European Union External Action

ILO Governing Body 337th session - INS/4: Mid-term report on the implementation of the ILO programme of action on decent work in global supply chains

Geneva, 05/11/2019 - 18:00, UNIQUE ID: 191106_10
Statements on behalf of the EU

ILO Governing Body 337th session, Geneva, 28 October – 7 November 2019

Thank you, Chair.

I speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Montenegro[*] and Albania[*]  as well as the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this statement.

We support the IMEC statement.

The EU and its Member States thank the office for the mid-term report on promoting Decent Work in Global Supply Chains.

The EU and its Member States welcome that the Office coordinated and steered the supply- chain-related activities of the different technical fields toward a “One ILO” approach and the establishment of working groups focusing on particular sectors.

In terms of capacity building, we view positively the development of the “One ILO” programme that draws on the expertise and experience from the Better Work, SCORE and Vision Zero Fund programmes as well as the project to improve the knowledge base on safety and health in global supply chains. We would like to gain more insights on how they have enabled building a model for future development cooperation programmes that become replicable across different types and tiers of supply chains so that good practices from previous projects can efficiently be applied in new projects. In these regards, we appreciate the tripartite cooperation and further encourage effective cooperation with the private sector. Moreover, we also encourage cooperation and coordination with other development organizations and established multi-stakeholder-initiatives. Furthermore, aspects of impact measurement and the development of an appropriate methodology must be both considered while building new development programmes.

We deem important the references to the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy and the Integrated Strategy on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work as well as the development of the strategic compliance model to strengthen government effectiveness through proactive labour inspection in the context of Global Supply Chains. Implementation of the conclusions of the meetings of experts held on decent work in Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and on Cross Border Social Dialogue is also very relevant.

We very much welcome the ILO’s cooperation with various national and international initiatives and the growth of the Alliance 8.7 Action Group on Supply Chains in terms of its entities. We note with interest the new methods piloted for assessing the prevalence and risk factors related to child labour, forced labour and human trafficking linked to global supply chains as elaborated in the Alliance 8.7 Report. We specifically also welcome the collaborative approach of the ILO, the OECD, IOM and UNICEF in drawing up the report as an important step in strengthening international policy coordination and policy coherence on this issue. We would like to highlight the importance of the deliverables on partnerships, the need to promote synergies and avoid duplications in the international efforts for decent work in global supply chains.

Knowledge is the first step towards the programme of action. Its generation and dissemination among governments, social partners, and other stakeholders are of crucial importance. While we welcome for the ILO to play a key role in knowledge and statistical expertise generation on decent work along global supply chains, we think it is time to step up efforts in the other three areas of action as outlined in the programme of action on the decent work in global supply chains.

The Office could strengthen its capacity to offer guidance to enterprises on the application of labour standards within their supply chains and how to implement labour rights due diligence particularly in the area of wages, working time and OSH. For a demand-driven support, it is important for the Office to be aware of the different stakeholders' needs and capacities. In this light, information provided through local country offices the employers’ and workers’ groups and the Helpdesk for Business is needed. But also information from National Contact Points (NCPs) on what kind of expertise they would like to get from the ILO is important.   

We believe that the reference contained in the ILO Centenary Declaration (2019) regarding the role of the ILO in the context of domestic and global supply chains is an important step for the promotion of decent work along global supply chains. This is in particular the case in the EU, where the Council of the European Union has endorsed this reference in its conclusions on the ILO Centenary Declaration just last week.

In these conclusions, the European Union and its Member states take into account the important role of multinational enterprises, encourage and foster responsible as well as sustainable management in global supply chains, including through corporate social responsibility, due diligence with respect to human rights, and promotion of decent work and social and labour protection. It also refers to the communication of what is expected from enterprises with respect to responsible business conduct and consider whether specific measures are necessary if these expectations are not met in an appropriate way.

We look forward to a constructive technical meeting on Achieving Decent Work in Global Supply Chains in February that will result in forward looking conclusions that further stimulate awareness and commitment by the ILO and its constituents, as well as by multinational enterprises.

Chair, the ILO has an important role to play in the promotion of decent work along global supply chains. We welcome the work that has been done so far and we look forward to the further implementation of the programme of action workplan in the period leading up to October 2022.

Before we close, we would like to ask the Office to provide us with further information on the Independent Review of Global Supply Chain Development Cooperation Programmes and the insights gained from it. We would be interested to understand, how these have fed into the ILO‘s actions on Global Supply Chains and Decent Work.

Therefore, we support the point of decision.


[*] The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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