Backing the G20’s employment agenda
G20 Summit

Backing the G20’s employment agenda

How has the International Labour Organization (ILO) supported the G20 agenda?

We’re pleased to be among a small number of international organisations invited as observers to the G20. In that role the ILO provides technical inputs, analyses and policy advice on the presidency’s priorities in areas that relate to our mandate and the decent work agenda. In recent years we’ve addressed labour market trends, gender equality, global supply chains, fundamental principles and rights at work, skills development, social protection and a just transition to a carbon-neutral economy.

Where has such support been most effective in spurring G20 success?

The role of the decent work agenda in achieving fairer and more inclusive development has gained wide acceptance by G20 members. It has helped shift the debate towards a people-centred approach to coordinating economic policy. We’ve also been able to point to the labour implications of emerging trends, often in the context of the future of work, such as the platform economy.

How important has ILO engagement been at the ministerial level?

The ILO hosted the first-ever Education and Employment Working Group meeting in June 2018. Our technical inputs helped provide the basis for a meaningful dialogue between those two ministerial departments and the successful joint declaration between labour and employment ministers and education ministers. We hope that such documents can help stimulate policy discussions and debates in the ministers’ respective countries.

What distinctive resources does the ILO bring to the G20?

The ILO is a global knowledge centre on work. We’re well placed to share relevant data and analysis on the different dimensions of decent work, and to provide technical expertise and policy recommendations. Our tripartite structure gives us the experience and authority to promote social dialogue as an important component of the G20’s discussions, as well as in policymaking.

How can the ILO assist the G20 in ensuring the timely implementation of its commitments?

The ILO is called on to summarise progress made on specific targets (for example, reducing the gender gap in labour market participation by 25% by 2025), based on data provided by our members. In addition, presidencies often request reports that document progress over longer periods.

How has the ILO been working with the G20 this year?

For Argentina’s presidency, we’ve provided technical papers on informality and non-standard forms of employment; accelerating action to eliminate child labour, forced labour and modern slavery, with a focus on global supply chains; and women at work in G20 countries. We also contributed joint papers with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on social protection, labour market inclusion of people with disabilities, global skills trends, training needs and lifelong learning strategies for the future of work, plus skills for the future of work. In the Development Working Group, we contributed a paper on inclusive business and in the Framework Working Group we prepared notes on financing skills needs and social protection.

What are the ILO’s priorities for the Buenos Aires Summit?

We hope the leaders’ communiqué recognises the importance of policies that shape an inclusive future of work as critical to sustainable growth and development. As before, we look to it to recognise the importance of the decent work agenda, which has gained widespread recognition. Under Argentina’s presidency, the finance track has emphasised the need for fiscal space for broad social protection initiatives as well as for lifelong learning. That whole-of-government approach would be a welcome theme in the communiqué. There has also been broad consensus on the importance of implementing the G20 strategy to eradicate child labour, forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery, as adopted by the labour and employment ministers in their own declaration, and on promoting labour formalisation. And the G20 guidelines on skills for an inclusive future of work, adopted by the education and labour ministers, also deserve a place in the communiqué.

What emerging issues should the G20 address in the next few years?

The future of work continues to present complexities for G20 members that deserve continued attention, particularly in the context of the 2030 Agenda. The opportunities and challenges presented by new technology for the world of work need to be explored further, particularly regarding closing regulatory, protection, skills and representation gaps. The impact of changing demographics on work is another very important issue. Climate change, resilience and the need for sustainable production and consumption patterns also present both potential and risks for workers and firms.

How can the ILO and G20 work more closely together?

The ILO centenary in 2019 will focus on various issues that resonate with the G20 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Our Centenary Initiatives, including the future of work, end of poverty, women at work and the green economy, are – or can be – reflected in the work of the G20. We look forward to the reflections of the G20 members on the occasion of the ILO centenary as a means of informing the work of the G20 itself.