'Stable, fair global financial system to ease effects of crisis'


Posted at Feb 22 2009 01:33 PM | Updated as of Feb 23 2009 08:43 AM

A global financial system that promotes stability, security, and fairness for all can mitigate the expected effects of the economic crisis, the International Labor Organization (ILO) said.

At the conclusion of the high-level forum convened by the ILO in Makati City last Friday, delegates from 11 countries agreed on the need for coordinated and coherent government action. 

They also pushed for comprehensive stimulus packages, which target job creation and social protection, as central to sustainable recovery and growth.

"A strong message came from the meeting that national, regional and international responses must be coherent and coordinated. And that they must take into account social factors as well as economic factors," Sachiko Yamamoto, ILO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, said in a statement.

The forum, called "Responding to the Economic Crisis: Coherent Policies for Growth, Employment, and Decent Work in Asia and the Pacific," was organized by the ILO in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and the Department of Labor and Employment. The global meeting was supported by the government of Norway.

In the forum, the participants proposed practical measures to address the global economic crisis. 

These measures include protecting and supporting decent jobs, collective bargaining, and social dialogue in negotiating flexible hours, wages, temporary layoffs and severance packages.

The ILO also stressed the need to support specific sectors, such as the rural and agricultural economy as well as the vulnerable groups of workers.

These vulnerable groups of workers include international and internal migrants, temporary workers, women, and the youth, it added.

"The crisis is severe and we haven't seen the worst of it. The poorest and most vulnerable could be severely hit by its brutality as it spreads. To be effective, we must ensure that assistance reaches all levels of society and economies," Yamamoto said.

Enterprise support measures, including access to credit, should also be given to small and medium enterprises, the ILO said. In addition, developing countries should also get international and regional aid to include funding and easing of conditionality from financial institutions.

Meanwhile, the ILO said it would help mobilize development partners to strengthen regional cooperation, reduce barriers to trade and commerce, and build capacities for policy coherence for growth, employment, and decent work.

"This is the first major crisis in the era of globalization and it needs a global response; the ILO has an important role to play in developing that response," Yamamoto said.