The economic and labour crisis created by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic could increase global unemployment by almost 25 million, according to a new assessment by the International Labour Organization (ILO). However, if we see an internationally coordinated policy response, as happened in the global financial crisis of 2008/9, then the impact on global unemployment could be significantly lower. The first edition of the monitor provides a preliminary assessment and calls for urgent, large-scale and coordinated measures across three pillars: protecting workers in the workplace, stimulating the economy and employment, and supporting jobs and incomes. These measures include extending social protection, supporting employment retention (i.e. short-time work, paid leave, other subsidies), and financial and tax relief, including for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. It also proposes fiscal and monetary policy measures, and lending and financial support for specific economic sectors. Subsequent editions released on an approximately monthly basis provide updated estimates and analysis.