The first High-Level Intergovernmental Consultations Brazil-Germany were held in Brasília from 19 to 20 August 2015. State Secretary Jörg Asmussen represented the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs at the Consultations and also conducted bilateral talks with Brazilian Minister of Labor and Employment Manoel Dias and Minister of Social Security Carlos Eduardo Gabas.
The two Sides expressed their willingness to cooperate intensively in both the bilateral and multilateral areas in order to promote decent work worldwide, and to collaborate on central issues concerning the future of work. They reached concrete agreements at the Consultations that will provide an important basis of cooperation on key issues of labour and social policies in 2016 and 2017.
State Secretary Asmussen and Minister Dias agreed to jointly promote global implementation of fundamental labour, social, and environmental standards, and to intensify their collaboration in the framework of the G20 and in the ILO's Governing Body. Decent working conditions, it was stated, were an indispensable part of labour-market and employment policy. This also included labour and social standards in global supply chains.
In view of the importance of implementing an effective minimum wage policy, particularly with an eye to setting the adjustment criteria, both Sides stated the need for deepening their exchange on this topic. For this purpose, it was agreed to conduct a joint workshop in Brazil in 2016.
The future of work in the digital age was another keenly discussed topic. State Secretary Asmussen invited the Brazilian Side to Germany to inform themselves in greater detail about the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs' "Work 4.0" initiative.
With Minister Gabas, State Secretary Asmussen had a comprehensive discussion on "demographic change, retirement provisions, and associated financing questions." Both Sides promised to continue the exchange on this topic.
The second major topic was the inclusion of persons with disabilities on the labour market. Decent work, it was agreed, also comprised the demand to open labour markets for people whose participation in working life was rendered difficult by illness or permanent disability. Above all, they stated, the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which provided a new definition of this group of persons' right to participate, was as an important area of future cooperation.
The High-Level Intergovernmental Consultations provided a valuable occasion for strengthening the joint bilateral dialogue and the cooperation in multilateral processes in the context of the current debate on growth, employment, and inequality.