Employment - UNDESA DSPD

Employment Issue in Social Perspective

employmentThe World Summit for Social Development put the goal of full and productive employment at the forefront of the UN development agenda and recognized that the generation of productive employment was the most effective means of reducing poverty and promoting social integration. It also called for broader, more integrated action to promote employment in national development strategies. Governments committed to promote full employment as a priority of their economic and social policies. At the special session in 2000, the General Assembly emphasized the need to elaborate a coherent and coordinated international strategy on employment.

At the 2005 World Summit, countries committed to make the goals of full and productive employment and decent work for all a central objective of national and international policies.  Achieving these goals is an integral part of the efforts to meet the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs, and the broader UN development agenda, with its central focus on improving the lives of poor people.

In keeping with this commitment, the Secretary-General, in his report on the work of the Organization in 2006, proposed to include a new target, echoing the commitment of the 2005 World Summit, under MDG 1. 

The high-level segment of ECOSOC’s substantive session in 2006 focused on how best to attain full and productive employment and decent work and adopted a Ministerial Declaration, which emphasized that employment generation should constitute a fundamental component of any development strategy, and set out concrete steps to implement the 2005 Summit objective. (E/2006/L.8).

The Commission chose full employment and decent work as its priority theme for its 2007-2008 cycle. The review segment of the forty-fifth session reviewed the theme and major challenges for achieving full employment and decent work, and its outcome was in the form of a Chairman’s summary. The policy segment resulted in resolution on “Promoting full employment and decent work fro all”.

As part of preparations for the Commission, DSPD has organized the Expert group meetings in 2006 and 2007 to discuss major challenges and obstacles as well as policy options and practical measures to achieve the goals of full employment and decent work.  The EGM in October 2007 also shared national and regional experiences and highlighted good practices and lessons learned with a view to improving policies to promote employment and decent work. The meeting resulted in specific policy recommendations and suggestions.



The ILO is the international organization responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards. It is the only 'tripartite' United Nations agency that brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to jointly shape policies and programmes promoting Decent Work for all.