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WORKING GROUP II

The Chair, Amb. Richelle, announced that the Bureau had decided that by Wednesday night all the work of the Working Groups should be completed to allow the documents to be translated in time for Friday"s Plenary.

CHAPTER III: EMPLOYMENT

Delegates could not reach agreement on the title: "[Productive Work] [The Expansion of Productive Employment] and the Reduction of Unemployment."

BASIS FOR ACTION AND OBJECTIVES

Paragraph 38 (introduction) led to a lengthy debate. Three concepts remain unresolved: whether this paragraph should refer to productive "employment" or "work;" the use of the terms "broadbased" or "sustained" "economic growth;" and whether to include the G-77"s proposal on the concept of "full and adequately remunerated employment" as an effective method of combating poverty and promoting social integration. In paragraph 39 (rapid technological change), the US explained that globalization gives rise to new employment uncertainties as well as to opportunities. Canada said that different forms of non-standard work, rather than just more work, need to be considered while economies are changing. The G-77/China, supported by Japan, felt the language was ambiguous and the US preferred to use "new employment opportunities." In paragraph 40 (employment growth in developed countries), Benin said that the objective is to make the informal economy more dynamic. The G-77/China requested that only some enterprises should be part of the informal sector. Benin included "age" in the list of discriminatory practices. The EU noted that the list was expanding, but nonetheless asked that discrimination related to health be included, along with reference to appropriate international regulations and norms.

In paragraph 42 (unremunerated productive work), delegates agreed to include the fact that women often face the double burden of remunerated and unremunerated work. The Group bracketed the Holy See and G-77/China"s proposal: "to accord social recognition for such work by reflecting its value in the gross national product and other economic statistics."

In Paragraph 43 (urgent needs), delegates accepted the chapeau. The 1st bullet in this paragraph now reads: "Placement of [sustainable] employment at the centre of national strategies and policies, with the full participation of employers and trade unions and other parts of civil society." In the 4th bullet, delegates could not agree to respect "relevant" or "core" ILO conventions or accept the US alternative that refers to "appropriate international conventions." The 5th bullet now reads: "Special priority, in the design of policies, to the problems of structural and long-term unemployment and to unemployment amongst women, youth, older workers and people with disabilities." In the 9th bullet (migrant workers), the G-77/China, supported by Mexico, preferred the original text. The EU suggested an amendment on protection of migrants through the continuation of international consultations on migration and development.

A. THE CENTRALITY OF EMPLOYMENT IN POLICY FORMULATION

The US proposal to remove "intensive growth" from the title of this section was accepted. In paragraph 44 (expansion of productive employment in the centre of sustainable development strategies), the G-77/China and the US did not agree on whether to "require" the relevant actions. In 44(a) (full employment policies), the notion of promoting "adequately remunerated" employment remains bracketed. The alternative text proposed by the G-77/China was accepted in 44(b) on priority to policies to address unemployment and underemployment.

Paragraph 45 (actions for macroeconomic stability and jobs) contains the usual brackets requested by the US around "sustainable/broadbased" and "requires." In 45(a), the EU agreed to accept the G-77/China's amendment and vice versa. It now reads "Pursuing the coordination of macroeconomic policies so that they are mutually reinforcing and conducive to [sustained][broadbased] economic growth and sustainable development as well as substantial increases in productive employment expansion and a decline in unemployment worldwide." 45(b) now reads: "Giving priority to programmes which most directly promote viable and long-term job growth when budgetary adjustments are required." 45(c) now reads "Removing structural constraints to economic growth and employment creation as a part of national stabilization policies." There were no amendments to 45(d) (competing claims on resources). 45(e) now reads: "Monitoring, analysing and disseminating information on the impact of trade and investment liberalization on the economy, especially on employment." The EU"s proposed 45(e) bis and 45(e) ter were accepted.

The chapeau to paragraph 46 (actions for stimulating growth) remains bracketed. The qualifier "as appropriate" in 46(a) (encouraging labour intensive investments) also remains bracketed. In response to lack of agreement on 46(a) bis, the G-77/China later proposed: "Promoting technological innovations and industrial policies that have the potential to stimulate short- as well as long-term employment creation and to consider their impact on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups." Delegates reached agreement on 46(b), which now reads: "Giving developing countries the capacity to select specific and suitable technologies." In 46(c) (developing country integration of technology), the EU preferred the original text in order to avoid a lengthy debate on the modalities of assistance. The G-77/China preferred its text on expanded transfer of technology on concessional and preferential terms. Australia could not accept transfer on such terms. The original and amended texts were both bracketed. China referred to Agenda 21 and said that if any core paragraphs are dear to the hearts of developing countries, this is one of them. In 46(c) bis, the G-77/China accepted the Russian Federation"s amendment on programmes for on-the-job training in countries with economies in transition. In 46(e)(investment stimulation), the G-77/China thought that the paragraph should have the broadest application, and supported Australia in deleting the list of areas for investment.

In 47(a), the US suggested compromise language: "Removing regulatory obstacles faced by small- and medium-sized enterprises and easing regulations that discourage private initiative." In 47(f) ter, the G-77/China said that opportunities for the retraining of workers should go hand-in-hand with industrial expansion.

At 6:00 pm, Working Group II adjourned and was expected to reconvene at 8:00 pm to finish its first reading of Chapter III. With 12 pages of text before them, and given the current pace of 1.5 pages/hour, Working Group II had a long night ahead of them.

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