Organization of American States Summits of the Americas
Follow-up and Implementation: Mandates

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LABOR: Decent Work

  1. Reaffirming our commitment to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, we will continue to promote the creation of more opportunities for decent work in the formal sector. We will enforce our domestic labour laws to provide for acceptable conditions of work and safe and healthy workplaces, free from violence, harassment and discrimination. We will promote continuous training programmes in collaboration with workers’ representatives and the private sector as appropriate, with the goal of generating the necessary technical skills to enable workers to respond to the demands of the labour market. We therefore call upon the Ministers of Labour, within the context of the OAS Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labour (IACML), in collaboration with their workers’ and employers’ consultative bodies and with the support of the ILO, as appropriate, to endorse, at the 16th IACML to be held in 2009, a work programme that advances these objectives. (Declaration of Port of Spain, 2009).

  1. Convinced of the necessity to deepen democracy and consolidate freedom in the Americas, in accordance with the principles contained in the Charter of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Democratic Charter and their full application as the foundation of the hemispheric community, we, the Heads of State and Government of the democratic countries of the Americas, gathered in the city of Mar del Plata, Argentina, on the occasion of our Fourth Summit, reaffirm our commitment to fight poverty, inequality, hunger, and social exclusion in order to raise the standard of living of our peoples and strengthen democratic governance in the Americas. We assign the right to work, as articulated in human rights instruments, a central place on the hemispheric agenda, recognizing the essential role of the creation of decent work to achieve these objectives (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. Considering the widespread demand for dignified, decent, and productive work in the Hemisphere, the great task of our societies and governments in combating poverty and social exclusion is to adopt policies for generating more and better jobs in rural and urban areas, to contribute effectively to social inclusion and cohesion, prosperity, and democratic governance (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. We commit to implementing active policies to generate decent work and create the conditions for quality employment that imbue economic policies and globalization with a strong ethical and human component, putting the individual at the center of work, the company, and the economy. We will promote decent work, that is to say: fundamental rights at work, employment, social protection and social dialogue (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. We will promote decent work for migrant workers in the context of the Declaration of Nuevo León  and encourage support for the Inter-American Program adopted by the General Assembly in resolution AG/RES. 2141 (XXXV-O/05). Likewise, the state parties to the International Convention on the Protection of the Human Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families reiterate the importance of its full implementation by the parties (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. We are committed to the fight against poverty and inequality and we recognize the contribution to the economy and to the creation of decent work by productive organizations, in accordance with each nation’s characteristics, such as cooperatives and other production units (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. We are committed to building a more solid and inclusive institutional framework, based on the coordination of economic, labor, and social public policies to contribute to the generation of decent work, which must comprise:

    1. A labor framework that promotes decent work and reaffirms our respect for the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its follow-up. We shall continue to strengthen the application of our national labor laws and promote their effective enforcement;

    2. An economic framework characterized by responsible fiscal policies fostering equitable growth that generates employment;

    3. A business climate that attracts investment, fosters new enterprise creation, and promotes competition;

    4. A legal framework that upholds the rule of law, transparency, and access to justice; reinforces impartiality and independence of judicial institutions; prevents and combats impunity and corruption in both the public and the private spheres; and fights international crime;

    5. A public policy framework for integral and sustainable development that can reduce poverty and inequality, advance human health, and protect the environment in harmony with international environmental agreements to which we are all party, including those that address endangered and migratory species and wildlife, wetlands, desertification, ozone depleting chemicals, and climate change; we take note, with satisfaction, of the upcoming United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Montreal;

    6. A regulatory framework that seeks to incorporate the informal sector and unregistered work into the formal sector, recognizing the heterogeneous nature of the informal sector, in order to expand social protection and to enhance the quality and productivity of work;

    7. A comprehensive framework for rural and agricultural development, to promote investment, job creation, and rural prosperity;

    8. To achieve the abovementioned objectives we will promote increased cooperation and coordination between local, regional, and national governments (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. We recognize the vital contributions of Ministries of Labor to the achievement of the objectives of the Fourth Summit of the Americas, “Creating Jobs to Fight Poverty and Strengthen Democratic Governance,” and to the promotion of decent work and policies that encourage investment and economic growth with equity. We are committed to strengthening them with the goal of ensuring that they have sufficient national budgetary and technical resources to carry out their duties in an efficient and effective manner. We call upon our respective Ministers of Labor, working with employers and workers, to promote professional training and lifelong learning activities so that workers may adequately insert themselves into labor markets, to facilitate the skills and the knowledge development of workers and job seekers; to implement policies and programs, such as improved employment services and access to quality labor market information, that provide for the efficient functioning of labor markets; and to effectively enforce our national labor laws and regulations.
    We encourage the ministers to continue bilateral and multilateral cooperation aimed at capacity building. We also take note of the Declaration and Plan of Action of Mexico and their role in furthering the objectives of the Summit (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. Our efforts to generate decent work will contribute to promoting equity, social mobility, a better quality of life, and social inclusion for our citizens as well as to achieving social justice (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. Taking into account the results of this Summit and the Fourteenth IACML, we request that the ILO address, at its Sixteenth Americas Regional Meeting in 2006, the central topic of the Fourteenth IACML, “People and their Work at the Heart of Globalization,” with special emphasis on decent work, and consider government and tripartite actions to implement the Declaration and Plan of Action of Mar del Plata (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. With this Declaration and the attached Plan of Action, we Heads of State and Government of the Hemisphere reaffirm the central role we assign to the creation of decent work, in order to meet our commitments to fight poverty and strengthen democratic governance. We recognize once again the value of work as an activity that dignifies and structures the lives of our peoples, as an effective instrument for social interaction, and as a means of participation in the achievements of society: the primary objective of our governments’ actions for the Americas (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. To develop and strengthen policies to increase opportunities for decent, dignified, and productive work for senior citizens and persons with disabilities, and ensure compliance with national labor laws in this area, including eliminating discrimination against them in the workplace (Plan of Action Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. To implement policies that provide equal pay for equal work or, as appropriate, for work of equal value (Plan of Action Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. To carry out actions towards the promotion of the fundamental principles and rights at work and develop, together with the ILO, cooperation strategies to be complied with by member countries (Plan of Action Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. We are committed to the principles of decent work proclaimed by the International Labor Organization, and we will promote the implementation of the Declaration on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in the conviction that respect for workers’ rights and dignity is an essential element to achieving poverty reduction and sustainable social and economic development for our peoples. Additionally, we agree to take measures to fight the worst forms of child labor. We recognize and support the important work of the Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor toward achieving these vital objectives (Declaration of Nuevo León, 2004).

  1. Recognizing that employment is the most direct way in which economic activity is linked to the improvement of the standard of living of our citizens and that true prosperity can only be achieved if it includes protecting and respecting basic rights of workers as well as promoting equal employment opportunities and improving working conditions for people in all countries in the region, with special attention to those in the informal sector, to people belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, other vulnerable persons including women, youth, indigenous, migrant workers, persons with disabilities and persons with HIV/AIDS; and noting the importance of investing in human resource development, of promoting employment security consistent with economic growth and developing mechanisms to assist workers with periods of unemployment, as well as of strengthening cooperation and social dialogue on labor matters among workers, their organizations, employers and governments: (Plan of Action Québec, 2001).

  1. Consult and coordinate, domestically and regionally in the appropriate fora, with a view to contributing to raising the living standards and improving the working conditions of all people in the Americas; create a process for improved collaboration and coordination on the labor dimensions of the Summit of the Americas process between Labor Ministries and other appropriate ministries and key international institutions within the Americas that have a critical role to play in the improvement of labor conditions, in particular the OAS, the ILO, ECLAC, as well as the IDB and the World Bank; (Plan of Action Québec, 2001).

  1. Promote measures by their Ministries of Labor to provide high quality programs and assistance for workers and employers , placing emphasis on greater decentralization of their functions, the incorporation of new technologies , active labor market policies, better and more timely information regarding the labor market, and improvement of safety and health conditions in the workplace; (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  • Initiative 32 Develop training programs, among others, to increase the efficiency and productivity of labor in order to raise the quality of life, particularly of marginal communities, with due regard for environmental safety in the workplace. (Plan of Action Santa Cruz de la Sierra, 1996)



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