G8 Labour Ministers' Meeting - G8 Social Summit

Wall Street, New York Stock Exchange The Labour Ministers from the world’s 14 major economies and the leaders of the international organisations concerned meet in Rome from 29 to 31 March. The venue chosen for the meeting is the Palazzo della Farnesina.  

"People First": is the theme of the Summit organised with the aim to discuss and examine measures for coping with unemployment, with particular reference to household income support and finding new jobs for workers hit by the crisis.

The Labour Ministers’ meeting is a major opportunity to outline both the measures that might be adopted by  the individual states and the joint, coordinated international drives. In line with the Italian G8 duty presidency’s strategy, the Rome meeting was also attended by the Chinese, Indian, Brazilian, Mexican, South African and Egyptian labour ministers. Several international organisations were also involved: in addition to the European Union (with EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Vladmir Spidla) the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development - OECD and the International Monetary Fund - IMF; the United Nations, with the International Labour Organisation - ILO.    


Dialogue among the Social Parties
The proceedings commence on the afternoon of Sunday, 29 March with a meeting with the representatives of Social Parties (TUAC [1 and BIAC [2]). The summit then takes the form of three plenary sessions over the following two days.

Work Priority
The first official session examines the most immediate impact of the crisis in the G8 countries and openes with a report from the Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurrìa.
The second session is introduced by the director general of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Juan Somavia, and extends its examination of the more lasting consequences of the crisis to all 14 countries attending.

The third session, on the morning of Tuesday, 31 March, is opened by the First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), John Lipsky, and reviewes the role of welfare policies and the human aspect in the new shape assumed by globalisation.
The final news conference for the Social Summit 2009 is held at 4 p.m. on Tuesday 31 March at the Villa Madama in Rome, in the presence of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and of Welfare Minister Maurizio Sacconi.

The Social Summit's Proposal:  A Global Welfare Pact
The final document issued by the Italian Presidency at the end of the G8 Labour Ministers' Meeting (expanded to include China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and Egypt) argues the need for an approach based on the integration of economic and welfare measures to combat the economic downturn.  The various working sessions resulted in broad agreement on the part of all the ministers on the need to promote policies based on shared principles in order to address the crisis' "human aspect".  In particular, the ultimate goal is to forge a global pact for people, to promote employment, income support and professional skills.  The pact must also attempt to improve social welfare systems inasmuch as they are considered to be "the driving force of a virtuous circle of confidence" and thus of economic recovery and employment.

The results of the G8 Labour Ministers' Meeting were transmitted to the G20 Summit in London and  will be submitted to the G8 Summit in L'Aquila, where the heads of state and government leaders will continue to discuss ways of cooperating in an effort to promote employment policies, and above all, to debate "how to situate the welfare aspect in the context of a global pact for employment and social welfare".


Labour Ministers' Meeting: Chair’s Summary (pdf file format)
Conclusions from the G8 Labour and Employment Meeting (pdf file format)
Social Summit 2009 Agenda (pdf file format)

[1] Trade Union Advisory Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
[2] Business and Industry Advisory Committee of the of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development