Scientific co-op, knowledge exchange essential for promoting peace, welfare for all: minister

June 22, 2019

TEHRAN—In the today’s world where challenges a country is facing becomes other countries’ problems in no time, scientific cooperation and knowledge exchange for sustainable development are essential for promoting peace and welfare for all, the cooperation, labor and social welfare minister has said.

Mohammad Shariatmadari made the remarks on Wednesday over in his address to Asia-Pacific ministers at the 108th Session of the International Labor Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 10-21, according to a report published on the ministry’s portal.

Some 60 percent of the whole world’s population constituting 3.4 billion people, including workforce, are living in Asia-Pacific region, he said, adding that despite the differences all countries in this region should cooperate to create sustainable employment opportunities for all.

Things are changing fast now and have impacts on the workforce, technology advances, climate change, demographic changes, etc. are affecting various regions differently, he added.

He went on to say that new technologies have seriously affected jobs and had various consequences for the economies and job opportunities, so that following the new technology trends and teaching necessary vocational skills to the workforce are vital.

The minister also highlighted that despite economic growth there are not enough decent job opportunities in some economies in the region.

Shariatmadari also mentioned ILO’s most recent report, entitled Asia-Pacific Employment and Social Outlook 2018 (APESO): Advancing decent work for sustainable development regretting the increasing number of unemployed and people having informal jobs.

Based on ILO’s report, despite two decades of economic growth, Asia-Pacific still faces structural weaknesses in its labor markets.

According to the first edition of the APESO, although the regional unemployment rate is projected to remain at 4.1 per cent through 2020, the vulnerable employment rate is expected to creep up towards 49 per cent, reversing a downward trend of at least two decades.

While the Asia-Pacific region has made rapid progress to substantially reduce extreme poverty, one fourth of all workers in the region – 446 million workers – still lived in moderate or extreme poverty in 2017 and nearly half of the workforce – 930 million people – were still making a living in vulnerable employment as own-account or unpaid contributing family workers.

More than two in three workers were in informal employment in 2016, which is closely linked to the 48.6 per cent of workers still in vulnerable categories of employment. The informal employment rate is particularly high in Southern Asia, where almost 88 per cent of workers were informally employed.

The minister also noted that employment would lead to reducing poverty, saying that economic growth cannot solely result in poverty reduction unless it creates decent jobs.

Empowering and supporting the youth would help in having a brighter future, he suggested.

Shariatmadari also lamented that one-sided, unfair U.S.-sanctions imposed on Iran would definitely affect human rights, social justice, and everyone’s right to have a decent job, this is economic terrorism.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has established a national plan for decent jobs creation in line with sixth national development plan, he highlighted.

Using the youth potential, empowering work institutes, developing vocational skills, and supporting firms, specially newly funded knowledge-based companies are of the plans to generate decent jobs in the country, he stated.

Emphasizing the fact that Iranian government has attached a great importance to the development of innovative technology startups he also explained that Iran played host to the 1st Asia Pacific Innovation Forum held on June 10-12.

The theme of the Forum was "Technology Start-ups for Sustainable Development" in recognition of technology as a key means for sustainable development goals. The Forum was an opportunity to showcase the most innovative technology start-up initiatives, discover frontier technological advancements from across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, and develop partnerships with other member States so that the countries in the region can move forward together to face great opportunities and challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Iran has gained considerable experience and knowledge in supporting startups knowledge-based companies and is ready to exchange this knowledge with other countries in the region, he concluded.

This year the 108th International Labor Conference brought together over 6,000 delegates from around the globe to find solutions to the challenges of the future of the world of work, and celebrate the Centenary of the International Labor Organization.

The conference, which is often called an international parliament of labor, has several main tasks.

The crafting and adoption of international labor standards in the form of conventions and recommendations, supervising the application of conventions and recommendations at the national level, and representing a forum where social and labor questions of importance to the entire world are discussed are some of the main tasks.

MQ/MG

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