[Excerpt] The modest results for 2003, with a slight economic upswing, confirm our concern for promoting farther-reaching development policies since the beginning of the 1990s. These policies have been characterized by their lack of social dimension. During the past decade, marked by shorter and more volatile GDP growth cycles and unstable capital and investment flows from abroad, the most vulnerable groups rapidly suffered the consequences of an economic slowdown or recession but were slow to recover during periods of growth, if they managed to do so at all.
In the opinion of the ILO, the real social emergency resulting from the current style of development in the region has to be addressed urgently. Under these conditions, countries must be encouraged to adopt a comprehensive set of economic and social policies with sustainable macroeconomics capable of absorbing the effects of the shocks, and a labour market in which more and better jobs are created. Effectively implementing these policies requires ongoing social dialogue among the government, employers and workers that will permit more equal risk-sharing and will lend credibility to the policies. It is an effort to create good quality jobs and to expand social protection, which will contribute to reducing inequality and poverty.