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Local time Permanent Mission of Sweden
11:29 PM

Swedish statement at the centenary international labour conference

18 Jun 2019

Swedish statement delivered by Minister for Employment Ylva Johansson.

Thank you chair,

Excellencies, Honorable Guests, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the Minister of Employment in Sweden, I feel honored to deliver the Swedish statement at the international labour conference as the ILO marks its 100th anniversary.

Sweden has been a proud member of the ILO since 1920 and the Swedish model with social dialogue, employment promotion at the center of macroeconomic policy, combined with a strong welfare system with social protection for all, go hand in hand with the mandate of the ILO.

The world is constantly changing, and we all face new challenges and opportunities as time evolves. Yet, some changes are fundamental and require international collaboration. For example;

Climate change requires a just transition to environmentally sustainable economies and societies.  

Demographic trends impact migration flows, youth employment and place additional strain on social security and care systems. 

A Centenary declaration should provide appropriate answers to these challenges through:

First, a human-centred agenda, focusing on developing the human capabilities, supporting people through transitions, and institutions that can provide the foundations for just societies.

We should not protect jobs, but protect people. Access to lifelong learning, adequate social security and social services at every stage of life are important success factors.

Second, social dialogue to sustain social peace in times of transition and to create win-win-win situations. The Global Deal, now hosted by the OECD with the ILO as a founding partner, can contribute to this objective.  

As such, Sweden believe that a Centenary Declaration should set a bold future vision and mission of the ILO to contribute to decent work, sustainable development and social justice for all. The starting point is the ILOs core mandate and comparative advantages; the normative and standard setting functions, the tripartite structure, and the ILO as the leading knowledge hub on employment.

Still today, far too many people receive pay below poverty lines, are under- and unemployed, are being hindered from organising and exercising their rights on the labour market. People experience harassments, violence and unsafe working conditions. As this has to end, Sweden strongly believe in the need for a Universal Labour Guarantee, that Decent Working conditions should be a human right and a core convention.

However, it is not enough, conventions need to be ratified, implemented and followed up upon. The ILO needs strong and independent supervisory mechanisms. This is not only in the interest of the people in exercising their rights. More and more international businesses also express the need for independent supervisory and complaint mechanisms as it facilitates investments and doing business in a fair way.   

Sweden is proud to be one of the leading countries in the world in terms of gender equality. Gender equality is at the heart of everything we do. Recognising women’s important roles – as food producers, as entrepreneurs, as caretakers and contributors to society, is crucial for sustainable development.

Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work and representation in decision-making processes will contribute to sustainable economies and benefit societies at large. Yet, reality is different. Women earn less than men, experience difficulties in accessing decent work, and are at risk of being left behind as economies develop.

For everyone to be able to exercise their rights and to contribute to inclusive economic growth, old patterns have to change. We - all stakeholders: governments, employers, trade unions and civil society - need to move faster, we need to be innovative and we need to collaborate.

The responsibilities for the implementation of the Declaration do not only lie with governments but with all partners and stakeholders. We all need to contribute to decent and productive work for women and men alike.

Our joint vision should not just focus on empowering but also investing in changing the structures holding people back. New structures should be put in place permitting everyone to rise and take greater control over their life and life cycle.

But again, we need to move faster – 100 years is already a long journey – and we need to move together. No one can be left behind.

Last updated 18 Jun 2019, 12.34 PM