COVID-19: ILO DG calls for global solidarity to support vaccine rollout, economic recovery

The Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Guy Ryder has called for global solidarity to support the vaccine roll-out; and economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

In his message for World Day of Social Justice, the ILO Director-General also called for greater equality for all men and women to have the opportunity to achieve their socio-economic goals in the condition of freedom and of equality.

Ryder said: “The World Day of Social Justice is an occasion to amplify the call for action for greater equality in the world, for all men and women to have the chances to achieve their socio-economic goals in the condition of freedom and of equality.

He pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare how far the world remains from this goal, adding, “it exposed the stark inequality within and between nations, too many people lack access to quality education, decent jobs, health care and social protection; and the means to live with dignity.”

The ILO DG said: “Worse still, the pandemic has made these inequalities greater. The already wealthy have often benefitted further as financial markets have surged but the most disadvantaged and vulnerable have lived the consequences of jobs and enterprise destruction.”

According to Ryder, great damage has been done but vaccines point a way forward; and there is the hope of getting the pandemic under control and the economies moving again.

However, he warned that there would be a temptation “to take a familiar path back to where we were before COVID-19 struck but  this would be a mistake.”

He said: “The international community must move forward together with the conviction for real change. The pandemic has opened spaces for us to move to make the new normal a better normal. It is a question of the decisions that we make.

“Social and economic policymaking focus strongly on social justice in the wake of the two great wars of the 20th Century and now, policy makers must do the same as we emerged from this great global crisis. That means renewed international cooperation to reduce inequality and to end poverty.

Ryder called for policies that increase opportunity, respect human rights, protect the planet and accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He said: “Global solidarity is required to protect the most vulnerable and to close the funding gap for lower-middle-income countries. This is to support both the vaccines rollout and economic and social recovery.”

“The great challenges of the 21st Century, poverty and inequality, global health, climate change, technological transformation, demographic shift are all interlinked and they require a coordinated global response. This is the true meaning of human security. A human-centred response that promotes social justice for people and the protection of the planet that sustains us all.

“For our part, the ILO will bring together government, employers and workers to shape the path for a better, greener future of work with social justice and decent work for all.”

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