XI INTER-AMERICAN CONFERENCE OF MINISTERS OF LABOR
OEA/Ser.K/XII.11.1
TRABAJO/doc.5/98 Rev. 2
October 20-21, 1998, Viņa del Mar, Chile


DECLARATION OF VIŅA DEL MAR

(Adopted at the third plenary session, held on October 21, 1998, with corrections by the Style Commission)

We, the Ministers participating in the Eleventh Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor of the Organization of American States, held in Viņa del Mar, Chile, October 20 and 21, 1998, meeting to analyze the issues of "Globalization of the Economy and its Social and Labor Dimensions" and "Modernization of the State and Labor Administration: Requirements and Challenges,"

HEREBY DECLARE:

1. That our deliberations are taking place within the framework of the guidance and commitments of the First and Second Summits of Heads of State and Government of the Americas, held in December 1994 and April 1998, respectively; the Plans of Action agreed upon at those events; and the Declaration of Buenos Aires, signed on the occasion of the Tenth Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor, in October 1995, and its Declaration, presented at the Meeting of Ministers of Trade of Belo Horizonte, held in May 1997. Similarly, we have taken into account the suggestions of the four working groups, established at the Tenth Conference, and the progress that has taken place since then.

2. That in the context of the strengthening and deepening of democracy in our nations, we reiterate that the ethically, socially, and politically fundamental objectives that should guide the design and implementation of the policies for growth, modernization, and economic integration currently in progress are those which lead to economic and social development that can ensure the promotion of equal opportunities for progress and the eradication of poverty and all forms of discrimination, that is, equity and social justice.

3. That we adopt the concept of human development, as defined at the 1995 World Summit in Copenhagen, as the notion that best expresses and synthesizes the above-mentioned objectives. Within that conceptual framework, the world of work is one of the fundamental areas in which human development can and should be realized.

4. That consistent with the foregoing, we hold that the policies that are the basis for the economic growth needed for social development --in particular, free international trade, economic integration, the stimulation of productive investment, the incorporation of advanced technologies, as well as policies aimed at achieving sound macroeconomic balances, economic stability, institutional modernization, the adequate functioning of labor markets, and enhancing the competitiveness of firms and countries --should be designed in such a way that they produce more and better-quality jobs, consistent with internationally-recognized core labor standards. This presupposes jobs that ensure economic and professional compensation to workers, in accordance with their productivity, and that offer them and their families effective opportunities for social and human advancement, always taking into account the dignity of the role of work in our societies.

5. That such policies should be concerned, in particular, with initiatives aimed at improving the status of those who are already employed and should recognize the fundamental need to promote the incorporation of those who seek employment, especially youth, women, migrants, persons with disabilities, minorities and other vulnerable groups; those who have been affected by the restructuring of production processes; and those who operate in the informal and other precarious sectors of the economy.

6. That the above-noted policies should be carried out within the framework of individual and collective labor laws, based on the actual situation of each country, that guarantee labor standards which correspond with the core labor standards established by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and reiterated in the Declaration on Fundamental principles and Rights at Work and the follow up thereon, adopted by the ILO members during the International Labour Conference, in June 1998. This requirement is especially pertinent in view of the commitment adopted at the Second Summit of the Americas to ensure greater observance and promotion of these internationally accepted norms.

7. That the objectives set forth here call on the Governments, and in particular the Ministries of Labor, to actively deal with a set of strategic issues stemming from the new realities in the world of work, resulting from the above-noted processes of economic and trade internationalization, the speed of technical innovation, and the structural and institutional changes associated with these processes. To this end, our Ministries of Labor should modernize and strengthen their capabilities in order to address these new challenges and to participate more effectively in the formulation of policies on these issues.

8. That taking into consideration among other relevant background material, the analyses and recommendations of the First and Second Summits of Heads of State and Government of the Americas, and of the Tenth Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor, the progress made since then, the national experiences in the Region, and the suggestions of the four working groups created at the Tenth Conference, as well as its Declaration, submitted to the Ministers of Trade at Belo Horizonte in May 1997, we have identified the following areas as deserving of priority attention from the Governments and the Ministries of Labor: the role of the Ministries of Labor; employment and the labor market; vocational training; labor relations and basic workers' rights; social security; health and safety; enforcement of national labor laws and administration of justice in the labor area; and social dialogue.

9. That to implement actions aimed at carrying out the tasks that stem from the foregoing agenda of priority issues,

WE RESOLVE:

I. To develop a Plan of Action, attached to this text, the implementation of which will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Labor of each country, as will be the coordination among Ministries as they may agree upon for these purposes, in the context of the inter-American system of the OAS. This Plan will set forth criteria for action by the Ministries of Labor, which will be in accordance with the guidance and commitments on labor issues agreed upon in the Declaration of Santiago, adopted at the Second Summit of the Americas in 1998, and in its Plan of Action.

II. To continue to use the system of working groups established at the Tenth Conference in Buenos Aires, reducing the number of groups to two. To this end, working groups will be formed to develop activities pertaining to the themes of this Conference: "Globalization of the Economy and its Social and Labor Dimensions," and "Modernization of the State and Labor Administration: Requirements and Challenges." These groups will address, through subgroups, the issues considered in point 8 of this Declaration.

III. To request, in order to implement this Plan of Action, that the Organization of American States (OAS), as Technical Secretariat of the Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor (CIMT), consider providing the institutional resources needed to facilitate the activity of the working groups, if necessary with the possible contribution of the national counterpart, [domestic Departament of Labor] considering also the participation of COSATE and CEATAL, and that the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and other regional and sub-regional organizations support these working groups with the technical assistance needed in their respective areas of competence.

IV. To instruct the Chairman pro tempore, together with the working groups and in particular the countries coordinating them, and with the support of the technical secretariat, to work with the countries to assist them in carrying out the tasks emanating from this document. The procedure for the creation and operation of the working groups and for information exchange will be presented by the Chairman pro tempore, after consultation with the member countries, at the first regional meeting of the ILO, or by April 1999 at the latest. As the Plan of Action is implemented, an ongoing evaluation will be conducted of the progress made.

V. To hold a follow-up meeting at the ministerial level in the Dominican Republic in the year 2000 and to entrust that meeting with determining the venue for the Twelfth Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor in 2001.

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