Global leaders seek innovative action to shape future of work
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Ford Foundation assembled leaders from around the world to mobilise support, new solutions and innovation for shape the future of work at the opening ceremony of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Aimed at giving governments and social partners opportunity to take the next step in ensuring prosperous and sustainable future of work for all, the event was as a follow-up to ILO’s Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work in which it sought robust investments in people’s capacities, work institutions, as well as and sustainable and decent work
The forum covered strategies for investing in people’s capacities, strengthening institutions of work, supporting a just transition to the working world of the future and how to turn decisions into concrete actions.
In his opening remarks, the Director-General of ILO, Guy Ryder recalled that the United Nations (UN) has adopted a landmark resolution urging member states to implement the ILO Centenary Declaration and requesting UN entities to mainstream decent work in their operations.
The resolution also requests the UN country teams to consider the ILO Centenary Declaration in the elaboration of the UN’s Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks.
Speaking, co-chair of the Global Commission on the Future of Work, Stefan Löfven, reiterated the importance of social dialogue, describing it as a unique solution that provided benefits for everyone.
Noting that the labour market would certainly continue to change, he stressed that an inclusive world of work would build trust and self-confidence as well as facilitates individuals’ contributions to society.
General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Sharan Burrow, and Secretary-General of the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), Roberto Suárez Santos, highlighted the importance of stability, both for businesses and workers.
Vice President, Global Strategic Relations, Salesforce.org, Charlotte Kirby, who highlighted the context of work in the digital age, stressed the importance of lifelong learning, while Commissioner of Global Commission on the Future of Work, Philip Jennings sought better protection of workers.
Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence (AI), United Arab Emirates, Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, stated that governments had to ensure that AI had to work for generations to come, and its usage had to be sustainable and responsible.
Founder and President of the Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth and Executive Vice President of Sustainability, Shamina Singh, and the Executive Director, Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima, who dwelled on strengthening investments in people’s capacities during panel discussions, agreed that leaders and policymakers had to drive the path of technology.
According to them, technology had to work for workers and not the other way around.
On his part, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, 3M, Denise Rutherford, showcased some of the company’s efforts in shaping the future of work, including creating individual development plans for workers and increasing investments in retooling.
While participants shared concerns of unemployment, inequalities, low wages and skills gaps, they agreed that it was critical to have a human-centred approach to shape the future of work.
According to the participants, a prosperous, sustainable future of work and decent work at its core was possible, but an innovative rethinking of solutions was equally essential.