Austria said that the definition of "productive employment" in the document gives rise to a serious misconception as it seems to suggest that the reduction of unemployment will lead to reduction of poverty. But the current demographic changes and the access by women to productive employment indicate that unless the problem of unemployment is fully resolved, the problem of productive employment will not be fully addressed. Hence the PrepCom should address "full employment."
India said that productive employment is a basic individual right since it not only provides a wage but is also an expression of self-fulfillment and dignity. The Summit should address full employment, as it is a concern of both the developed and developing countries. Unemployment may be inversely related to the level of wages, but it has persisted with growth in all countries because modern growth is technology-based and higher technology is based on saving labor rather than saving land-based resources.
Australia said a principle requirement in attaining full employment is a conducive economic environment. He suggested that the ILO and UNDP could prepare a paper on this topic, based on five central themes: increases in private and public investment using labor-intensive technologies; training; development of small businesses; fair wages and work conditions, with wages relating to income distribution; and flexible work schedules.
France commented that jobs of social usefulness, such as helping the elderly and families, maintaining buildings in urban areas and environmental protection, are necessary. Finland mentioned that health is also important when discussing productive employment. Malaysia suggested programmes for productive employment, such as private sector investment and human resource development. The Holy See said training is crucial to promote skills literacy for youth and the long-term unemployed. El Salvador said that there is a need for an analysis of unemployment in rural and urban areas and for the private sector to aid in job creation. Mali urged the creation of an environment favoring motivation and the retention of highly skilled workers. Sweden suggested the ILO could act as a follow-up mechanism for the Summit.
A number of delegates listed activities and policies to promote productive employment, including: encouraging small business; promoting wide-based entrepreneurship and asset-holding; providing decentralized market support infrastructures; encouraging gender-sensitive policies; eliminating child labor; providing an international framework for social justice, clarifying responsibilities and ensuring international cooperation; establishing credit and land-distribution schemes; providing adequate pricing mechanisms; addressing trade, the external debt, technology transfers and the current structural adjustment programmes in relation to women; focusing efforts on new sources of job creation linked to the quality of life and protection of the environment; promoting research and development and small- and medium-sized enterprises; and ensuring a stable framework for investment, training, and use of flexible work schedules. [Return to start of article]