In response to the request from the General Assembly (A/RES/55/2412) to “elaborate a coherent and coordinated international strategy on employment,” ILO developed the Global Employment Agenda. This agenda aims to place employment at the heart of economic and social policy, on the basis of a tripartite strategy engaging government, business and workers’ organizations in a wide range of actions. It includes proposals for strategic alliances in pursuit of employment objectives with the Bretton Woods institutions and others, including UNESCO, UNEP and the WTO.

“Decent work” country programmes— which combine employment creation, protecting fundamental rights at work, strengthening social protection and broadening social dialogue— have become the main tool applied in ILO’s work in the field.

This approach to productive employment as the sustainable way out of poverty underpins the policy contribution of ILO to reaching the goal of reducing poverty by half by 2015. It received strong support from the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government on Employment and Poverty Alleviation in Africa, convened by the African Union in Ouagadougou in September 2004.

The Report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, established by ILO, highlighted the importance of decent work and fair globalization as instruments to help ensure that the global economy delivers on development objectives and people’s aspirations. The Report concluded that implementing the Millennium and the Copenhagen Declarations requires complementary action at the national and international levels. It called on ILO and other UN organizations to play a leading role in shaping a fair globalization and advanced recommendations to that end. ILO is actively following up the Commission’s recommendations in its area of competence, including through cooperation with relevant organizations on a Policy Coherence Initiative that addresses growth, investment and employment in the global economy.