Signature of Memorandum of Understanding between the OECD and the ILO


Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General

Paris, 23 May 2011

Dear Mr. Somavia,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am very pleased to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with the International Labour Organisation. It embodies our shared aspirations in favour of more and better employment opportunities for all.

We are signing this Memorandum at an auspicious moment. Today begins what we call “the OECD week”. It brings together heads of state and government, ministers and representatives of civil society from all over the world to attend the OECD Forum and Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM). Importantly, they will celebrate the OECD 50th anniversary, will reflect on lessons and achievements, and will chart the way forward to the next half-century of our existence.

We consider this Memorandum of Understanding as an important part of these events, as it marks fifty years of co-operation with your Organisation. It builds on our first agreement, signed in 1961, which gave the ILO a seat at the OECD “Manpower Committee” – now Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee -- and paved the way to a long-standing and fruitful co-operation.


From left to right: Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General and Juan Somavia, ILO Director-General, during the signing ceremony on 23 May 2011.

Since 1961, our relationship has expanded significantly to cover a broad range of policy areas, such as employment, social policies, progress of societies, MNE guidelines, chemicals and radiation, and poverty reduction.

An example of our close working relations is our anniversary MCM. Some of its most important themes –jobs and skills, trade and jobs, gender, and the up-date of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNE) -- have been subject of collaboration with the ILO. A case in point is the Labour and Industrial Relations chapter of the Guidelines, which has been revised to align with ILO standards, such as the Tripartite Declaration on MNEs, the Decent Work Agenda and the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation.

Another example is our work together to support the ambitious agenda of G20 leaders. By supporting global governance efforts, our organisations have the unique opportunity to increase our impact on a global scale.

Our teams have joined forces to produce the background reports for the first G-20 Employment and Labour Ministerial meeting held in Washington in April last year, and a report on “Seizing the Benefits of Trade for Employment and Growth” for the Seoul Summit.  We are also working to prepare contributions to the G-20 Employment and Labour Ministerial meeting in Paris next September. Our papers and reports will address some of the most compelling challenges that leaders are faced with today, including youth employment, social protection and the coherence of employment and macroeconomic policies.

After the dramatic events we have witnessed since 2008, it will not be sufficient simply to return to growth. Against a backdrop of entrenched unemployment and large fiscal deficits, we must identify and foster new and better job opportunities to achieve a more sustainable, balanced and lasting recovery. The OECD Innovation Strategy, the Green Growth Strategy, the Skills Strategy, our gender agenda and our work on new measures of progress beyond GDP provide strong analytical foundations to overcome the effects of the crisis and move forward into the next half-century. We cannot do this without developing countries and without development and this is why we are also working on a new approach to development.

Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am pleased that the Memorandum of Understanding we are signing here today is expanding the scope of our co-operation to encompass all these key policy fields. 

In today’s complex environment, a strategic partnership between our organisations will help us to do still better in helping governments and civil society partners to foster a job-rich recovery worldwide.

By signing this Memorandum, our organisations commit to deliver a multidimensional and coherent policy advice, to promote the cross-pollination of our assessments, ideas and solutions to ensure better jobs for better lives.

Thank you.


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