In a historic move, the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva takes a decisive step towards addressing social justice for all.
For the first time, a summit of heads of state and government focuses explicitly on this vital topic.
President Alain Berset, representing Switzerland, participated in the momentous opening on Wednesday, June 14.
International Cooperation: The Key to Tackling Global Challenges
“New technologies, climate change, migration, and demographic challenges affect us all. We need international cooperation at all levels to build a global coalition for social justice,”
stated President Berset.
Recognizing the significance of mobilizing the entire multilateral system, he emphasized the unique capacity of the ILO, with its tripartite structure encompassing states, employers’ organizations, and workers’ organizations, to strengthen social justice.
Enhancing Coordination and Cooperation on the Global Stage
During the two-day summit held in Geneva, world leaders deliberate on strategies to improve coordination within the international community. Switzerland lends its support to the call of ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo, elected last year, to deepen global cooperation in this crucial area.
Switzerland’s longstanding objectives include achieving coherence within the ILO and fostering closer communication with other international organizations. Notably, Switzerland advocates for more intensive collaboration with the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO), particularly concerning labor provisions in free trade agreements.
Interdependence of Social Development, Justice, and Peace
President Berset underscored the interconnectedness of social development, justice, and peace, both within and between nations. He addressed ongoing issues, such as the women’s rights strikes in Switzerland, highlighting the significance of these movements.
Furthermore, growing social tensions pose a threat to global cohesion. Discussions on these developments and other pertinent international issues took place during bilateral meetings held on the sidelines of the summit.
Concurrent ILO Labour Conference: Federal Councillor Parmelin’s Engagement
The Social Justice Summit coincides with the ILO’s 111th International Labour Conference (ILC), which will continue until Friday, June 16. On Tuesday, Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin represented Switzerland at the ILC.
The conference focuses on various topics, including vocational education and training. Switzerland actively supports the adoption of an ILO recommendation on high-quality apprenticeship training.
Notably, Switzerland places great importance on the involvement of social partners in shaping and implementing policies, frameworks, systems, and programs.
Switzerland’s Enduring Commitment to Social Justice
Switzerland has been a member of the ILO since its establishment in 1919 after World War I, alongside the League of Nations. Even then, social justice was regarded as a prerequisite for universal and lasting peace.
Today, the ILO stands as a specialized agency within the United Nations, headquartered in Geneva. Its primary objective is to promote social justice and human rights in workplaces worldwide.
As the organization’s fifth-largest donor, Switzerland plays a crucial role and supports ILO projects aimed at enhancing workers’ rights and productivity across various countries and sectors.