Employment and Social Protection – A key to sustainable and inclusive growth

14 October 2014

Hanoi - On 25th October 2012, the4th ASEM Labour and Employment Ministers’ Conference was organized by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam and the European Commission. Read More

The Conference is the continuation of the past ASEM Labour and Employment Ministers’ Conferences and to follow-up the guidance of ASEM Heads of Governments and States at the 8th ASEM Summit in Brussels, October 2010 on labour, employment and social protection.

With the theme of “Employment and Social Protection – A key to sustainable and inclusive growth”, the Conference has drawn the attention and participation of 150 delegates from ASEM members, relevant international organizations, including the International Labour Organization (ILO), World Bank (WB), United Nation’s Fund for Children (UNICEF), International Organization for Migration (IOM). H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dzung, Prime Minister and H.E. Mme. Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of Vietnam delivered key note remarks at the opening session of the Conference.

In his keynote remarks, the Prime Minister expressed his appreciation of this Labour and Employment Ministers’ Conference, with the theme “Employment and Social Protection – A key to sustainable and inclusive growth”, in creating an opportunity for sharing experience, best practices, and to promote and reaffirm the importance of ASEM dialogue and cooperation in labour, employment and social protection, with an aim to boost economic recovery and sustainable development. The Prime Minister requested that in the forthcoming time, ASEM needs to enhance the sharing of experience on the development of policies, legal documents on labour and social protection; on strengthening resilience in the face of economic turbulences; on linking social protection, employment creation with reforming growth pattern towards sustainable development; and to strengthen ASEM cooperation in specific areas of employment creation and vocational training, social protection, occupational safety and health, with a priority for disadvantaged groups, including young people, women, and people with disability.

In her address to the Conference, H.E. Mme, Pham Thi Hai Chuyen highlighted the consistent policy of the Government of Vietnam, that is economic growth in tandem with social protection, and the achievements that Vietnam has gained through national programmes and projects, including the National Programme on Poverty Reduction, National Programme on Employment, National programme on vocational training for young people, etc.

Mr. Koos Richelle, Director General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, in his opening address stressed that "despite the differences, ASEM countries share many concerns relating to the employment and social dimension of their economies. Consensus is emerging on how to meet these challenges – a consensus that covers a job-rich growth, quality employment, in particular for youth and other vulnerable groups, decent work, including occupational safety and health and nationally defined social protection floors. It is crucial to involve the social partners in our efforts as much as possible. Constructive dialogue with the employers and trade unions in the framework of the ASEM Social Partners' Forum showed their readiness to contribute."

The Conference has adopted the Hanoi Declaration, which reaffirms the political commitments of the Ministers on the importance of policies to foster employment and decent work, especially for young people and other disadvantaged groups in the course of economic recovery; of social protection policies, in line with national priorities and circumstances; of strengthening occupational safety and health, and promoting corporate social responsibility.

The Conference agreed that there are opportunities to be harnessed for strengthening ASEM cooperation; and agreed to enhance comprehensive dialogue and cooperation between government agencies and social partners in the development and employment of policies, programmes on employment, social protection, occupational safety and health, with an aim to pursue sustainable and inclusive development.

The discussion at the Conference revealed diversity in the approaches of ASEM members, due to differences in development level, cultural diversity, political system, but also highlighted similarities. The most important thing in common is the goal to develop a better world of peace, justice for everyone. It is also the good faith in cooperation, in respect, to find a common voice. It is this shared goal that makes the success of this Conference and a testimony of our belief in the continued and enhanced Asia – Europe dialogue process.

The discussion outcome and the Joint Declaration will be reported to the Heads of States and Governments at the 9th ASEM Summit in Vientiane, Lao PDR., on 05-06 November 2012.

The 4th ASEM Labour and Employment Ministers’ Conference is an foreign affairs event of importance that Vietnam hosts during 2012, and plays an important role in enhancing the position of Vietnam in the international community in general, and contributing to the relationship between Vietnam and ASEM in labour, employment and social protection, in particular.