“There are no jobs on a dead planet”

Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization

Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization

To mark this year’s World Day for Decent Work, trade unions have chosen the theme of climate change, urging governments to move now to create prosperity for all on a sustainable planet. This focus comes in the wake of the UN Climate Change Summit last month, where again and again, I heard political and business leaders issuing a similar call and making the link between decent jobs and sustainability.

We inhabit a time marked by the highest levels of inequality in living memory. Growing job insecurity is a reality for many, especially the world’s 1.2 billion working poor. Climate change is destroying jobs and livelihoods in every corner of the planet.

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How a landmark treaty on forced labour got passed

Dennis Zulu Chief Program Officer

Beate Andrees is Head of ILO’s Special Action Programme to Combat Forced Labour.

At the International Labour Conference in June this year, governments, workers and employers adopted a new Protocol against forced labour, supplemented by a Recommendation, which has been hailed around the world as a landmark treaty to protect human rights. The new instruments received overwhelming support from governments, workers and employers with 437 votes in favour, and only a handful of abstentions or votes against.

The Protocol builds on one of the oldest and widely ratified ILO conventions, the Forced Labour Convention (No. 29), which was passed in 1930. The initial aim of Convention 29 was to progressively abolish forced labour in colonial territories. As a result, it allowed for a transition period during which states could still make limited use of forced labour.

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Political will creates new ground for indigenous peoples’ rights

On a recent mission to the Republic of Congo, Morse Flores, ILO staff member and officer for the UN Indigenous Peoples Partnership (UNIPP) recorded his impressions of a joint UN project to help raise awareness of indigenous peoples’ rights. The purpose of Morse’s mission was to meet with key partners of UNIPP and see first hand the reality on the ground with a view to developing the joint UN project further. In 2011, the government of the Republic of Congo adopted Law No. 5-2011 on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Populations, becoming the first African country to adopt a specific law on indigenous peoples. Continue reading