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Several countries have volunteered to implement the Global Jobs Pact designed by the United Nations labour agency last year to guide national and international policies to stimulate economic recovery, create jobs and protect working people and their families.

El Salvador and Argentina are the first two countries to seek the assistance of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in formulating socio-economic policies that put social issues at the core of strategies to help countries recover from the global financial crisis, Assane Diop, ILO Executive Director of Social Protection, told reporters in New York.

The Global Jobs Pact was adopted with the strong support of governments during last year's ILO Global Jobs Summit. It proposes a range of crisis-response measures that countries can adapt to their specific needs and situation.

Social protection measures must, however, be accompanied by investment in the real economy to create jobs, noted ILO.

“Unless we continue to invest in the real economy, we will not be in a position to create the number of jobs we need to face the problem of unemployment in the youth population,” Mr. Diop said.

Elaborating on the measures being taken to ensure that jobs were preserved and the most vulnerable cushioned from the economic crisis, Carlos Acevedo Flores, President of the Central Reserve Bank of El Salvador, said his country had developed both short-term and longer-term strategies that were consistent with the UN social protection initiative under the global jobs plan.

The strategies in El Salvador were developed after consultations with all sectors of the society, and have the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Mr. Diop said Brazil, India and South Africa had also expressed interest in implementing the Global Jobs Pact.

The Pact also calls for measures to retain people in employment, to sustain enterprises and to accelerate employment creation and jobs recovery combined with social protection systems, in particular for the most vulnerable, integrating gender concerns on all measures.

Governments are urged to consider options such as public infrastructure investment, special employment programmes, broadening of social protection and minimum wages.

The Pact calls upon donor countries and multilateral agencies to consider providing funding, including existing crisis resources for the implementation of the Pact's recommendations and policy options.

In remarks to a meeting held today at UN Headquarters, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that economies are still suffering from the financial, food and energy crises.

“Millions of people are jobless. Millions more have been pushed into extreme poverty,” he told the gathering of representatives of national economic and social councils, adding that there is much more work to do and that none of it can be done by any single actor, acting alone.

Accra / Ghana/ Africa /