing economies in access to vaccines.
“Also,, the fiscal capacity and ability of governments to respond, a growing digital divide and the threat of a looming debt crisis. This is creating a great divergence, which puts the recovery itself at risk and undermines trust and solidarity, ’’he said.
He noted that an estimated 8.8 per cent of total working hours were lost globally in 2020, representing an equivalent to the hours worked in one year by 255 million full-time workers.
Governments across the world have implemented an unprecedented employment and social protection response to protect people’s health, employment and incomes, Ryder noted.
“But, these measures are insufficient to mitigate the full impact of the crisis and have left 53.1 per cent of the global population unprotected, or some 4.14 billion people,’’ Ryder added.
He said that this was the time to show solidarity and to increase investments in universal social protection, decent work and gender-equal societies.
The ILO boss further called on countries to take a “high road” to social protection by investing in universal, comprehensive, adequate and sustainable social protection systems, in line with human rights principles and international social security standards.
According to Ryder, without adequate financing and political will, governments could fall back on a “low road” , marked by minimal benefits and wide coverage gaps.
He said that the advances made through the Financing for Development Initiative need to be pushed forward and to scale not just to address the imminent debt crisis.
It is also to unleash investments in an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery, re-channelling the IMF’s unprecedented allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) of US$650 billion to those countries and purposes that need it most, Ryder said.
He also emphasised the need to fight climate change by creating decent work for all stressing that “a green and just transition holds massive potential for all countries, particularly by investing in more sustainable and diversified economies, as well as in the creation of new productive employment opportunities.‘’