13.06.2024 – President of the Republic, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, during the Closing Session of the Inaugural Forum of the Global Coalition for Social Justice within the scope of the 112th International Labor Conference, at the Palácio das Nações. Geneva, Switzerland.

This Thursday morning, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva spoke during the 112th International Labor Conference, organized by the ILO (International Labor Organization) in Geneva, Switzerland. Lula addressed debates that he has prioritized internationally, such as taxation of the super-rich and the destruction caused by wars. But the creation of an artificial intelligence (AI) project aimed at countries in the Global South is emerging as a Brazilian agenda, highlighting the importance of social justice and digital inclusion.

Lula tasked his Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Luciana Santos, with leading a working group to develop a strategic plan on AI. The initiative aims to establish a concrete policy on the topic for Brazil, with an action plan, objective measures and goals, for the government to propose a project that regulates the use of Artificial Intelligence in Brazil.

Lula began his speech expressing satisfaction at participating once again in the International Labor Conference, recalling his first intervention as head of state at a United Nations body, also at the ILO, in 2003. He emphasized the importance of joint action by governments, workers and employers in the search for solutions in times of adversity.

“The role of the ILO and its tripartite arrangement is even more relevant today than when it was created. Never, never has social justice been so crucial for humanity,” said Lula. “I return to the ILO with renewed hope in the joint action of governments, workers and employers to overcome adverse times,” she said.

Taxation of the super-rich

One of the central points of Lula’s speech was the defense of taxation of the super-rich and reforms in the global financial architecture. The president highlighted the growing disparity in global wealth distribution and the need for a more equitable approach.

“Brazil is promoting the proposal to tax the super-rich in the G-20 debates. Never before has the world had so many billionaires. We’re talking about 3,000 people who hold almost $15 trillion in wealth,” he declared. He highlighted that this concentration of wealth is enough to solve critical problems, such as climate change, if properly redistributed.

He also emphasized the need for fair representation in the main global governance bodies, criticizing the disproportion of power in international institutions.

Artificial intelligence and digital inclusion

Another important topic addressed by Lula was the need for an artificial intelligence project aimed at the Global South. He warned about the risk of AI reinforcing geopolitical, social and gender inequalities if its benefits are not distributed fairly.

“We need to look for the best experiences wherever they are so that we can put them into practice all over the world. The ILO has an obligation to work together with the UN and with the countries so that we can build an Artificial Intelligence project that is from the Global South, so that we can compete with the richest countries,” stated Lula.

He highlighted that a third of the world’s population is off the internet, with an even larger portion without significant access to connectivity, and that digital inclusion is essential for democratizing the benefits of AI.

Social justice and democracy

Lula also highlighted the importance of social justice, democracy and social participation in achieving labor rights. He criticized the concentration of power in the hands of a few and called for a more humane globalization.

“Social justice and the fight against inequalities are priorities for Brazil’s presidency of the G20, which will take place next November,” said Lula, inviting the ILO to contribute to the Group’s discussions.

The Brazilian president highlighted the complex challenges the world currently faces, including the uneven effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, new geopolitical tensions, energy and digital transitions, and climate change. He highlighted that 2.4 billion workers are directly affected by excessive heat, a reflection of the deterioration in the global quality of life.

Lula criticized the persistence of informality, precariousness and poverty in the world of work, pointing out that the number of people in informal jobs increased from 1.7 billion in 2005 to 2 billion today. It also highlighted gender inequality, with more than half a billion women out of the workforce due to the unequal division of family responsibilities.

Role of the ILO

The Brazilian president announced that he accepted the invitation of director general Gilbert Houngbo to co-chair the Global Coalition for Social Justice. He highlighted that this initiative will be fundamental to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially SDG 8 on “Decent Work for All”, which has not been advancing at the necessary speed.

Lula stated that the role of the ILO is more relevant today than ever, emphasizing the need to rescue the spirit of the Philadelphia Declaration, adopted 80 years ago. “Social justice has never been so crucial for humanity”, he highlighted, quoting Pope Francis: “there is no democracy with hunger, no development with poverty and no justice in inequality.”

Lula emphasized the importance of democracy for achieving labor rights, warning against political extremism that attacks minorities and promotes inequalities. “The denial of politics leaves a vacuum to be filled by adventurers who spread lies and hatred,” he warned.

Closing his speech, Lula reaffirmed his commitment to the ILO and the construction of a more just and humane world. Lula ended his speech with a renewed commitment to the world of work, highlighting policies to increase the minimum wage, combat child labor and contemporary forms of slavery, and equal pay between men and women.

He emphasized the need for peace, condemning the wars in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, and called on everyone present to work together for a better future. “The world needs peace and prosperity, not war,” he said, highlighting the devastating impact of these conflicts on workers.

“The world needs peace and prosperity. Let’s sow justice and reap the peace that the world so desperately needs”, concluded Lula, highlighting the importance of the ILO and the United Nations in building a better future for everyone.

“As long as I am president of Brazil, I want you to know that I feel like a member of the ILO, an ILO delegate, a participant in the construction of a fairer, more humane world, with more solidarity,” concluded Lula, receiving applause from the participants of the conference.

Source: vermelho.org.br

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