Juan Somalia elected to second term as ILO director-general pledges to work for a "new social contract"
Juan Somavia, a Chilean and the first representative of the Southern Hemisphere to head the International Labour Office (ILO), was overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term as Director-General today. He pledged to “work together for a new social contract based on decent work for all and a globalization that leaves no one behind”.
Mr. Somavia received a second five-year mandate from the ILO Governing Body. He formally begins his second term in March 2004.
Mr. Somavia called today’s vote an endorsement of the ILO’s ongoing efforts to “deliver dignity to workers and decency to work. Work is central to people’s lives and people everywhere are asking for solutions. We are responding to that call for decent work”.
Lord Bill Brett, Chairman of the ILO Governing Body, referred to the election as “a tremendous vote of confidence in Mr. Somavia’s first term and a strong platform of support for the next mandate”.
Ambassador Eui-Yong Chung, Government Vice-Chairperson of the Governing Body, said the following on behalf of the Asia and Pacific Group: “The Decent Work Agenda, the principal outcome of the Director-General’s excellent vision, has made a substantial contribution to enhancing labour rights and the quality of life, and is now taking root in every member country. We consider the re-election of the Director-General today a confirmation of our appreciation of his innovativeness and dedication to the noble work of this Organization”.
Daniel Funes de Rioja, Employer Vice-Chairperson of the Governing Body, said “the re-election of Juan Somavia is confirmation from the workers, employers and governments of the success of the consensus-building approach among the constituents of the ILO. In particular, we, the employers, think that this new mandate should place special emphasis on employment policy, the new approach on standards being put into practice, as well as the firm common commitment to modernize the working methods of the Governing Body and the annual Conference to better reflect the challenges of the world of work in a globalized era”.
Worker Spokesperson, Leroy Trotman said, “One good term deserves another. Ambassador Somavia has given new impetus to the Decent Work agenda of the ILO and the promotion of labour standards. The workers fully support him in the understanding that he will continue his efforts to make the Decent Work agenda a reality in every country”.
Over the past four years, the ILO has launched the Decent Work agenda aimed at promoting workers’ rights, employment and enterprise creation, social protection, and social dialogue at the national, regional and international level. Under Mr. Somavia’s tenure, the organization has seen an unprecedented surge in ratifications of international labour standards.
In addition, the ILO has established the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization – a top-level panel to promote international dialogue on ways to make globalization more inclusive and fair.
“Because we have voiced the concerns of people, the ILO is relevant, visible and in demand,” Mr. Somavia said. “We are reaching out and teaming up with international partners. We are moving ahead. Decent work is at the heart of improving people’s lives and it is the key to eradicating poverty around the world.”