The International Labour Organisation (ILO) will launch a Global Coalition for Social Justice later this year, together with a wide range of partners, said Gilbert F. Houngbo, the Director General of the ILO during his participation at the World Government Summit.
“We need the commitment of the entire multilateral system, bilaterals, partners and stakeholders to fight inequality, exclusion and marginalization,” he said.
Houngbo said the coalition will build on a commitment to the SDGs to ensure that social justice is prioritised in national and global policymaking, development cooperation and in financial trade and investment agreements.
“Skeptics may say that it will be impossible for all these groups to come together, but I really want to believe that it will not be easy, but it is possible,” Houngbo added.
He also added that countries must make a commitment to ensuring social justice through the provision of equal opportunities.
According to the ILO’s mostly recent reports, global employment growth will be just 1% in 2023, less than half the level it was in 2022. Meanwhile, global unemployment is projected to rise by 3 million in 2023 and roughly the same amount in 2024.
“It is those living in middle and low income economies who are suffering the most deepening inequalities within and among their nations’ geopolitical conflicts, inflation, monetary tightening and great uncertainty,” he said.
Some of the factors depressing the outlook for the labor market, high food and energy price inflation, along with rising interest rates further complicate daily life of workers and small businesses.
“All of this is putting additional pressure on labor markets around the world and is pushing social progress backwards,” explained the director general.
Houngbo opined that the world “must not lose sight of our vision” for a better future of work and in the search for a sustainable solution to these current long term challenges. He added that the common denominator is the need for social justice, which is why the ILO is launching the coalition.
Access to jobs, social protection and social dialogue are key to advancing social justice, he said. In addition to investing in social protection systems as envisaged by the ILO Global Accelerator on Jobs and social protections.
“Such investment will prevent millions of families from falling into poverty and will bring millions out of poverty. The skilling and reskilling of workers will create opportunities out of technological change and just green transition,” he explained further.
The ILO wants to ensure that working people receive a just share of economic progress which, according to them, includes protection against the risk and respect for the right in return for their continuing contribution to the economy.
“Social justice, development and economic growth are not mutually exclusive,” he told the attendees. “They are inextricably linked.”