Oslo Conference Calls for Commitment
to Recovery Focused on Jobs
Press Release No. 10/339
September 13, 2010
OSLO—The heads of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International
Labour Organization (ILO), along with other leaders, today called for a broad
international commitment to a jobs-focused policy response to the global
economic downturn. At a historic conference in Oslo—hosted by Prime Minister
Jens Stoltenberg of Norway and co-sponsored by the IMF and ILO—leaders from
government, labor, business and academia met to tackle the sharp increase in
unemployment and underemployment since the 2008 global financial crisis.
“The international community must respond to the very real impact the crisis
has had on working people,” said IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
“This gathering has helped to define the steps that must be taken to bring
millions back into the workforce. Tackling the jobs crisis is not only critical
for a meaningful global economic recovery, but also for social cohesion and
“When growth is not fair, it becomes unsustainable,” said ILO
Director-General Juan Somavia. “This has been the overriding lesson of the
crisis. High levels of employment creation should be a key macroeconomic
objective alongside low inflation and sustainable budgets. We need to steer
globalization in the right direction. For that we need coherence and balance
across policies, as well as coordination and dialogue among institutions and
nations. This conference has marked an important step in that direction.”
The ILO estimates that unemployment is up by more than 30 million worldwide
since 2007. The increase in unemployment in advanced economies has been
particularly severe, but the crisis also has hit emerging market and developing
The Oslo Conference brought together senior government leaders, including
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia; Prime Minister George Papandreou of
Greece; and Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain. A large
delegation of labor leaders was led by International Trade Union Confederation
General Secretary Sharan Burrow.
The IMF and ILO agreed at the conference to work together on policy
development in two specific areas:
• First, they agreed to explore the concept of a social protection floor for
people living in poverty and in vulnerable situations, within the context of a
medium- to long-term framework of sustainable macroeconomic policies and
strategies for development.
• Second, the two institutions will focus on policies to promote
There was also agreement on the central role that effective social dialogue
can play in building the consensus needed to tackle the difficult adjustment
challenges created by the crisis, and to ensure that the social consequences of
crisis and its aftermath are taken fully into account.
The two institutions also agreed to continue and deepen their cooperation in
support of the G20 and its Mutual Assessment Process aimed at ensuring strong,
sustained and balanced global growth.
As part of this continuing collaboration, Mr. Strauss-Kahn accepted the
invitation of Mr. Somavia to address the International Labour Conference in June
The Oslo Conference website is