ILO opens 10th Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labour in Jamaica – Realizing Decent Work under the 2030 Agenda

The Meeting, held every two years, provides participants the opportunity to discuss labour issues that are of mutual concern to the Caribbean region.

News | 23 February 2017
Kingston (ILO News) - The Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder, opened in Jamaica a meeting with Labour Ministers and government representatives of 17 countries of the Caribbean stressing the need to face the challenges of the world of work and lead the efforts to strengthen social dialogue. 

“We know there are challenges, we need to address them,” said Mr Ryder at the 10th ILO Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labour held in Kingston, 23-24 February 2017.

Mr Ryder outlined how this meeting will allow Ministers and participants to address social dialogue and partnership to put decent work at the heart of national and regional policy; look at the status of non-standard form of employment; examine options for labour legislation harmonization; share experiences on protecting the most vulnerable through the Regional Initiative on Child Labour; use skills formation for productivity improvements; and advance formalization of the economy; all very important for the region.

He also reminded the Ministers’ meeting that one defining challenge in the region relates to youth unemployment with one out of four young women and men not finding a job opportunity.

“The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda with decent work at the heart of it provides the vehicle to tackle our challenges,” said the ILO Director General.

Honourable Shahine Robinson, MP, Minister of Labour and Social Security of Jamaica delivered welcome and opening remarks at the Meeting. She called for a more inclusive sustainable growth process with more and better jobs. Truly sustainable strategies for Small Island Development States remained to be found.

She recognized that Goal 8 of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable, economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, was “extraordinarily relevant for the region”. Being inspired by the Future of Work discussion held in Kingston yesterday, it was now the task of this Meeting to identify the practical strategies to realize decent work for all by 2030.

Greetings were delivered by Ms Myrna Bernard, Director, Human Development Directorate of Human and social Development, CARICOM. She stated that the region had made many advances, however it had experienced sluggish growth as changed market conditions had resulted in increased competition and found the region unprepared. “The region has also seen an upsurge in negative social outcomes and in particular, high rates of youth unemployment, with females being at a greater disadvantage, and also increasing youth crime and violence.”

In response she said, CARICOM had adopted its first Strategic Plan 2015 – 2019 aiming to repositioning the Community. “This plan is premised on a Resilience Model for socio-economic progress, focusing in the main, on the development of social, economic, environmental and technological resilience.”

The 10th Meeting of Caribbean Ministers of Labour, organized by the ILO in collaboration with the government of Jamaica, ends on Friday 24 February. Mr Ryder called on participants to be disciplined in working together, not only to adopt conclusions, but more so to stand by them for implementation.

The Director-General also attended Wednesday the Caribbean Future of Work Forum in Kingston, and he had a meeting with The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, ON, MP, Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Mr Ryder was accompanied by Mr Jose Manuel Salazar, ILO Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Ms Claudia Coenjaerts, Director for the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean, and Mr Christian Ramos; ILO Senior Advisor to the DG. The ILO delegation further met with representatives of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation and the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions.

It is the first time an ILO Director–General officially visits the Republic of Jamaica.