BRICS Statement on "Formalization of the informal Economy: Area of Critical Importance" Follow-up to the resolution concerning efforts to facilitate the transition from the informal to the formal economy, November 4th 2015
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the BRICS States - Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa.
2. We welcome the ILO's intensive work aimed at the formalization of informal economy, which is of critical importance for our countries. We note with appreciation the report on "Formalization of the informal Economy: Area of Critical Importance" prepared by the Secretariat that provides an overview of the formalization strategy, highlights main areas to focus on, the progress made and the results still to be achieved. In particular, we welcome a special emphasis made on such important elements as inclusion of business-enhancing measures within relevant national strategies, strengthening of the capacities of social partners, perfecting of legislation, adaptation of diverse strategies according to national circumstances.
3. We consider the Recommendation on Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy (No. 204) adopted by the 104thInternational Labor Conference in June, 2015 to be an important instrument providing guidance to States on how to help workers and economic units to formalize their activity, as one of the means for promoting decent work and achieving inclusive development.
4. Our countries share principle concerns regarding the negative impact of informality on economic growth, social development and wellbeing, as well as the proposed vision and stages of addressing labor market formalization. In light of this we thank the Secretariat for mentioning in its report positive national experience and achievements of such BRICS States as India and South Africa in formalizing employment. It should be noted that other countries of our Group have also developed relevant policies and strategies, which we are ready to share with the ILO and its constituents, recognizing the need for a multilateral and tripartite response with the leading role of the ILO.
5. In their seventh Summit Declaration adopted in July, 2015 in Ufa, the Leaders of BRICS countries expressed their satisfaction with the progress achieved in coordination of efforts with regard to human resources and employment, social welfare and security, as well as social integration policy. The interaction of our countries on formalization of labor markets and its links with economic growth and social development is expected to be further discussed at the first meeting of BRICS Ministers of Labor and Employment to be held in Russia on January 25-26, 2016.
6. As suggested by the ILO Recommendation No. 204, the BRICS countries pursue a threefold objective in their policies addressing informality; (1) to facilitate the transition of workers and economic units from the informal to formal economy, while respecting workers' fundamental rights and ensuring opportunities for income security, livelihoods and entrepreneurship; (2) to promote the creation, preservation and sustainability of enterprises and decent jobs in the formal economy and the coherence of macroeconomic, employment, social protection and other social policies; and (3) to prevent the informalization of formal economy jobs.
7. While acknowledging the efforts made to date, including those aimed at formalization of micro- and small enterprises, the formalization of employment in the domestic work sector, and for the non-standard forms of employment, extension of social security coverage, strengthening compliance with the law, extending membership and services of employers' and workers' organizations to workers and employers in the informal economy, we are determined to put greater emphasis on formalization of our labor markets. We will continue to build up statistical services capacities in measuring informality and, in this regard, we look forward to a better coordination of the ILO efforts with those at a national level. It is essential to ensure that the data collection and processing carried out by the ILO are correlated with the relevant activities and methodologies of governments and national statistical institutions.
8. At their meeting in January next year the BRICS Ministers are going to discuss the initiative of the Russian Chairmanship to develop a well-balanced medium-term Strategy of Labor Markets Formalization based on best practices and the results of international cooperation and coordination of efforts. We look forward to ILO's involvement in the discussion and preparation of this important strategic document.
9. The BRICS countries will consider favourably the conclusions and proposals contained in the report of the Secretariat, as well as the proposed follow- up strategy to the relevant ILC Resolution. We are ready to cooperate with the ILO in implementing this important initiative while developing BRICS cooperation in the labor and employment sphere.