“Jobs for the G20” message from Cannes ignores urgent need for jobs in world’s poorest countries, warns VSO
The G20 is failing to tackle the jobs crisis facing millions of people in the world’s poorest countries with the same urgency as for people in G20 nations, warned development charity VSO today (Friday 4 November).
The organisation is concerned at the prospect of “jobless growth” in the developing world unless jobs are placed at the heart of development strategies.
A focus on creating decent work for people in developing countries would not only empower people to lift themselves out of poverty, but could also help boost global economic recovery, said VSO.
But only if jobs are at the centre of growth strategies will poor people be able to help drive and share in this recovery.
VSO UK Director Brian Rockliffe said:
“The G20 leaders have failed to show the required leadership to tackle a jobs crisis which affects millions of people in the world’s poorest countries. Our volunteers in developing countries are reporting a real lack of job opportunities in the communities where they work.
“The G20 has acknowledged that developing countries can actively contribute to growth. But when it comes to combating unemployment, action from the G20 is ‘only in our backyard’ - focused on getting their own populations back to work. There’s talk of investment in developing countries but only a fleeting reference to jobs.
“This raises the prospect of ‘jobless growth’ if it is not addressed. Targeted employment strategies are needed, including private & public investment focussed on job creation and active labour market policies.
“The G20 needs to get the whole world working – not just because it is right to do so, but as a much-needed engine for global economic recovery. The message from Cannes should not only be ‘jobs for the G20’. We need global leadership to promote decent work for people everywhere.
“Developing countries must be included at the heart of future discussions, including on the G20’s Employment Task Force. With no developing countries involved, it’s hard to see how their interests will be represented.
“While this summit has shown that the world’s focus has clearly shifted away from development, the UK government’s continuing commitment to 0.7 per cent of GNI being spent on aid is more welcome than ever. This example should now be followed by the rest of the G20.”
Next year VSO will have a renewed focus on work opportunities in the developing world. The organisation will be pressing for this issue to feature prominently on the agenda for the 2012 G20 meeting in Mexico.
VSO runs secure livelihoods programmes in 19 different countries, working in partnership with local organisations to enhance the ability of people in the developing world to earn a living.
VSO has helped partners to support their communities by developing alternative ways to earn a living when the existing ones are no longer viable or are environmentally unsustainable.
For example in the Philippines, in an area where fish stocks are declining due to over fishing, a VSO volunteer carried out a market assessment on seaweed production which has helped a local NGO support local fishermen to get involved in seaweed farming as an alternative to fishing.
VSO is different from most organisations that fight poverty. Instead of sending money or food, we bring people together to share skills and knowledge. In doing so, we create lasting change.
VSO volunteers work in whatever fields are necessary to address the forces that keep people in poverty – from education and health through helping people learn the skills to make a living. In doing so, they invest in local people, so the impact they have endures long after their placement ends.
For further media information, including interviews, case studies and pictures, please contact:
Steve Ballinger, VSO Media manager, 020 8780 7632 / +44 (0)7891 565592