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ILO’s 17th APRM

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ILO’s 17th APRM

Key Highlights of the Singapore Statement

International Labour Organization (ILO), which is the United Nations specialized agency dealing with work-related issues, held its 17th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting in Singapore from 6-9 December 2022. Singapore President Halimah Yacob and ILO Director General, Gilbert Houngbo, opened the meeting which was attended by 388 delegates – including 22 ministers and vice-ministers – representing governments and workers’ and employers’ organizations from 35 countries in Asia, the Pacific and the Arab region. Pakistan delegation at the event was headed by the Secretary Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis & Human Resource Development (OP&HRD). The participants of the meetings discussed at length the issues that are affecting employment and the world of work in Asia, the Pacific and Arab States.

On the final day of the meeting, the participants agreed to bolster efforts to achieve social justice and decent work for all. They also endorsed the Singapore Statement which ILO’s DG welcomed as, “a shared vision of the region’s priorities for national action among the ILO constituents and with ILO support in the coming years.”

  1. Social dialogue
  • Social dialogue is key to building trust, and resilient labour market institutions.
  • It is essential to have a sustained recovery and inclusive and sustainable growth, and needs to be strengthened in the regions.

Labour protection

  • It urged the governments to ensure labour protection for all through the promotion of freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining throughout the regions.
  • It will be including for workers in vulnerable situations and workers in the informal economy, as enabling rights for decent work.

Closing gender gaps

  • The Statement called for closing gender gaps in the world of work through measures that increase women’s labour force participation, promote equal pay for work of equal value, balance work, and responsibilities, and promote women’s leadership.

Inclusive programs and policies

  • It suggested that governments must develop and implement inclusive labour market programs and policies that support life transitions and demographic shifts.

Informal to the formal economy

  • Pursue collective and determined efforts to promote and accelerate a smooth and sustained transition from the informal to formal economy.

Labour migration

  • The Statement also urged the governments to strengthen governance frameworks and respect for freedom of association to protect the rights of migrant workers, including improved accommodation, protection of wages and extension of social protection and, where appropriate, through enhanced bilateral labour migration agreements between both sending and receiving countries.
  • Tripartite mechanisms should help promote cooperation between constituents to mitigate negative impacts and harness opportunities that arise from labour migration.

Protection in situations of crisis

  • It wanted the governments to facilitate the transition to peace, security and decent work in situations of crisis.

The Singapore Statement has been adopted at a time that the region is gradually recovering from the pandemic and its unprecedented social and economic impact, which cost lives and devastated businesses and jobs. The pandemic also exposed the need for more social protection – especially for those in the informal sector. And while there are signs of recovery, the pace is uneven across the region.

The writer is a CSS aspirant.

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