ILO Director-General Guy Ryder says the world needs to take a new approach - with jobs at the centre - in the fight to end global poverty.
In a statement marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Ryder warned that without a change of direction, there would be a risk of prolonged global recession, which would hit the most vulnerable people hardest.
"Fuel, food and financial crises have taken their toll and without change such crises are likely to be endemic. Disturbing patterns of inequality, even where growth was maintained, underscore the importance of rethinking the way forward." The new approach, he said, should be based on the concept of sustainable development. It should consist of 'mutually reinforcing strands' of economic, social and environmental development along with dynamic poverty eradication strategies which foster inclusion and empowerment.
A central element of the new thinking, he stressed, should be decent work: "Work that is freely chosen, productive, fairly remunerated and backed by appropriate social protection - decent work - can lift whole communities out of poverty and underpin human security and social peace." Ryder outlined five key areas which, he said, should be the foundation of a new strategy: sustainable job creation; empowerment; social dialogue; social protection and the involvement of a range of actors including governments, workers, employers, civil society, the multilateral system and international partners.
He welcomed the focus of the international day on "Ending the Violence of Extreme Poverty: Promoting Empowerment and Building Peace," which, he said, reflected the ILO's belief that universal and lasting peace must be based on social justice.
Some 870 million people are undernourished and an estimated 1 billion are unemployed or living in poverty. The world's workforce is growing by around 40 million per year.