Statement by Özhan Üzümcüoğlu, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the Forty Sixth Session of the Commission for Social Development Agenda Item 3(a) Promoting Full Employment and Decent Work for All

Özhan Üzümcüoğlu 07.02.2008
Distinguished Delegates,

At the outset, I would like to express our congratulations to you and to other members of the Bureau on your election. We are confident that under your able leadership we are going to have a fruitful session of the Commission for Social Development.

Turkey aligned itself with the statement made by the EU. Therefore, I will briefly touch upon the report of the Secretary General on "Promoting full employment and decent work for all". Then, I will mainly focus on Turkey's policy with regard to the priority theme.

Last year, the Commission for Social Development undertook an evaluation of progress in achieving the goals of full employment and decent work, and their impact on poverty eradication and social integration. This year, the Commission is focusing on policy options and thus we will complete the review and policy cycle for 2007-2008.

Actually, promoting full employment and decent work for all and its relationship with poverty eradication and social integration have been at the forefront of our deliberations since the World Summit for Social Development, held in Copenhagen in 1995.

As reflected in the report of the Secretary-General, at the 2005 World Summit, world leaders made the commitment to strongly support fair globalization and to make the goals of full and productive employment and decent work for all including for women and young people, a central objective of relevant national and international policies.

Furthermore, the Ministerial Declaration adopted by the Economic and Social Council in 2006 reaffirmed the resolve to promote full and productive employment and decent work for all.

We believe that the two year cycle of the Commission has largely benefited from these policy instruments and it has provided us with the opportunity for a more focused debate.

We would like to express our thanks to the Secretariat for preparing a comprehensive report on this priority theme. The report reflects major trends and challenges in the labour markets. We concur with the findings of the report that despite robust economic growth in recent years in most developing countries, employment creation has been lagging behind the growth of the working-age. This clearly indicates that economic growth alone does not automatically lead to the creation of jobs, and proves the need for a more proactive approach that puts employment generation at the core of both social and economic policies.

Distinguished Delegates,

Last year, we mentioned that Turkey was about to start the implementation of the Ninth Development Plan covering the period of 2007-2013. Increasing employment, improving the labor market conditions, increasing the sensitivity of education to labor demand, developing active labor policies, improving income distribution, social inclusion and fight against poverty and increasing effectiveness of the social security system have been set as the main objectives for this plan. In line with these objectives, Turkey prepared a Medium Term Programme covering 2008-2010 period, as a new policy document.

Within this framework, Turkey is aiming to reduce the burden of unemployment with a view to creating new employment opportunities, increasing the number of decent jobs and reducing the size of unregistered employment. Providing equal opportunities for women, youth, long term unemployed, persons with disabilities and previously convicted persons who face difficulties in the labour market will be among our priorities.

In order to increase the sensitivity of education to labour demand, mechanisms for cooperation between education system and labour market will be strengthened. We are aiming to train qualified manpower that is required by the business world, to implement a life-long learning strategy and to update the programs of higher education in accordance with the process of transformation to a knowledge-based society and with the developments and requirements at the regional, national and international levels. Encouraging financial contribution of the private sector to the activities towards developing a qualified labour force will be an important component of this strategy.

Distinguished Delegates,

We should see the goals of full and productive employment and decent work for all as an integral part of the world development agenda. This requires a global policy and coherence at national and international level. The review and policy segments of the Commission for Social Development within the last two years have been instrumental in identifying the progress and obstacles, as well as possible measures for the way forward. We should not lose the impetus created and we should now focus on a quick and effective implementation.

Thank you.