Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on leaders of the world’s biggest
economies meeting in Cannes to ensure a global recovery that is sustainable,
inclusive and creates real change for those hit hardest.
“We come together at a critical moment,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to the 2011
Labour Summit (L20). “Dark clouds have gathered once again over the global
economy. Some may speak of ‘recovery.’ Too few actually feel it.”
“On the contrary, all too many people cannot even see the light at the end of a
long, long tunnel,” the Secretary-General told
the gathering, held on the margins of the summit of the Group of 20 (G-20) major
economies that began today.
He noted that unemployment is rising almost everywhere, and more and more
people have no jobs and few prospects of finding one. In addition, economic
inequalities are widening and poverty is growing.
“That’s why people are marching. They are anxious, angry and indignant,” he
stated. “At heart, this is a call for human dignity – the dignity and respect
that comes from decent work.”
He stressed that the two-day summit of the G-20 must be about more than
“It is must be about global economic recovery – growth that is sustainable and
inclusive. It must bring real recovery in the real economy.”
The time has come, he stated, to write “a new social contract for the 21st
century” – one that includes a global jobs pact.
“We need a job-rich recovery. Policy-makers must make employment a priority, not
an afterthought. The new social contract must also include a social protection
floor with stronger safeguards for the poorest and most vulnerable.”
He noted that in recent decades, labour’s share of income has fallen, and the
between those who work hard and those who reap the greatest rewards continues to
“To get out of this mess, we need a revolution in our thinking,” the
Secretary-General told world leaders, highlighting the sorts of investments that
make the most sense for the most people.
The first priority, he said, is to invest in sustainable development. “Economic
recovery and sustainable development are one and the same fight,” he stated.
“Sustainable energy fuels jobs – jobs that recharge economies, jobs to build
infrastructure, above all, jobs to protect the planet and the poorest.
“We cannot burn our way to the future. We cannot consume our way to greater
prosperity. Economic recovery and sustainable development must go hand-in-hand.
Growth and development must be sustainable.”
He also highlighted the need to invest in women and youth, who together make up
more than two thirds of the global population, as well as in the most
Mr. Ban also noted that over the last century, the trade union movement led the
way to a fairer and more just world.
“You helped create our modern era of prosperity. In the process, you did much
more than simply benefit your own members. You lifted millions out of poverty
into a better life. You proved that the better more of us do, the better all of
us do,” he said.
“At this time of crisis and confusion, discord and division, inequality and
injustice – we are all called to moral battle once again.”
While at the summit, Mr. Ban will also take part in a number of G-20 working
sessions, including on the global economic situation and on development and
trade, as well as hold bilateral talks with leaders on the margins of the forum.
He met earlier today with the President of the Republic of Korea, Lee Myung-bak,
and is slated to meet later with leaders from the United Arab Emirates,
Ethiopia, the European Union and the European Commission.