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Geneva, Jul 26 (Canadian-Media): The immediate introduction of a Temporary Basic Income for the world’s poorest people could slow the current surge in COVID-19 and enable close to three billion people to stay at home, according to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report released on Thursday.
UN. Image credit: Twitter handle
Temporary Basic Income: Protecting Poor and Vulnerable People in Developing Countries, estimates that it would cost governments upwards of $199 billion per month, to provide what UNDP describes as “a time-bound, guaranteed basic income, to the 2.7 billion people living below or just above the poverty line in 132 developing countries.”
The agency describes it as a “feasible” measure, that is urgently needed, with the pandemic continuing to infect more than 1.5 million per week, particularly in developing countries, where seven out of ten workers make a living through informal markets, and cannot earn money if they are stuck at home.
“Many of the huge numbers of people not covered by social insurance programmes are informal workers, low-waged, women and young people, refugees and migrants, and people with disabilities – and they are the ones hardest hit by this crisis”, said UNDP in a press release issued along with the report.
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented social and economic measures...This might have seemed impossible just a few months ago - UNDP chief, Achim Steiner
UNDP has carried out assessments on the socio-economic effects of COVID-19 in more than 60 countries since the pandemic began, with data confirming that workers who lack benefits, have no choice but to venture outdoors, putting themselves and their families at risk.
A Temporary Basic Income would give them the means to buy food and pay for health and education expenses, said UNDP.
It is also a realistic fiscal move: a six-month Temporary Basic Income, for example, would require just 12 percent of the total financial response to COVID-19 expected in 2020, said UNDP, which is the equivalent of just one-third of what developing countries owe, in external debt payments through 2020.
“Unprecedented times call for unprecedented social and economic measures. Introducing a Temporary Basic Income for the world’s poorest people has emerged as one option. This might have seemed impossible just a few months ago”, said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
“Bailouts and recovery plans cannot only focus on big markets and big business. A Temporary Basic Income might enable governments to give people in lockdown a financial lifeline, inject cash back into local economies to help keep small businesses afloat, and slow the devastating spread of COVID-19”, he said.
No ‘silver bullet’
UNDP said that a Temporary Basic Income should not, however, be viewed as a “silver bullet solution”. Protecting jobs, expanding support to micro, small and medium enterprises, and using digital solutions to identify and access people who are excluded, are all measures that countries can take.
The agency suggests that some countries could pay for the radical measure by repurposing funds they would have used to service their national debt. Developing and emerging economies will spend $3.1 trillion in debt repayment this year, according to official data.
A comprehensive debt standstill for all developing countries, as called for by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, would allow countries to temporarily repurpose these funds into emergency measures.
Several countries have already begun to embrace the concept. The West African State of Togo has distributed over $19.5 million in monthly financial aid to over 12 percent of the population through its cash transfer programme, mostly to women who work in the informal sector.
Spain recently approved a monthly budget of €250 million to top up the incomes of 850,000 vulnerable families and 2.3 million individuals, up to a minimum threshold.
UNDP is leading the UN’s socio-economic response to COVID-19 recovery and implementing recovery strategies in countries across the world.
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Ottawa, Jul 22 (Canadian-Media): Mary Ng, Canada's Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, spoke Monday, July 20, with Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy to discuss long-term economic recovery for the citizens of both countries, media reports said.
Mary Ng. Image credit: Twitter handle
Both the ministers discussed the importance of strong bilateral commercial relations to create opportunities by advancing open, rules-based trade for economic growth of both countries.
Keeping in mind the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministers also discussed the importance of international coordination to support long-term economic recovery for the citizens of both countries.
A mutual agreement was reached on the key role of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in helping mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on international trade for small businesses, including women entrepreneurs.
During their discussion, the ministers emphasized the importance of promoting supply chain resilience and reaffirmed their commitment to working together through the CPTPP to provide stability and opportunities for Canadian and Japanese small businesses, entrepreneurs and workers.
Both the ministers said that they look forward to the third CPTPP Commission meeting scheduled for August 5, 2020.
A taxing problem: how to ensure the poor and vulnerable don’t shoulder the cost of the COVID-19 crisis
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Geneva/UN, Jul 13 (Canadian-Media): In the wake of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, tax systems should be reformed, and tax avoidance and evasion reduced, to ensure an economic recovery in which everyone pays their share, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Dioximar Guevara lives with her five children in San Felix, a slum of Puerto Ordaz, the main city in Bolívar, Venezuela, where poverty runs deep. Image credit: OCHA/Gemma Cortes
Taxes pay for many of the things that are fundamental to functioning societies across the world, such as schools, health care, and social services. Money raised through taxation is crucial to ensuring that these services are maintained during the COVID-19 crisis. But, when businesses shut down, and millions lose their jobs, as has happened during the current crisis, tax revenue plummets.
In the short-term, governments have put together stimulus packages, and a wide array of measures to help businesses and citizens get back on their feet. The IMF is tracking these efforts, which range from a $540 billion European Union package, which includes funding to help the hardest-hit states; to a ‘cash for work’ program in Cambodia; and, in Samoa, a six-month reduction in private utility bills.
At the same time, the IMF has made emergency COVID-19 funding available, particularly to those countries with developing economies. The IMF has made some $250 billion available, in the form of financial assistance and debt service relief, to some 77 member countries.
For example, In April, the IMF approved Afghanistan’s request for an emergency assistance package of approximately $220 million, to help the country cope with the disruption to trade, which has led to heavy damage to the economy.
Inequality is also a major global problem in itself. This is an opportunity to change tax systems for the better. Victoria Perry, Deputy Director, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF
Bangladesh, which has been badly hit by plummeting demand for one of its main exports, clothing, received emergency assistance worth some $732 million in May. Also in May, to avoid what the IMF characterized as “immediate and severe economic disruption” resulting from the pandemic, Egypt received a package of more than $2.7 billion, to help alleviate some of the most pressing financing needs, including for spending on health, social protection, and supporting the most impacted sectors and vulnerable groups.
But, in the longer-term, these stop-gap measures will not be enough to fix many of the underlying problems of the global economy, which include growing inequality within countries, and the ability of multinational enterprises to legally minimise corporate taxes.
The progressive approach
Victoria Perry, Deputy Director of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, and an expert on taxation, told UN News that, in planning the post-pandemic recovery, countries should look at dealing with inequality by implementing more progressive tax systems: “this means that the average tax rate rises, along with income. The extent of the tax burden for richer people is for each country to decide, but it is certainly problematic when effective tax rates for better off people are lower than for poorer ones. It is also often the case that better off people, with access to tax advice and more complex financial affairs, can make better use of exceptions or loopholes in the tax system than those who rely only on wages. Closing such options can make for a more equitable system and — depending on the country — can be more important than structural reforms of tax rates.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the growing gap between rich and poor was already a cause for concern. Whilst inequality has fallen between countries, with some countries, such as China, making huge strides in raising overall income levels in recent decades, inequality within countries appears to be rising. For Ms. Perry and the IMF, personal income taxes play a leading role, when it comes to determining the progressivity of the tax system.
Ms. Perry adds that another option for some developing countries, which have trouble raising and enforcing a personal income tax, is to look at taxing property: “whilst income is relatively easy to hide, luxury homes are very visible, and a tax-free threshold means that owners of cheaper homes can be exempt or relieved from paying it”.
It is important to look at both sides of the equation — not only taxes, but how the money is spent to improve lives.
Income inequality differs widely across countries, but studies show that creating a fairer society, is not only about redistributing wealth, but, as Ms. Perry explains, putting in place policies that help people to gain sustainable, decent work: “Globalization has affected all open economies, but countries with effective redistributive tax and benefit systems have been able to avoid sharply rising inequality. However, redistribution on its own is not enough. It has to go hand-in-hand with a host of other measures, such as retraining, and job support”. In thinking about equity, then, it is important to look at both sides of the equation—not only taxes, but how the money is spent to improve lives.
Getting to the source of the issue
Some studies have calculated that, in richer countries, some 10 per cent of corporate tax revenue is lost to tax avoidance by multinationals. Developing countries are estimated to lose even more, in proportion to the national incomes.
“Another problem is that the international tax system may shift the tax base away from the ‘source’ country, says Ms. Perry. “So, if a mining company has its headquarters (residence) in a richer country, but operates mines in a less-developed economy (the source), the source country may not get the lion’s share of the tax revenue. When we talk about ‘fair and equitable distribution’, many observers are talking about ensuring that source countries get a better deal. The current international debate over taxing major digital tech companies, many of which are headquartered in the US, is similar, but the “digital” economy is even harder to address. Even though they’re doing business and making money all over the world, where the presence is virtual rather than physical, countries are not allowed to collect tax revenue on the income, under the current system”.
“We are going through this huge economic crisis, and countries are having to make major adjustments to their economies. But inequality is also a kind of huge global problem in itself. This is also then an opportunity to change tax systems for the better, to make them fairer and more equitable, and to promote economic activity that is less polluting, less dominated by industry with a large carbon footprint, and more sustainable.”
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Geneva/ILO, Jul 13 (Canadian-Media): Global leaders discussed strategies to ensure the world of work after the COVID-19 pandemic tackles the vulnerabilities exposed by the outbreak, including a lack of social protection, the informal economy, inequality and climate change, ILO reports said.
Image credit: Twitter handle
The Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder, has welcomed the commitment and determination of world leaders to build a better world of work as a core element of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis .
Speaking at the close of the Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work , the Director-General said, “I think it is difficult to overstate the level of common purpose, of determination, to overcome the crisis. To build forward to something better. From this everything else becomes possible.”
“We have some very important tools to deploy, as we seek to get the world of work back on its feet,” Ryder said. “Some are very familiar to us, such as social dialogue and international labour standards. We also have a relatively new asset in our hands. That is our Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work . I think we are seeing just how valuable it is as a roadmap for us to find the way forward.”
Heads of State and government, as well as prominent global employers’ and trade union leaders, took part in the three day global event, held online from 7-9 July. The Summit was the largest ever online gathering of workers, employers and governments with contributions from heads of the UN, WHO, IMF, WTO and the OECD.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said, “This global summit is an opportunity for governments, workers’ and employers’ representatives to shape winning responses,” he said. Recovery from the crisis, “is not a choice between health or jobs and the economy. They are interlinked. We will either win on all fronts or fail on all fronts.”
“We already have a strong foundation for action and solutions, the ILO Centenary Declaration as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development , and SDG Goal 8 on decent work and economic growth . Together we can emerge from this crisis stronger, with decent jobs and a brighter, more equal and greener future for all,” the Secretary-General added.
“Our systems, jobs, livelihoods and the economy are intertwined,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO). “WHO calls on governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations in the health sector to develop strong and sustainable national programmes for the occupational safety and health of health workers. Together, we have a duty to protect those who protect us.”
The Summit discussed strategies for addressing the massive world-of-work vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic and in particular, the needs of those working without social protection and in the informal economy; the promotion of full and productive employment and sustainable enterprises; ways of ensuring that poverty reduction, equality and combating climate change are core elements in the recovery process; and how the international community can recommit to delivering on the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The first part of the Summit, held from 1-2 July, consisted of a series of virtual regional events covering Africa , the Americas , the Arab States , Asia-Pacific and Europe and Central Asia . Representatives of governments, employers, workers, and regional organizations discussed the huge impact of the pandemic on their economies , labour markets and societies, and different national responses. The conclusions of these regional events fed into the discussions this week at the Global Summit.
The last day of the Global Summit, ILO Constituents’ Day , provided Ministers, workers’ and employers’ leaders from the ILO’s 187 member States a forum to share views on how the ILO Centenary Declaration can guide action to support recovery from the pandemic and build a better world of work.
#WHO #UN; #Africa; #Covid19Impact; #UNSecGenrral
Africa, Jul 09 (Canadian-Media): More than 50 Heads of State and government, alongside global employers’ and trade union leaders, have been taking part in an online discussion on Wednesday looking at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world of work.
A woman runs a small shop selling prepaid telephone cards in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Image credit: ILO/E. Raboanaly
The Global Summit is part of a five-day virtual event organized this month by the International Labour Organization (ILO), to examine issues that include countering the economic and social impact of the crisis.
In a video message, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told leaders that they are essential to global efforts to “build back better” after the pandemic.
“Together, we can emerge from this crisis stronger, with decent jobs and a brighter, more equal and greener future for all”, he said.
Crisis exposes vulnerabilitiesThe COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the extreme vulnerability of millions of workers and businesses worldwide.
It has led to a 14 per cent drop globally in working hours during the second quarter of this year: equivalent to the loss of 400 million full time jobs, according to data from the ILO.
Furthermore, most of the world’s workers - a staggering 93 per cent - continue to live in countries that have implemented some form of workplace closures
As of Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported more than 11.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and nearly 540,000 deaths.
The UN chief pointed out that while some countries are just entering the worst days of the pandemic, others are struggling to open up their economies amid the threat of a resurgence in cases.
Shaping winning responses“But let’s be clear: it’s not a choice between health or jobs and the economy”, he said. “They are interlinked. We will either win on all fronts or fail on all fronts.”
He underscored the importance of global solidarity as no country can solve the crisis alone.
“This Global Summit is an opportunity for governments, workers and employers’ representatives to shape winning responses”, he said.
“Responses that stimulate the economy and employment. Solutions that support enterprises, decent jobs and incomes. Approaches that safeguard workers and expand social protection. Plans that promote gender equality and reinforce social cohesion. Proposals that protect the most vulnerable and invest in essential workers — such as those in health and care services — who are on the frontlines of the response. And above all, initiatives that are grounded in unity and solidarity.”
A better world of work
Leaders addressed the summit via video messages, outlining how their countries or organizations are responding to the crisis.
“I've no doubt that these messages will provide us with invaluable guidance and encouragement in our efforts to overcome the pandemic and to address effectively and urgently, its impact on the world of work,” said ILO Director General Guy Ryder in delivering the opening remarks.
The Global Summit was preceded by five regional virtual events held last week looking at the challenges of recovery and building a better future of work after the pandemic.
Over two days, government, employer and worker representatives and academia from across five regions of the world – Africa, the Americas, the Arab States, Asia-Pacific and Europe – discussed the huge costs of the COVID-19 pandemic to their economies, labour markets and societies.
Their exchanges helped inform the Summit, which the ILO said is the largest-ever online gathering of its kind.
#UN; #FAO; #Covid19; #PriceHike; #GlobalAssistance; #FAOFoodOutlook
Rome, Jul 3 (Canadian-Media): In June, global food commodity prices rose for the first time since the beginning of the year driven by a rebound in vegetable oils, sugar and dairy quotations. However, in the cereals and meat markets, most prices remained under downward pressure amid market uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, FAO news reports said.
Palm and soybean oil for sale at the Klongtoey market in Bangkok, Thailand.
In June, global food commodity prices rose for the first time since the beginning of the year driven by a rebound in vegetable oils, sugar and dairy quotations. However, in the cereals and meat markets, most prices remained under downward pressure amid market uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks international prices of the most traded food commodities, averaged 93.2 points in June, some 2.4 percent higher than the previous month.
Effective from July 2020, the price coverage of the Food Price Index has been expanded and its base period revised from 2002- 2004 to 2014-2016. For more details on this revision, see the feature article published in the June 2020 issue of the FAO Food Outlook. A November 2013 article contains technical background on the previous construction of the Index.
The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index gained 11.3 percent in June, after declining for four consecutive months. The rebound mainly reflects a sharp rise in palm oil prices due to recovering global import demand, following the easing of COVID-19 related lockdowns in a number of countries, and concerns over possible production setbacks amid prolonged migrant labour shortages. Price quotations of soy, sunflower and rapeseed oils also went up.
The FAO Sugar Price Index climbed 10.6 percent in June from the previous month. The surge in crude oil prices provided strong support to sugar markets, encouraging Brazil's sugar mills to use more sugarcane supplies to produce ethanol instead of sugar, thereby affecting sugar export availabilities and prices.
The FAO Dairy Price Index rose by 4.0 percent from May, marking the first increase after four months of successive declines. Renewed import demand for spot supplies, especially from the Middle East and East Asia, coupled with seasonally declining supplies in Europe and limited availability of uncommitted supplies in Oceania, underpinned the recent price increases.
The FAO Cereal Price Index declined 0.6 percent from May. Downward pressure on wheat prices in June was in part due to new harvests in the northern hemisphere and improved production prospects in a number of major exporting countries, including the Black Sea region.
The FAO Meat Price Index fell 0.6 percent from May, averaging 6.0 percent below its June 2019 value. Bovine meat and poultry price quotations fell, largely due to increased export availabilities in major producing regions, whereas pig meat prices registered a small increase, mostly in Europe, on expectation of the further easing of COVID-19 market restrictions.
Record global cereal production to boost stocks
World cereal production is poised to reach a new record level of 2 790 million tonnes in 2020 - up 9.3 million tonnes from the May forecast - surpassing the record-high registered in 2019 by as much as 3.0 percent, according to FAO's Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, also released today.
Wheat production forecasts have been raised for India and the Russian Federation, more than offsetting a cutback to the EU and the UK expected outputs.
The forecast of world coarse grains production in 2020 has also been revised up to 1 519 million tonnes, up 5.7 million tonnes from the previous month, reflecting expectations of larger outputs of barley in Australia, the EU and Turkey.
FAO's global rice production forecast for 2020 is now pegged at 509.2 million tonnes, 400 000 tonnes above June's figure, primarily reflecting improved prospects for South American countries, where conducive weather raised yield expectations to all time-highs.
World cereal utilization in the year ahead is forecast to rise to 2 735 million tonnes - 1.6 percent up from the previous month's forecast, mostly driven by an upturn in feed and industrial uses of coarse grains compared to earlier expectations. World rice utilization is also predicted to reach a fresh peak of 510.4 million tonnes in 2020/21, 1.6 percent up from June, based on expanding food use.
Reflecting new production and consumption forecasts, FAO now expects world cereal stocks by the end of seasons in 2021 to reach 929 million tonnes, representing a robust year-on-year expansion of 6.0 percent. This would drive the global cereal stock-to-use ratio in 2020/21 to a twenty-year high of 33.0 percent, highlighting the comfortable global supply prospects in the new season.
Food assistance needs to grow as pandemic hits incomes
While conflicts and weather shocks remain critical factors underpinning the high levels of severe food insecurity in countries requiring external assistance for food, the COVID-19 pandemic is also having wide-ranging and severe effects, particularly through the loss of income, according to the quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report, also published today.
The report offers a special feature with regional roundups of the pandemic's impacts.
Despite these issues, the global cereal harvest is on track for growth in all regions, except for Europe. Cereal production in Africa in 2020 is projected to increase by 1.0 percent, although declines are expected in northern, western and central regions of the continent.
FAO's forecast for the aggregate cereal output of Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries in the 2020/21 season stands at 492.7 million tonnes, which is 6.0 percent above the average and would mark a fifth consecutive annual production increase. However, populations are growing even faster and the overall cereal import requirement for LIFDCs is estimated at 73.4 milion tonnes, up around 5 percent from the previous year, which also reflects production downturns in several countries.
The report also lists the following 44 countries (List and Map), of which 34 in Africa, in need of external food assistance: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tanzania, Uganda, Venezuela, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Business sector still far from reaching sustainability goals, UN report shows, 20 years on from landmark summit
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Geneva, Jul 5 (Canadian-Media): A new UN report on the private sector, released by UN Global Compact, shows that progress on bringing about a sustainable future for people and the planet is patchy, and the majority of companies involved in the Compact, are not doing enough to help bring about the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
A worker at a vertical farm in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (edit). Image credit: Courtesy of VFarm
“The scale and pace of change, to date, to deliver SDGs has not been big enough or fast enough”, said Remi Erikson, who led the team that drafted the report, Uniting Business in the Decade of Action, which shows that just 39 per cent of companies surveyed believe they have targets that are sufficiently ambitious to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The scale and pace of change, to date, to deliver SDGs has not been big enough or fast enough Remi Erikson, CEO, DNV GL
“Only 46% of businesses surveyed are embedding the SDGs in their core business”, said Mr. Erikson, the CEO of risk management company, and Global Compact participant, DNV GL. “less than a third of businesses believe their industry is moving fast enough to deliver the SDGs by 2030”.
“Incremental change by individual companies will not deliver the business contribution needed to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, said Mr. Erikson. “Companies and the systems they are part of are moving broadly in the same direction, but not in a concerted effort. Achieving the needed change requires a ramping up of ambition among all companies, whether they operate within the energy, healthcare, food, finance, transport or other systems.
Policy is not enough
Mr. Erikson told UN News that, although 93 per cent of participants have embedded the Global Compact Ten Principles (on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption) into their policies, not enough is being done to put them into practice. “Policy is not enough to drive change, and we see a marked gap between having policies in place and implementing measures to act on the Principles”.
Factory workers in an assembly line in Cambodia.In addition, whilst the vast majority of participating companies recognize the importance of sustainable development, says Mr. Erikson, they are not doing enough to significantly reduce their negative impact on the environment: whilst science-based targets are considered by many sustainable development professionals as an important indicator of a company’s willingness to reduce its carbon footprint and negative environmental impact, the report reveals that, whilst around a third of companies surveyed are developing a science-based carbon reduction target, only 15 per cent have already set one.
Reasons to be hopeful
Despite the slow progress, and the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Eriksen insists that he is hopeful that a post-pandemic “new normal” will be an improvement, in terms of building a better future for all.
“I am slightly more optimistic about the future now than I was two months ago as I have seen how businesses have used their experience, creativity and determination to find ways to serve their customers and create new solutions to operate in an unprecedented environment.”
“The events of the past year, from school children protesting the lack of action on the climate, to the fear and economic meltdown caused by the pandemic and, most recently, the calls for justice and equality, have rocked the world. They underline that the Sustainable Development Goals are not just ideals to aspire to, but fundamentals in creating a just society, with equal opportunity for all on a planet that is habitable.”
Responding to the report, Lise Kingo, the former head of the UN Global Compact, highlighted the importance of a step-change in action: “the change we need to see in the Decade of Action will not happen through incremental improvements and adjustments to ‘business-as-usual.’ Now is the time for CEOs to speak up and ensure all companies fully integrate the Ten Principles and raise their SDG Ambition to meet the needs of society and the planet”.
#work, #futureOfwork, #employment, #labourMarket, #workers, #socialDialogue, #poverty #alleviation, #sustainableDevelopment, #economicRecovery, #economicPolicy, #Enterprises, #vulnerableGroups, #safetyManagement, #ILOCentenary
Geneva, Jul 3 (Canadian-Media): Participants from five ILO regions discussed the challenges of recovery and building back better, and their conclusions will feed into discussions at a ILO virtual Global Summit, ILO reports said.
Image credit: Twitter handle
On 1–2 July the ILO held five regional virtual events that addressed the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how to build a better future of work.
The discussions were held ahead of three global events taking place between 7–9 July, that will bring together around 70 Heads of State and government, prominent global employer and trade union leaders, the UN Secretary-General and heads of other international organizations.
Over two days, government, employer and worker representatives and academia from across five regions – Africa, the Americas, the Arab States, Asia-Pacific and Europe – discussed the huge costs of the COVID-19 pandemic to their economies, labour markets and societies, and how different countries have responded.
Participants also shared views on how the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work , can serve as a roadmap for a human-centered, inclusive and sustainable recovery from the pandemic.
These exchanges will inform the global discussions during the summit – the largest ever online gathering of workers, employers and governments.
The pandemic has laid bare the extreme vulnerability of millions of workers and enterprises. According to the latest ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the World of Work , there was a 14 per cent drop globally in working hours during the second quarter of 2020, equivalent to the loss of 400 million full-time jobs. The vast majority of the world’s workers (93 per cent) continue to live in countries with some sort of workplace closures.
Among the issues being discussed at the summit are:
Addresses from Heads of State and government and prominent global employer and trade union leaders will be delivered on 8 July – Global Leaders Day . UN Secretary-General, António Guterres will also give an address.
On 9 July – ILO Constituents’ Day – ministers, workers’ and employers’ leaders from ILO member States will reflect on the previous days’ events and discuss the implementation of the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work in the context of the pandemic.
Journalists will be able to follow the discussions via the ILO Global Summit web page .
#UN; #YouthEnterprise; #YouthJoblessness; #WorldYouthReport
Geneva, Jul 2 (Canadian-Media): Young entrepreneurs who want their work to have a positive impact on their communities, urgently need more help from governments if they’re to succeed and resist the COVID-19-fuelled economic downturn, UN economists said on Thursday.
Image credit: Facebook page
Amid worsening global employment prospects owing to the pandemic, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) maintained in a new report that unlocking business opportunities for young adults “could lower unemployment and bring social benefits”.
It said that socially-minded enterprises benefited 871 million people in just nine countries in Europe and Central Asia in 2016, providing services and products worth around $6.7 billion and creating employment, particularly among marginalized groups.
Sky’s the limit for start-ups
Young entrepreneurs who have already made a difference include Zaid Souqi, from Jordan, who created The Orenda Tribe: Art for Hope, in 2014.
His art and art therapy initiative empowers Syrian and Jordanian children in vulnerable situations.
In Malawi, business trainer Ellen Chilemba started Tiwale when she was 18; now 30, she now has trained more than 150 women as entrepreneurs.
And Pezana Rexha, a young architect from Albania, set up Pana Design: Storytelling Furniture, making furniture from reclaimed wood with people who normally face difficulties finding employment, such as older workers and those with disabilities.
Chief among DESA’s recommendations is the removal of obstacles to start-up funds for youngsters.
This is a common failing in “many” countries, where regulatory systems often prevent them from accessing the financial products and services they need to start a business.
In addition, lack of access to training, technical support, networks and markets, all combine to discourage the growth of such social enterprises, said DESA, which defines social entrepreneurship as “businesses that generate profits while seeking to generate social impacts”.
Joblessness hits youngsters hardest
According to the agency’s 2020 World Youth Report, unemployment among the world’s 1.2 billion young people (aged 15-24) is far higher than for adults.
The COVID-19 crisis has worsened their job prospects, the DESA report continues, although before the new coronavirus emerged in China late last December, before turning into a pandemic, labour experts estimated that 600 million jobs would be needed in the next 15 years to meet youth employment needs, the report noted.
Highlighting the multiple benefits that could come if Governments did more for their aspiring youngsters, the UN agency explained that new measures could also contribute to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, 17 objectives to tackle everything from poverty to inequality.
“Creating pathways for youth social entrepreneurship can generate positive outcomes for everyone,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. “When supported by enabling policies and programmes, social entrepreneurship can represent a great way for young people to earn a living and improve the world around them.”