Sustaining peace through decent work
10th commemoration of World Day of Social Justice “Preventing conflict and sustaining peace through decent work” - Opening remarks by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 21 February 2017
Ladies and gentlemen,
It’s indeed a pleasure for Fabienne Bartoli right behind me and for me to be here with you this afternoon on this very special occasion as we are gathered here to commemorate the world day of social justice.
I would like to start by expressing my warmest thanks to the ILO liaison office in New York and especially to you, cher Monsieur Pinheiro, for not only organizing this event today but for your incredible energy at the service of such an important cause.
I would also like to thank my colleagues who have joined us here this afternoon, with a special word of thanks to the Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of Colombia, chère María Emma, of Tunisia, cher Khaled, and the Kyrgyz Republic, cher Mirgul. It is really good to be in such great company, and for such an important cause.
It was a great idea, cher Monsieur Pinheiro, to choose this very important theme for the 10th commemoration.
We all know that we need to implement the SDGs’ and the 2030 agenda to build a strong peace and security agenda.
In this regard, the Security Council has already adopted several important resolutions such as the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda as well as the “Youth, peace and security” more recently. So the Security Council has, so to speak, taken the torch to do also its homework with respect to what is our common priority today.
Unfortunately, we all know the implementation of the decent work agenda and the SDG 8 is still a work in progress. And in this globalized world and globalized economy, we need to really care about this to make it a high priority, especially in countries where severe conflicts are still occurring.
The enormous human and economic cost of conflicts and the difficulty in preserving global stability only highlight the complexity and challenges that the UN and its member States are facing in preventing conflicts, sustaining peace and delivering on the new and ambitious development agenda. I don’t want to be too long on this but this is really really high on the hierarchy of our joint priorities.
Peaceful and inclusive societies, as well as decent work and equitable growth, are key priorities of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This Agenda states that sustainable development cannot be realized actually without peace and security and it encourages member States to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies that provide equal access to justice and are based on respect for human rights. Words you would tell me, but very important words indeed that need to be our best guide, I would even say our best moral compass, to confront together the challenges we face.
Recent General Assembly and Security Council resolutions that seek to improve the UN peacebuilding architecture consistently call for the entire United Nations system to work more closely together around the goal of sustaining peace.
And for us, this focus on young people as part of prevention strategies is absolutely key, for many reasons that we have all in mind. Youth often find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of violence, poverty, illiteracy and social exclusion, we all know that in our various countries. There should be a balance here I believe between the security concerns and the equity considerations, especially when targeting specific individuals or groups, such as former fighters.
In France also, our government is deeply committed to improving youth employment, vocational training and inclusion through several specific policies, such as the “Garantie Jeunes “(youth guarantee), a special action dedicated to marginalized young people without any qualification or degree. During the last two years, for example, nearly 50,000 young people have benefited from this policy which is combining vocational training, access to work with lower costs for employers, and of course providing the same rights for the younger people.
Cher Mr. Pinheiro, may I also take this opportunity to recall here France’s commitment to ILO’s work, which we consider as a very high priority.
President Hollande recently recalled, that was during the last World Labor Assembly, that France is proud to be one of the States which has ratified the largest number of ILO’s Conventions, at this day: 125. President Hollande announced on this occasion a new partnership with ILO, in all intergovernmental negotiations such as climate change, of course the agenda 2030, financing for development issues and I could go on and on. So for me it is also important to be at your side for this meeting.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues of the Group of friends of decent work for their commitment, dedication and hard work and for being constant champions in this field.
So I promised I would be quite short, je n’ai pas vraiment tenu ma parole, and may I conclude by expressing my warmest thanks and congratulations to each and every one of you for your exemplary commitment.