Decent Work Agenda of ILO


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

                             Decent Work Agenda of ILO
 
“The primary goal of the ILO today is to promote opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity."
 
Work is one of the few experiences common to most of humanity. It not only plays an obvious and crucial role in the well-being of workers and their families but paves the way to the broader social and economic development of individuals, their communities and societies.

But progress depends not just on enough work being available but on its quality too. Work that traps people in bondage or poverty (rather than releasing them from it), or exposes them to hazards, discrimination or insecurity, does not allow individuals – or the economies they are part of - to advance and fulfil their potential.

Decent work therefore sums up the aspirations all people have for their working lives; for work that is productive, delivers a fair income with security and social protection, safeguards basic rights, offers equality of opportunity and treatment, prospects for personal development and the chance for recognition and to have your voice heard. Decent work is also central to efforts to reduce poverty and is a path to achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. Ultimately decent work underpins peace and security in communities and societies.

“Decent Work for All” is therefore the principle that guides the ILO’s work. To promote this goal the ILO’s Asia Pacific members have committed themselves to an Asian Decent Work Decade (2006-2015), and in doing so reaffirmed their commitment to achieving full, productive and decent employment for all their people by 2015.

To help realize the aims of the Decade five regional priority areas have been selected:




  1. Competitiveness, productivity and jobs – Promoting sustainable enterprises in Asia and the Pacific ;


  2. Labour market governance in Asia and the Pacific ;


  3. The youth employment challenge in Asia and the Pacific ;


  4. Protecting migrant workers ; and


  5. Local development for decent work .


These priorities compliment each member country’s individual goals, which are outlined in their National Decent Work Country Programmes.
 
1. Competitiveness, productivity and jobs – Promoting sustainable enterprises in Asia and the Pacific
 
 
Decent work and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development
The promotion of sustainable productivity growth, competitiveness and job creation is a key priority for realizing decent work and reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific. Many countries have made considerable progress towards achieving this goal. Increased labour productivity in Asia has played a leading role in the region’s tremendous growth performance and has helped to increase competitiveness and reduce poverty.
However, accelerating productivity growth in Asia and the Pacific will be more urgent in the coming 10 to 20 years. To compensate for demographic and labour force trends, the region will need faster labour productivity growth if it wants to maintain its recent GDP growth rates.
A key requirement for accelerating productivity growth in Asia and the Pacific is an environment that allows enterprises to improve productivity and remain competitive. Policies, institutions and regulations that provide such an environment for enterprises can make a substantial contribution to employment creation.
Another key factor for productivity growth has become the availability of skilled workers and employees and the reform of national training policies and systems. Progressive workplace practices based on good working conditions, continuous workplace learning, good labour-management relations and respect for workers’ rights, are equally important for raising productivity and promoting decent work.
However, policies to enhance productivity and competitiveness need to recognize Asia’s diversity and they need to be customized in line with countries’ level of development, available resources and institutional capacity. Thus, achieving the acceleration of productive growth in Asia must require a country-specific mix of policies aimed at:




  • Creating an environment conducive to sustainable enterprises


  • Building human capital in basic education, as well as in technical and core skills


  • Encouraging the application of decent and productive workplace practices


  • Addressing sector-specific challenges through value chain and cluster upgrading


  • Promoting environmental friendly technology and ways of doing businesses.


Addressing this challenge, the ILO’s social partners in Asia increasingly include the need for sustained productivity improvements in the Decent Work Country Programmes.
As part of the ADWD resource kit, please download the booklet “Competitiveness, productivity and jobs – The promotion of sustainable enterprises in Asia and the Pacific”. The booklet serves as a gateway into ILO expertise and knowledge within this regional priority area. It briefly discusses key challenges for the Asian region, and - in the electronic version – links directly to key resources, good practices and related projects.
 
2. Labour market governance in Asia and the Pacific
 
Labour market governance refers to the totality of policies, norms, laws, regulations, institutions, machinery and processes that influence the demand and supply of labour. Improving labour market governance implies reviewing the various elements of labour market governance to ensure that the outcomes they produce are efficient, fair and equitable.
There are four key aspects of the ILO’s work in this priority area:




  • Labour market reforms


  • Industrial relations


  • Labour administration


  • Social dialogue


It is important to note that labour market governance is not just about the government or the state. The respective capacities and relations between those who demand labour (employers) and those who supply labour (workers) must be considered as integral aspects of labour market governance. Thus, a range of factors – including the regulatory framework, efficacy of the labour administration system, operation of various bipartite and tripartite institutions, the capacity and role of representative employers’ and workers’ organizations and current industrial relations norms and practices – all combine significantly to influence the dynamics of the labour market.
As part of the ADWD resource kit, please download the booklet “Labour Market Governance in Asia and the Pacific”. The booklet serves as a gateway into ILO expertise and knowledge within this regional priority area. It briefly discusses key challenges for the Asian region, and - in the electronic version – links directly to key resources, good practices and related projects.
 
3. The youth employment challenge in Asia and the Pacific
 
At the 14th Asian Regional Meeting, ILO constituents concluded that promoting decent work opportunities and access to entrepreneurship for young women and men, especially through better school-to-work transition, is crucial for realizing the Asian Decent Work Decade.
Young people are an incredible source of energy and creativity. Still, although only one in five workers are between the ages of 15 and 24, this group accounts for almost half the region's jobless.
While young people do face certain disadvantages in the labour market, for many of the young working poor, unemployment is an unaffordable luxury. They work hard, for long hours in poor conditions, on short-term and precarious contracts with not much prospects for the future. There is a cruel irony in the co-existence of child labour and youth unemployment: demand for certain types of labour that is met by children who should not be working, there is also a supply of labour from young people that goes unutilised. The youth employment challenge also linked to the spread of HIV/AIDs and cross-border and rural to urban migration placing enormous pressure on urban labour markets to find jobs for youth
Greater access to decent employment means giving young people a chance to work themselves and their families out of poverty. Achieving decent work early in their working life would help avoid a vicious cycle of unemployment or underemployment, poor working conditions and social exclusion. Unless the causes and implications of the youth employment challenge are tackled, progress towards better economic and political governance in the region will remain uncertain.
As in other parts of the world, our work on youth employment is driven by a Life cycle perspective and the promotion of inter-generational solidarity in the achievement of Decent Work for all: efforts to promote youth employment cannot be divorced from efforts to improve employment prospects for adults and, in many countries, combat child labour.
As part of the ADWD resource kit, please download the booklet “The Youth Employment Challenge in Asia and the Pacific”. The booklet serves as a gateway into ILO expertise and knowledge within this regional priority area. It briefly discusses key challenges for the Asian region, and - in the electronic version – links directly to key resources, good practices and related projects.
 
4. Protecting migrant workers
Across the Asia-Pacific region, labour migration has brought many benefits to countries of origin and destination, and especially to migrants themselves who generally earn far more than they could at home. But migration also brings risks — in particular exposing workers to exploitation or discrimination. The regional priority area “Protecting Migrant Workers in Asia and the Pacific” shows how the ILO can help countries of the region to manage those risks more effectively.
For any country, the best long-run solution to unemployment and poverty is sustained national economic growth — which will generate rewarding jobs at home so that fewer people will need to look for work abroad. Nevertheless, for the foreseeable future many countries in Asia and the Pacific will rely on the opportunities afforded by international migration — which can help reduce levels of unemployment while also generating significant amounts of foreign exchange through remittances. As a result, a number of Asian countries have made efforts to promote overseas employment. At the same time, destination countries have been recruiting workers for particular employment niches that cannot be filled by national workforces.
The ILO is the only international body with a mandate for international labour migration. Our chief function is to set international standards and arrive at other forms of agreement. The most recent of these is the Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration – which comprises a set of principles and best practices that have been formally vetted by our constituents.
The ILO also offers a wealth of information on international migration, as well as technical assistance to countries on many different issues, from training to social security. As an international organization, ILO is also able to foster networking opportunities between governments, employers organizations, trade unions and organizations of migrant workers.
As part of the ADWD resource kit, please download the booklet “Protecting Migrant Workers – Governance of Labour Migration in Asia and the Pacific”. The booklet serves as a gateway into ILO expertise and knowledge within this regional priority area. It briefly discusses key migration issues in Asia and the Pacific, and - in the electronic version – links directly to key resources, tools and related projects.
 
5. Local development for decent work
Globalization presents new opportunities for many in Asia and the Pacific, but it also brings new challenges for rural and urban communities, cities and regions. The impressive growth in recent years has led to improved quality of life and work; however, one billion people in Asia still suffer from lack of access to basic social and economic services, lack of employment opportunities and poor working conditions. Especially in the informal economy, women, young people, people living with disabilities, those affected by HIV/AIDS and not least indigenous peoples often struggle to earn their livelihoods.
The ILO’s work on Local Development for Decent Work supports the improvement of livelihoods, creation of decent jobs and the development of sustainable local economies.
 
The approach is guided by some core principles:
- Local skills, assets and resources as the basis for development
- Ownership and participation of communities and local government institutions in the design and implementation of local development initiatives
- Partnerships between the public and the private sector
- Enabling informal micro and small enterprises and their workers to enter the formal economy
- Preventing child labour, trafficking, forced and bonded labour
- Improving access to financial services such as credit, savings, micro leasing and insurance
- Preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS
- Strengthening dialogue and collaboration between policy makers, employers’ and workers’ associations
 
The ILO assists member states and social partners in developing and implementing local development for decent work strategies. Means of action include capacity building and training, technical cooperation, research, and knowledge sharing. Keeping in mind that a sustainable local development approach must be locally owned and managed, the ILO primarily acts as a facilitator by strengthening local institutions and building capacity of local stakeholders and partners.
As part of the ADWD resource kit, please download the booklet “Local Development for Decent Work”. The booklet serves as a gateway into ILO expertise and knowledge within this regional priority area. It briefly discusses key aspects of the Local Development for Decent Work approach in Asia and the Pacific, and - in the electronic version – links directly to key resources, tools and related projects.
 
The 2030 Agenda embraces three dimensions of sustainability – economic, social and environmental. It has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that put people and planet at its centre, giving the international community a framework for tackling the many challenges confronting humanity, including those in the world of work.

The importance of decent work  in achieving sustainable development is highlighted by Goal 8  which aims to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”.
 
Goal #8: Decent work and economic growth
Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day. And in too many places, having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty. A continued lack of decent work opportunities, insufficient investments and under-consumption lead to an erosion of the basic social contract underlying democratic societies: that all must share in progress.
Putting job creation at the heart of economic policy-making and development plans, will not only generate decent work opportunities but also more robust, inclusive and poverty-reducing growth. It is a virtuous circle that is as good for the economy as it is for people and one that drives sustainable development.
 
Promoting jobs and enterprise, guaranteeing rights at work, extending social protection and promoting social dialogue are the four pillars of the ILO Decent Work Agenda with gender as a cross-cutting theme."
                                                Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General
 
 
                           The 2030 development agenda
 
Targets for Goal #8: Decent work and economic growth
 
8.1- Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 per cent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries
8.2- Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors
8.3- Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services
8.4- Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, with developed countries taking the lead
8.5- By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value
8.6- By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training
8.7- Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms
8.8- Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment
8.9- By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
8.10- Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all
8.a- Increase Aid for Trade support for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, including through the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries
8.b- By 2020, develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the Global Jobs Pact of the International Labour Organization
 
 




Saturday, 23rd Nov 2019, 08:27:50 AM

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