Statement on behalf of the Asia Pacific Group delivered by H.E. Feridun H. Sinirlioglu Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN & Chair of the Asia-Pacific Group High-level plenary meeting to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the International Labour Organization
I have the honour to speak on behalf ofthe Asia Pacific Group. Allow me atthe outset to thank you Madam President for convening this high level plenary meeting to commemorate the onehundredthanniversary of the establishment ofthe International Labour Orgamzation.We gather here at a critical moment, as we prepare for the HLPF in July, where we will review"SDG8: DecentWorkand EconomicGrowth", as well as the first ever SDGSummitin Septemberwhich will take stock of progress made since theadoption of the 2030 Agenda in 2015.We applaud the ILO for its dedicated efforts to develop and improve labour standards all aroundthe globe. The ILO, as the first specialized agency ofthe UN, has a unique tripartite structure thatbrings together governments, employers and workers in its decision-making mechanisms. In thelast century, the ILO promoted the UN principles through its contribution to the resolution ofintemational issues in economic, socialandhumanitarian fields. The ILQalso playedan importantrole in the realisation of social protection and other objectives of the Universal Declaration ofHuman Rights.
In the lastdecades, the worldof workhas undergone a profound transformation. Globalization and
technological advancement offer new opportunities for employment and growth. However they
also bring about unforeseen challenges by disrupting existing work arrangements. Strong ^dance
bythe ILO remains essential to help address emerging challenges and enable aninformed debate
on the future of work. The four pillars of Decent Work, namely, employment creation, social
protection, rights at work and social dialogue, are as relevant as they were 100 years ago. We
firmly believe that the ILO will continue to play a crucial role in responding to the challenges
posedby unprecedented changesthat the worldof workis undergoing.
With high youth population and diverse technological and social development levels, Asia Pacific
region attaches great importance to the future of work andthe future role of the ILO.
We are going through a transformative period marked with technological, demographic,
environmental change, and globalization whichgenerate uncertainties, concemsand fears among
the people, particularly the youthand the vulnerable. The changing realities of the world of work
are impacting countries. The meaning of "work" as we know it, is being defined in hitherto
Digital and technological advances, especially in the areas of information and communication
technologies, create new opportunities for workers and enterprises. The evolution oftheworld of
work requires new skill sets and a paradigm shift to "lifelong learning". Automation and
robotization increase the demand for technical skills inproblem-solving and innovation. Without
adequate education and training systems to equip the workforce with theskills and competencies
required in the future, these advances risk widening existing gaps and inequalities within and
among countries. Therefore, we need to focus on policy measures aiming at, on one hand,
development, adaptation and diffusion of new technologies, and on the other hand, skill
development and capacity building of the new generation of workers. We need comprehensive
studies on the impact of technology onthe jobmarket sothat we can harness its potential ofjob
Progress towards achieving the targets set out in SDG 8 has been slower than anticipated. The
target of achieving "full and productive employment and decent work for all and equal pay for
work of equal value" remains elusive. The global unemployment rate has gone down but more
than 170 million people are still unemployed. Attaining SDG 8 will require far increased efforts,
given how far current trends are from dietargets envisaged under this goal.
The expanding population of yoimg people in some regions is exacerbating youth unemployment
and migratory pressures. Ageing populations inothers isplacing additional strain onsocial security
and care systems. The demographic changes have made the task of creating decent work even
harder and we need committed action from governments, as well as employers' and workers'
We also note the ILO Centenary initiatives and look forward to further discuss all initiatives
namely the (1) Future of Work; (2) Women at Work; (3) Standards; (4) End to Poverty; (5)
Governance; (6)Enterprises; and(7)Green initiatives. TheAPGenvisages a stronger collaboration
on these initiatives in various sectors in the coming years.
In the report prepared by the Global Commission on the Future of Work, we note the call for a
human-centred agenda with a renewed focus on people's wide-ranging capabilities. Given the
challenges weface, there is a need for greater focus on the issues of equality, sustainability and
inclusiveness interms of labour markets. Ahuman-centred approach would strengthen thesocial
contract by placing people and the workthey do at the core of economic and social policy and
The reportunderlines the urgency of investments in neglected areasofthe economyin developed
and developing countries. We welcome the following three pillars of action highlighted in the
report whichin combinationwould drive growth, equity and sustainabilityfor present and future
Increase investment in people's capabilities.
Increase investment in the institutions ofwork.
Increase investment in decent and sustainable work.
We welcome the approach ofthe ILO for the future ofwork and concur that we should look to the
future with a human-centred agenda. In spite of greater use of automation and AI, we should
continue to devise our policies to address the needs and expectations ofour people. We should
prioritize investing in individuals by training and upskilling. The ILO should remain committed to
the creation of decent jobs.
At the same time, we need to work together asmember states, employers, workers organisations
and international conununity to bring wealth and prosperity to our societies. We need concerted
action to create more equitable, just and inclusive economies. We believe that the ILO, with its
human-centred agenda, will greatly contribute to these efforts and to the realization ofthe 2030
As we conclude, we once again congratulate ILO on its centenary celebration. Recalling that the
ILO Constitution addresses the social role of work by emphasizing that "all human beings,
irrespective ofrace, creed or sex, have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their
spiritual development in conditions of freedom and digmty, of economic security and equal
opportunity", we wish the organization asuccessful future in the service ofUN founding principles
and in the service of humanity.