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COVID-19 and social protection among the main debates at the end of the June session of the International Labor Conference

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© M. Crozet / ILO

GENEVA (ILO News) – The June segment of the 109th International Labor Conference has come to a close – the first virtual ILC in its history and one that featured intense discussions on the impact of COVID-19 on the world of work and how to ensure a centered human-centered healing.

During the plenary discussions, the delegates addressed the report of the Director General of the Conference to Work at the time of COVID, who implemented the human-centered approach of the ILO Centennial Declaration 2019 to achieve a sustainable and comprehensive global pandemic response. Delegates unanimously adopted a Global Call to Action outlining measures to create a human-centered recovery from the pandemic to avoid long-term scarring of economies and societies.

Global Call to Action commits countries to ensure that their economic and social recovery from the crisis is “fully inclusive, sustainable and resilient”.

A Labor World Summit was held on 17-18 June, with speeches by world leaders and representatives of workers ‘and employers’ organizations and the United Nations. They included Pope Francis, the President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae, the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, and the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Félix Tshisekedi. The summit focused on the need for a global response to the COVID-19 crisis and the action required to build a better working future.

The conference adopted the report of its Standards Implementation Committee (CAS), which adopted conclusions on the implementation of ILO-specific Conventions in 19 countries. He included Belarus, El Salvador and Zimbabwe in separate paragraphs identifying particularly serious problems in enforcing the standards. She agreed on the importance of promoting employment and decent work in a rapidly changing work world, stressing the need for governments, in consultation with employers ‘and workers’ organizations and stakeholders, to develop, implement, monitor and review policies and programs rooted in International Labor Standards.

A discussion on Social Protection focused on the impact of COVID-19 and the rapid changes taking place in the world of work. Delegates adopted conclusions outlining a framework for urgent action towards universal, adequate, comprehensive and sustainable social protection systems that are adapted to developments in the world of work.

The actions included measures to strengthen national social protection policies, close funding gaps, strengthen governance, and adapt social protection systems after the crisis and in the context of the future of work.

Delegates passed an emergency resolution on Myanmar, which called for the restoration of democracy, the restoration of civil rule, the end of prohibitions and arbitrary human rights violations, and the restoration of fundamental principles and rights at work. He called on the ILO Governing Body to monitor the situation in Myanmar and monitor the implementation of the resolution.

Delegates also voted to approve the ILO Biennial Program and Budget 2022-23. Moreover, they agreed to repeal or withdraw 29 outdated international labor instruments.

Closing this segment of the ILC, ILO Director General Guy Ryder expressed his satisfaction with the results obtained during what he described as an ‘outstanding’ Conference, guaranteeing the institutional and business continuity of the Organization.

“What has been done in recent weeks puts our organization where it needs to be. It equips our Organization to face the challenges of this most difficult moment in the world of work. “It is an expression of how much government, workers and employers ask us for leadership and action.”

Nearly 4,500 delegates attended the virtual ILC, including 171 ministers and deputy ministers and high-level representatives from workers and employers, from 181 ILO Member States.

The second segment of the Conference will take place from 25 November to 11 December this year, with an agenda that includes thematic discussions on inequalities and the world of work, as well as skills and lifelong learning.

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