GENEVA 9 February – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have agreed to strengthen their collaboration and partnership in a major new effort to bolster UN actions designed to reduce poverty and create more decent work.

ILO Director-General Juan Somavia and UNDP Administrator Kemal Derviş signed the joint agreement here today in a public ceremony. It is designed to promote inclusive economic growth with social development to benefit the bottom 20 to 40 per cent of the population, and bolster UN efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

“We urgently need much more inclusive growth”, the joint letter signed by the two agency heads said. “Although we live at a time of unprecedented prosperity; it is also one of exploding inequalities that hamper poverty reduction. Alongside democratic participation, we need economic empowerment, which means decent work for all.”

The agreement is a direct follow-up to the 2006 UN Economic and Social Council Ministerial Declaration on decent work and full employment and a practical step towards the implementation of UN system efforts to “deliver as one”.

The two agencies have already identified a number of countries which offer the greatest opportunities for combined support from UNDP and the ILO to work together towards making decent work a central element in UN country programmes. The agreement is open to other UN agencies and funds and programmes and will contribute to ongoing UN reform efforts.

The new partnership will give concrete expression to the requirements of UN Resident Coordinators leading UN country teams in more than 130 countries, to be strong and effective advocates of the entire UN agenda. It could also serve as a model for expanded interagency work, in particular for the role and participation of specialized agencies in the framework of the new Resident Coordinator system.

Given UNDP’s coordination role, the agreement will be instrumental in advancing the Decent Work Agenda in UN member States and will provide a boost to the current level of participation by the ILO in UN country programmes.

The ILO will conduct a training programme for UN Resident Coordinators in selected countries and their ILO counterparts at its Turin Centre to broaden understanding of the Decent Work Agenda and map strategies to link decent work country programmes with UN country programmes and national frameworks for coordination and programming.

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The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the UN agency devoted to advancing opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. Its main aims are to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue in handling work-related issues.

UNDP is the UN''s global network to help people meet their development needs and build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working as a trusted partner with governments, civil society and the private sector to help them build their own solutions to global and national development challenges.

For more information, please refer to:

ILO: or contact Laetitia Dard at +4122/799-8272 or

UNDP: or contact Jean Fabre at +4122/917-8541, in Geneva or Christina LoNigro in New York +1212/906-5301 and