The international community must urgently consolidate efforts to tackle the
global jobs crisis, a top United Nations official said today, calling for
countries to adopt a more inclusive growth strategy that can enhance nations’
productivity and capacity to generate income sources.
Lazarous Kapambwe, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC),
said investing in productive capacities more effectively and efficiently is an
indispensable response, not just to the current job crises, but also to enable
long-term sustainable development.
“The global financial and economic crisis has now turned into a global jobs
crisis, affecting the daily lives of millions of people worldwide,” said Mr.
Kapambwe in his remarks to a UN panel discussion in New York.
“The most vulnerable and marginalized populations are the hardest hit. Without
sufficient assets and access to broad social safety nets, they are falling
deeper into poverty or, struggling to sustain their livelihoods,”
Mr. Kapambwe stressed that the combination of economic uncertainty, high food
prices and unemployment, which have triggered widespread expressions of social
discontent in many cities, need to be addressed through a “more inclusive and
balanced growth strategy to boost productive capacities to promote job-rich
The panel sought to find ways to address key issues surrounding job creation and
productive capacities to provide policy recommendations to countries based on
successful economic growth and reduction poverty strategies.
The panel comes at a time when unemployment remains at an all-time high, with
the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimating that 27 million jobs were
lost between 2007 and 2009. In particular, young people have been hit
particularly hard with a current youth joblessness rate of 12.6 per cent.
“Some 5.2 million young people lost their jobs with the crisis, while millions
more dropped out of the labour market through discouragement. A generation of
young people risks being scarred by de-skilling and lack of hope of a job,” said
ILO Director-General Juan Somavia, who also attended the panel discussion.
Mr. Somavia also pointed to the increasing amount of people who work under
vulnerable job conditions – referring to lack of adequate social security,
inadequate earnings and precarious working conditions – as an issue of concern,
and said women have a disproportionately higher share of this type of
In addition, Mr. Somavia addressed the difference in policies needed for
developed and developing countries. He said a policy of structural
transformation is needed in advanced economies so that individuals can
transition from industries and occupations where jobs are scarce to industries
with high job potential.
For this, he said governments would need to facilitate social protection that
allows job mobility. As for developing countries, Mr. Somavia suggested an
increase in the investment on productive capacities so they can expand their
productivity to generate higher incomes.
During the event, a report calling for measures to guarantee basic income and
services for all to increase economic growth was also presented by UN Women’s
Executive Director Michelle Bachelet. The report, Social Protection Floor for
a Fair and Inclusive Globalization, focuses on providing income security and
scaling up essential health services even in the poorest countries.
The panel discussed further recommendations on government policies, noting an
inclusive strategy would need to incorporate a gender, age and geographical
perspectives to be successful.