I speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. We thank the Office for the document GB.340/INS/7. The EU supports the focus of the ILO on gender equality. The EU also pursues gender equality in its policies, as evidenced in the Council Conclusions on Gender-Equal Economies in the EU: The Way Forward of December last year.
The EU and its MS actively promoted clear and ambitious language on Gender Equality in the Centenary Declaration, with regular evaluation of progress made and ensuring equal opportunities, equal participation and equal treatment, including equal remuneration for women and men for work of equal value. Promoting gender equality and inclusive labour markets is a precondition for ensuring decent work for all and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 5 on gender equality and empowering all women and girls.
The EU also supports a number of ILO projects that promote gender equality, including realizing women migrant workers' rights and opportunities in the ASEAN region; economic empowerment of women at work through responsible business conduct; or the Win-Win: Gender Equality Means Good Business project.
ILO research shows that the progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the world of work has been very slow globally, and has stalled or even been eroded in a number of areas. The Covid-19 pandemic has made this situation even worse.
We welcome the progress identified in the mid-term report as many quantitative targets have been reached or even exceeded. We believe that the Action Plan complements existing initiatives and contributes to further institutionalization. It also identifies remaining areas for improvement and provides internal mechanisms to address these areas. It is commendable that the ILO conducts independent evaluations of the implementation of its own gender policy and its operationalization through its action plan. Internal accountability has been reinforced as a result of the Action Plan.
Despite all of this, the mid-term report reveals a rather sobering picture and presents a number of challenges, especially when considered in the context of COVID 19. For example in the Europe and Central Asia Region, only 6% of project and programme proposals have met the set level of the crosscutting policy driver on gender equality and non-discrimination. Similar deficits also occurred in other regions.
With regard to oversight and accountability, we note that most of the targets were not met and therefore strongly encourage the ILO to increase its efforts to address this.
Only 25 % of field office reports identified gender-related risks and mitigating actions taken. Regrettably, no audit has yet been designed on internal sexual harassment control and response procedures. Up-to-date sex-segregated statistics in accordance with the targets should also be provided in a timely manner. Gender equality and non-discrimination in country programmes should be enhanced in terms of both human and financial resources.
The ILO’s Policy on Gender Equality and Mainstreaming identifies gender parity, including in senior posts, as a priority area. We welcome the positive development in the women’s overall share of regular budget professional positions. However, the situation at higher grades has deteriorated since 2010 which is a concerning development. It is also apparent that we all have further work to do with respect to women delegates and advisers accredited and registered in the International Labour Conference and in regional meetings.
Decent work for all remains a strong priority for all parties. We look forward to the ILO report at the next ILC on Inequalities and the World of Work, including analyses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to equality and non-discrimination at work. We welcome the views of the Office as well as other Governments, Employers and Workers.
With regards to the decision point, we need a little more time to coordinate also within IMEC, as Johanna mentioned as IMEC burdensharer, on a potential amendment of the decision point according to our statements.