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Bureau of International Labor Affairs
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Labor & the Development Agenda

Jobs are front and center on the international development agenda. Since earnings from work are the main – often only – source of income and savings for most of the world's people, employment is essential to alleviating poverty and fostering development.

Workers need to be equipped with necessary skills to succeed in changing labor markets. Their fundamental rights and health and safety must be protected. Social safety nets should exist to help those in need.  When these elements are in place, sustainable development becomes possible.  Workers are able to contribute to the growth of their national economies and share in the benefits of the global economy.     

Our Strategy

We work at national, regional and multilateral levels to advance "decent work" – productive employment with protection of fundamental rights at work, social protection and a voice for workers as critical to achieve sustainable development.

To that end, we contribute to policy discussions at the International Labor Organization, the World Bank and regional multilateral development banks, and other international organizations on these topics. We provide expert advice on employment- and labor-related issues in U.S. government inter-agency policy discussions on key development issues, such as those underway on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

We provide expert input into U.S. government inter-agency policymaking to establish and implement labor safeguards for development finance institutions to ensure that workers are protected in project and program lending. We also contributed to negotiating decent work-related outcomes from the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development.


Objectives

  • Action by countries and the international community to promote employment with respect for workers' rights, and social protection for those in need.
  • Ensure that development finance improves livelihoods by protecting workers' fundamental rights and providing decent working conditions.   
  • Facilitate exchange of best practices on advancing inclusive economic growth.
  • Workers around the world share in the benefits of the global economy. 

Further Resources