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September 1994, Vol. 117, No. 9
Global employment issues in the year 2000
Throughout its history, the International Labor Organization (ILO) has been deemed the "social conscience" of the world, linking the ongoing international debate on economic and financial issues with broader sets of social concerns. Among these concerns, employment has ranked high since the early years of the agency. Offering research and advice to its member states, the ILO has endeavored to keep employment on the world agenda and to strive for the creation of more and better job opportunities so as to increase income and enhance well-being the world over.
To illustrate, one of the very first Conventions adopted by the Organization was concerned with preventing and protecting against unemployment.1 Some 25 years later, at the 1944 Intentional Labor Conference, the agency adopted the Declaration of Philadelphia, which defined the guiding principles for attaining social justice in the postwar world. The declaration stated that "full employment and the raising of standards of living" should be among the principal objectives of the Organization's economic and social policy. In 1964, the ILO further adopted the Convention on Employment Policy (No. 122), which urged member states, in consultation with workers and employers, to declare and pursue active policies to promote "full, productive and freely chosen employment."2 The Organization's World Employment Program, initiated in 1969, seeks a solution to the fundamental problem of how to enable the world's poor to reap the benefits of growth and thereby create conditions for sustainable developments.3 The ILO's work on structural adjustment in the 1980's had a similar emphasis: how to combine the need for efficiency and competitiveness with social concern for creating alternative employment opportunities and enhancing the system of social protection for those adversely affected by economic restructuring.
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1 The Unemployment Convention, 1919 (No. 2).
2 The complete texts of these standards can be found in International Labour Conventions and Recommendations (Geneva, International Labor Organization, 1985), second printing.
3 See The World Employment Programme: What is it, what is does (Geneva, International Labor Organization, 1984).
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ILO labor statistics convention: U.S. accepts new obligations. June 1991.
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