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Framework to Recover: the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, 2019

Fact Friday Banner - Framework to Recover - ILO Centenary Declaration V2

The Global High Commission on the Future of Work produced an independent report on how to achieve a future of work that provides decent and sustainable work opportunities for all. This Report was launched in Geneva on January 22, 2019 and was done as part of commemorative activities for the 100th anniversary of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It is the culmination of a 15-month examination by the 27-member Commission, which comprised leading figures from business and labour, think tanks, academia, government and non-governmental organisations. The Report urges governments to commit to a set of measures in order to address the challenges caused by unprecedented transformational change in the world of work.

The Report of the Global Commission calls on a human-centred agenda for the future of work that strengthens the social contract by placing people and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice. This agenda consists of three pillars of action, which in combination would drive growth, equity and sustainability for present and future generations:

  1. Increase investment in people’s capabilities (Pillar of Action 1)
    • Lifelong learning for all;
    • Supporting people through transitions;
    • A transformative agenda for gender equality;
    • Strengthening social protection.

  2. Increasing investment in the institutions of work (Pillar of Action 2)
    • Establishing a Universal Labour Guarantee;
    • Expanding time sovereignty;
    • Revitalising collective representation;
    • Technology for decent work.

  3. Increasing investment in decent and sustainable work (Pillar of Action 3)
    • Transforming economies;
    • A human-centred business and economic model.

 The Global High Commission Report was considered at the Centenary session of the International Labour Conference in June 2019 (108th Conference), the result of which was the production of the new ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work, 2019. As reflected by the Report, the Declaration focuses on three areas of action: (i) Increasing investment in people’s capabilities; (ii) Increasing investment in the institutions of work; and (iii) Increasing investment in decent and sustainable work.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 earlier this year has been the cause of significant global social and economic disruption, including the largest global recession since the Great Depression. Since March 2020, the ILO has undertaken a number of initiatives as part of its wider response to the pandemic and toward the view of ensuring the safety of individuals and the sustainability of businesses and jobs. Part of the ILO’s response includes providing a framework for recovery. The ILO Centenary Declaration is one of the documents which will be used by the Organisation and its constituents to provide a relevant framework for the development of mechanisms for recovery, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Declaration looks at the major challenges and opportunities for the future of work, ranging from technology to climate change, from demographic shifts to the need for new skills. It provides guidance for dealing with these issues and a platform for cooperation with other organisations in the international system. It is also a reaffirmation of the social justice mandate of the International Labour Organisation, and of the critical role of social dialogue and international labour standards.

According to the Centenary Declaration, the proposed priorities of the International Labour Organisation are:

  • Strong tripartite constituents and influential and inclusive social dialogue;
  • International labour standards and authoritative and effective supervision;
  • Economic, social and environmental transitions;
  • Sustainable enterprises for generating decent work;
  • Skills and lifelong learning;
  • Gender equality and equal opportunities for all;
  • Adequate and effective protection at work for;
  • Comprehensive and sustainable social protection for all.

The Declaration issues a call to action for all member States to:

  • Ensure all people benefit from the changing world of work;
  • Ensure the continued relevance of the employment relationship;
  • Ensure adequate protection for all workers;
  • Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full employment and decent work;
  • It also sets priorities for the ILO’s work, as outlined in its Programme and Budget.

International Affairs Unit