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319th session of the Governing Body

ILO Governing Body reviews ILO activities in Europe and Central Asia

The Organization’s executive body discusses ways to address new challenges and realities in Europe and Central Asia.

Press release | 30 October 2013
GENEVA – Representatives of the International Labour Organization’s Governing Body met on 29 October to review ILO responses to the crisis in Europe, as a follow-up to the Declaration adopted last April in Oslo, Norway, by the 9th ILO European Regional Meeting.

Government, employer and worker delegates agreed that the Oslo Declaration “Restoring confidence in jobs and growth” was a good basis to guide the ILO’s activities in the coming years.

“The Oslo Declaration has unanimously been recognized as being a breakthrough, in terms of both content and form. It is short, concise, concrete and actionable. It calls for sustainable approaches to promote jobs, growth and social justice,” Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard, ILO Regional Director a.i. for Europe and Central Asia said in her introductory statement.

The Declaration calls for improving job quality and youth employment, fostering responsible social dialogue, and building business confidence and enterprise sustainability, especially of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while respecting fundamental rights and principles and promoting adequate and sustainable social protection systems.

It also promotes more coherence between the ILO and other international, regional and sub-regional organizations.

The Declaration also calls for an “exceptional response” from the ILO to help stem the crisis in Europe, including high-quality research, analysis, advice and assistance to members, exchange of experience, and capacity building in the whole region.

During the Governing Body discussion, a number of representatives referred to the need for specific ILO proposals to support the governments and the social partners in Cyprus, Greece and Portugal. The ILO has also launched a series of studies on challenges in some crisis hit countries in the Eurozone that will look for practical approaches to overcome the negative economic, social and political effects of the crisis.

At the same time, most participants insisted on the need for keeping a fair balance among the European sub-regions with a view to pursuing and strengthening the ILO’s activities in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Central Asia.

The ILO action should primarily be driven by Constituents’ actual needs and focus on areas where the ILO has a real added value and greatest impact.

The Governing Body requested the ILO Director-General to transmit the Oslo Declaration to the governments and social partners of all 51 member States of the European and Central Asian region, as well as to the international organizations concerned. He was also asked to take the Oslo Declaration into consideration when implementing current and future ILO programmes. The ILO has been requested to report on progress to the Governing Body at its November 2014 session.