The International Labor Organization (ILO) opened its annual conference on Wednesday with discussions focused on ways and means to tackle the growing impact of the economic and financial crisis on employment and social protection.
Between 3,000 and 4,000 representatives from most of the ILO's 183 members are participating in the meeting, including more than 150 ministerial officials, said Kari Tapiola, spokesperson of this year's conference.
The 17-day conference will feature on June 15-17 an ILO Summit on the Global Jobs Crisis, which will be addressed by at least 10 heads of state or government, including Brazilian President Lula da Silva and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The agenda of the conference has been reorganized at short notice in order to focus on the global jobs crisis, according to an ILO statement.
Job losses have been massive in all regions, and future forecasts predict continued job losses and high and persistent unemployment and poverty well into 2010, the statement said.
The conference will discuss a range of measures and policies to promote employment and enterprise development, and extend social and other protection to persons affected.
Other issues to be discussed include HIV/AIDS, gender equality in work places, forced labor, the situation of workers in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The role of the annual conference is to adopt and oversee compliance with international labor standards, establish the budget of the organization and elect members of the ILO governing body.
Since 1919, the conference has served as a major international forum for debate on social and labor questions of worldwide importance.