UNITED NATIONS - To prevent a worst-case scenario of some 200 million workers pushed into extreme poverty, mostly in developing countries, the U.N. labour agency Wednesday called on Governments to prioritize productive investment, decent work and social protection in their responses to the global financial crisis. "The Decent Work Agenda is an appropriate policy framework to confront the crisis," said Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Office (ILO), upon the release of the agency's annual Global Employment Trends (GET) report. ILO's prioritization of employment in economic planning in its Decent Work Agenda was key, Mr. Somavia said. "We find many elements of this Agenda in current measures to promote job creation, deepening and expanding social protection and more use of social dialogue," he added. He called on the G-20 group of large economies, in their upcoming 2 April meeting in London, to urgently agree on priority measures on employment and social protections for workers and to include labour considerations in their planning alongside financial issues. "There is a powerful message that tripartite dialogue with employers and workers organizations should play a central role in addressing the economic crisis and in developing policy responses," Mr. Somavia said. Based on new developments in the labour market and depending on the timeliness and effectiveness of recovery efforts, the GET report says global unemployment in 2009 could increase over 2007 by a range of 18 million to 30 million workers, and more than 50 million " representing a 7.1 global rate " if the situation continues to deteriorate. In that last scenario some 200 million workers, mostly in developing economies, could be pushed into extreme poverty, the report says. The number of working poor " people who gain under two dollars per person per day " could rise to 1.4 billion, or 45 per cent of all the world's employed, it warns. "The ILO message is realistic, not alarmist. We are now facing a global jobs crisis. Many governments are aware and acting, but more decisive and coordinated international action is needed to avert a global social recession," Director-General Somavia said. A number of policy measures recommended by ILO were being applied by many Governments, the report notes, including wider coverage of unemployment benefits and insurance schemes, re-training of redundant workers and pension protections. Public investment in infrastructure, housing and green jobs and support to small and medium enterprises were among other ILO recommendations being applied, the report says. An ILO press release on the report maintains that the effects of the downturn could be minimized if a large number of countries put in place such policies, and other worker-oriented initiatives, using their own accumulated reserves, emergency loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and stronger aid mechanisms.