As part of their ongoing engagement in the preparatory meetings leading up to this November’s G20 Summit in Cannes, two USCIB affiliates, the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) joined forces with the French business group MEDEF to participate in a high-level conference in Paris on May 23 on social policy issues.
The ministerial-level conference was opened by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who presented the French priorities and expectations for the G20 in this area. French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde also spoke. Other key participants included G20 labor ministers, the heads of the ILO, WTO and OECD along with top representatives of the IMF, World Bank and other agencies, and business and labor representatives.
The business delegation at the conference was jointly organized by IOE and BIAC. It included IOE Executive Vice President Daniel Funes de Rioja of Argentina, who addressed the issue of fundamental principles and rights at work, BIAC Chairman Charles Heeter (Deloitte), who spoke on employment recovery, MEDEF President Laurence Parisot, who spoke on policy coherence, and Alexander Gunkel, deputy director general of the German employers’ confederation BDA, who discussed social protection.
Participants at the conference recognized that coordination between different social actors and international institutions is essential in responding to the global jobs crisis, and they recognized the important link between economic growth, employment policies and social protection. In his remarks concluding the conference, French Minister of Labor Xavier Bertrand acknowledged the role of entrepreneurs in creating jobs, and emphasized France’s focus on youth employment, calling for ambitious employment policies in the G20 nations.
The next meeting in the G20 process will take place on June 10, during the ILO’s International Labor Conference, when there will be consultations in Geneva with the social partners from the G20 countries.
Staff contact: Ronnie Goldberg