Employment, Age and Disabilities Form Focus of Discussions

UN Chronicle, Summer 1997 | Go to article overview

Employment, Age and Disabilities Form Focus of Discussions


Sustained economic growth was necessary but not sufficient for generating employment over time, the Chairman of the Commission for Social Development, Ion Gorita of Romania, stressed, as the Commission concluded its thirty-fifth session (New York, 25 February-6 March).

The Chairman pointed out that over time and in most countries, the number of unemployed and under-employed had increased in both absolute terms and as a proportion of the labour force. Workers in some countries had witnessed an increase in insecurity, and policies had inadequately addressed inconsistencies between those who were overworked and those who were unemployed or underemployed. In many countries, unemployment and job insecurity had been created by the transition to a market economy and by structural adjustment measures.

Globalization and technological innovation had often been blamed for unemployment, according to the summary. The paradox was that, while those forces had a profound effect on economic growth and on levels and types of employment, levels of growth and dynamism in a particular economy might determine whether the effects of globalization were positive or negative.

Another factor of interest in the current situation was individual self-interest versus the common good. Policies that might be beneficial for a given individual or country might hurt when adopted by others.

The Commission recommended at the national level: strengthened mechanisms for cooperation; improved policies for national economic and social development; education and training; and support for the rural and informal sectors, the disadvantaged and groups with specific needs. At the international level, it called on Governments to accept the reality of their interdependence in a global market economy.

The Commission also noted the continuing need for international transfers of resources - in terms of official development assistance, debt relief, increased private foreign investment, and exchanges of knowledge, information and expertise. It further stated that international labour standards should be adhered to.

In adopting "agreed conclusions", by means of a resolution, the Commission noted that over 120 million people worldwide were officially unemployed, with many more underemployed. Full, productive and freely chosen employment should be reinstated as a central objective of economic and social policies, it stressed.

The conclusions will be transmitted to the Economic and Social Council for consideration during the high-level segment of its 1997 substantive session, where it is scheduled to discuss "Fostering an enabling environment for development - financial flows, including capital flows; investment; trade".

Older persons, disabled children

In other action, the Commission adopted a resolution on the International Plan of Action on Ageing, approved three drafts for adoption by the General Assembly, and recommended two drafts for action by the Council.

Under the drafts recommended for Assembly adoption, the Secretary-General would encourage Governments to promote and protect the rights, special needs and welfare of children with disabilities, and Governments would be invited to build family-friendly societies. …

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Employment, Age and Disabilities Form Focus of Discussions
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