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Ban tasks G-20 on sustainable development, jobs

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday
called on leaders of the world’s biggest economies (G-20) meeting in Cannes,
France, to work towards a global economic recovery that is sustainable,
inclusive and creates real change for those hardest hit.

“We come together at a critical moment to find lasting solutions to global
economic crisis and job opportunities,” Ban said in remarks to the 2011
Labour Summit (L20), which was held on the margins of the G-20 summit.

He said: “Dark clouds have gathered once again over the global economy.
Some may speak of ‘recovery.’ Too few actually feel it. But, on the contrary,
all too many people cannot even see the light at the end of a long, long
tunnel.”

He noted that unemployment is rising almost everywhere, and more and
more young people have no jobs and few prospects of finding one. In addition,
economic inequalities are widening and poverty is growing.

“That is why people are marching. They are anxious, angry and indignant,”
the secretary-general stated, adding that, “at heart, this is a call for human
dignity – the dignity and respect that comes from decent work.”

Ban also stressed that the two-day summit of the G-20 must be about more
than “financial fire-fighting”.

According to him it is must be about global economic recovery – growth
that is sustainable and inclusive. It must bring real recovery in the real
economy.

The time has come, he stated, to write a new social contract for the 21st
century that includes a global jobs pact.

“We need a job-rich recovery. Policy-makers must make employment a
priority, not an afterthought. The new social contract must also include a
social protection floor with stronger safeguards for the poorest and most
vulnerable,” he said.

The UN chief also noted that in recent decades, labour’s share of income
had fallen, and the gap between those who worked hard and those who reaped
the greatest rewards continued to grow.

“To get out of this mess, we need a revolution in our thinking,” Ban told
world leaders, stressing the need for more investments to ensure growth
and development.

The first priority, he said, is to invest in sustainable development, noting
that economic recovery and sustainable development are one and the
same fight.

He also stated: “Sustainable energy fuels jobs – jobs that recharge
economies, jobs to build infrastructure, above all, jobs to protect the
planet and the poores.

“We cannot burn our way to the future. We cannot consume our way to
greater prosperity. Economic recovery and sustainable development must
go hand-in-hand. Growth and development must be sustainable.”

He also highlighted the need to invest in women and youth, who together
make up more than two-thirds of the global population, as well as in the
most vulnerable.

The secretary-general also said that over the last century, the trade union
movement had led the way to a fairer and more just world.

“You (G-20) must help create our modern era of prosperity.  In the process,
you did much more than simply benefit your own members. You lifted millions
out of poverty into a better life. You proved that the better more of us do, the
better all of us do,” he said

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