Statement February 4, 2019

Joint Communique of the European Commission and the World Bank Group on 'The Future of Work'

Rapid digitization of our economies, globally diverging demographic trends, climate change and evolving globalization are having a profound impact on the nature of work worldwide. In particular, the impact of the ongoing digital revolution on labour market outcomes across the globe, requires enhanced attention, coordination and collaboration.

An effective and strong Partnership between the European Commission and World Bank Group   will be essential to address the new challenges. Building on our longstanding relationship and complementary roles, we are determined to further strengthen our strategic dialogue and coordinate approaches to tackle the issues related to the future of work. Job creation and inclusive economic growth for sustainable development are key objectives for both institutions in all the regions and countries where we operate. Creating decent jobs unleashes important positive externalities that are at the centre of economic transformation. This must be underpinned by urgently accelerating more and better investment in human capital. Tackling the issues related to the future of work is key for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) and to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The scope of World Bank Group –European Commission collaboration in the future of work is global and concerns, in first instance, three focus areas:

  • Boosting Skills: addressing the skills challenge raised by the changing nature of work. This includes equipping people with sound basic education and, beyond that to include digital skills. This should be done through policy development, promoting decent employment and employability tools and mechanisms and leveraging sustainable public and private funding, with due regard to so-called 21st century skills, such as digital literacy, critical thinking, and teamwork. 
  • Social Protection: enhancing, innovating and adapting social protection systems in the changing world of work to ensure adequate universal coverage and protection, including possibly through mechanisms that do not fully depend on having formal wage employment  
  • Creating more and better jobs: analysing the potential effects on jobs from the changing nature of work and the need for sustainability and climate action and pursue policies to maximise the creation of decent jobs by crowding in private investment in sectors with high job growth potential.

Implementation and Follow-up

The focus is initially on fostering a shared understanding of the issues and approaches to address common priorities in these areas, with a view to then cooperate and work together to maximise the social and economic impact of our interventions and a smart and sustainable growth towards achieving the SDGs.  Joint efforts also aim to address reduction of inequality in the broadest sense;  including a strong emphasis on promoting gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment.

We intend to focus particularly on:

  • Strengthening and expanding our dialogue, exchange of knowledge, best practices and lessons learnt. For example, through increased regional and in-country dialogues, meetings and by leveraging relevant partnership initiatives.
  • Jointly developing or sharing data, methodologies, and analysis to strengthen policy dialogue with partner countries and social partners. This should take place notably by documenting good international practices and translating them into country-specific investment opportunities.
  • Leveraging joint analytical work and findings to explore ways of operationalizing on the policy front. In that context, and as part of high-level coordination mechanisms, identify concrete opportunities for collaboration in selected countries of interest where the ‘Future of Work’ agenda is at the centre of each institution’s engagement, particularly as it relates to the Digital Economy agenda and employability. Joint work could also focus on region-wide initiatives, such as, the “Digital Moonshot for Africa” and the Africa – Europe Alliance on Sustainable Investment and Jobs.
  • Improving and promoting mobilisation, allocation, and delivery of financial resources in developing countries by working together in the development of innovative financial solutions (such as the EU External Investment Plan) and attracting private investments with maximum job creation impacts. This should take place by leveraging relevant multi-donor partnerships and high-level initiatives.
  • Maximising impact of fiscal policy on the future of work: adopt tax and expenditure policies that support well-functioning labour markets. For example, reducing tax incentives for labour market segmentation and increasing effectiveness of spending on social protection and education.
  • Deepening our partnership by encouraging more active collaboration through joint staff country-focused missions, staff trainings, staff exchanges, and other appropriate initiatives.

This collaboration will vary depending on the specific context, internal or external to the EU, and will be specifically tailored to regions/countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence, and on EU-defined policy recommendations (such as the European Pillar of Social Rights) within the EU.  Resulting collaboration will be developed further in the framework of existing annual bilateral World Bank Group – European Commission DGs’ meetings as needed. A flexible and tailored approach will remain the hallmark of an effective response.

The technical teams of both organisations will continue to meet regularly to ensure effective implementation of cooperation under this framework, including by enhancing coordination between our teams at the global, regional and country levels.

Through our joint effort we remain determined to bring a decisive contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, leaving no-one behind in the pursuit of a sustainable future.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) will be associated in the implementation of our common priorities.  


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