Delegation of the European Union to Burkina Faso

EU priorities at the 337th Governing Body meeting of the ILO

25/10/2019 - 16:25
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From 24 October until 7 November, the EU Delegation will participate in the 337th meeting of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization (ILO).


Following the 2019 International Labour Conference and the adoption of the ILO Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work, Member States as well as employers and workers' representatives are now looking forward to drawing up a concrete implementation plan to this crucial document during the Governing Body session.


The Declaration is an important achievement as it reaffirms the ILO's social mandate, and recognises the need for more coherence between economic, trade and social policies and for specific policies to address the unprecedented changes in the world of work. The resolution that accompanies the Declaration already gives some orientations as it includes three main aspects to be developed: work towards considering health and safety at work as a fundamental right, democratise the functioning and the composition of the governing bodies of the ILO, and promote greater coherence within the multilateral system.


The EU Delegation has been preparing the upcoming ILO Governing Body in close cooperation with its Member States. Statements on behalf of the EU will be delivered on matters such as the Programme of Work & Results Framework (2020-2021), elimination of violence and harassment in the workplace, decent work in global supply chains, cross‑border social dialogue, and the ILO’s contribution to promoting Agenda 2030 and the SDGs.


Key issues during this Governing Body are the recognition of the right to safe and healthy working conditions as a fundamental principle, as well as the promotion of skills development and lifelong learning. The EU and its Member States strongly believe that all workers have a right to decent work and fair working conditions and to the highest level of safety and health protection in the workplace. Thus, the EU will continue to be highly active on assuring that occupational safety and health remains high on the agenda of the ILO's Governing Body. Furthermore, in view of economical, societal and technological changes arising, the EU strongly supports efforts of the ILO to set out orientations for a human-centred approach directed to a just transition to an environmentally sustainable future for the world of work.


The Governing Body will also discuss issues such as addressing decent work deficits in the tobacco sector, and follow-up on country cases including Guatemala, Myanmar, and Qatar.


Background: The EU and ILO

ILO is the oldest United Nations Specialised Agency. The EU and ILO can rely on a longstanding partnership, set up as early as 1958 and intensified progressively on the foundation of shared values. Since, we have worked closely to promote social justice and decent work for all, in Europe and worldwide: Our strategic partnership dating back to 2004 was put in place to ensure the effective uptake of the Decent work for all Agenda at all levels. Moreover, the ILO is an important partner in the implementation of the external dimension of Europe 2020, the EU's multifaceted strategy for sustainable growth and jobs, as well as in international fora, such as G20. In achieving our common goals, the EU encourages and supports the worldwide ratification and implementation of the ILO Conventions on core labour standards.


In continuity of our successful and longstanding history, the EU and its Members States are committed to playing an active role within the ILO in the upcoming Governing Body session. In that context, the Council of the EU in a conclusion welcomed the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work on 24 October 2019 and called on the EU Member States to continue their efforts to ratify and apply the ILO Conventions and Protocols, and step up efforts to promote decent work. The EU welcomes the human-centred approach of the Declaration and highlights that the ILO has helped to mitigate social unrest and improve social justice. Conscious of the fact that many of the challenges related to the future of work are global, the EU also emphasizes the need for a global vision of the future of work. 

Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “I warmly welcome the Council conclusions on the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work. This sets a human-centred approach to the future of work that is fundamental for sustainable development both in Europe and in the world.” 

Guy Ryder, Director-General of the ILO, also welcomed the Council conclusions. “Since its creation the European Union has translated ILO principles and values into concrete action in a way and on a scale that is exemplary. These conclusions encourage all EU Member States to apply the goals and commitments of the Declaration, both nationally and through their efforts at the multilateral level. It is an important step to ensure that we continue to invest in people, strengthen the institutions of work and promote sustainable growth in ways that can create a future of work that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.”

The conclusions also refer to the United Nations General Assembly resolution welcoming the Declaration that was adopted in September 2019. 


All EU statements and interventions at the Governing Body of the ILO will be published on the EU Delegation's website. Updates will also be regularly posted on the EU Delegation's Twitter account @EU_UNGeneva.

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