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ILO Governing Body wraps up its 334th session

The October-November 2018 session of the ILO Governing Body ended on 8 November. ILO News discussed the highlights with Juan Llobera, Clerk of the Governing Body.

Comment | 10 November 2018
ILO News: A major development for this busy session was the discussion on Guatemala. Can you tell us about the outcome?
The complaint was made by delegates to the 101st Session (2012) of the International Labour Conference under article 26 of the ILO Constitution, and concerned the application in Guatemala of the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention 1948 (No 87).

After six years of close monitoring of the situation in the country, the Governing Body decided by a majority vote to close the procedure. Among its conclusions, the executive body firmly called on the Government, the Guatemalan social partners and other relevant public authorities to fully implement the agreed roadmap to ensure full respect for freedom of association in the country.

ILO News: This 334th session of the Governing Body also discussed the proposed strategy to address decent work deficits in the tobacco sector?
The Governing Body discussed the ILO’s engagement with the tobacco sector for the fourth time.

The scope of the discussion was broadened to include a proposed integrated strategy to address decent work deficits in the tobacco sector, by focusing on policy, social dialogue and assisting tobacco-growing communities in the transition to alternative livelihoods, including the funding of such a strategy.

In its decision, the Governing Body welcomed the integrated strategy 2019–22 and directed the Director General:
  • to organize a tripartite meeting as a matter of urgency, to promote an exchange of views on the further development and the implementation of the strategy, with among others the participation of the directly affected countries and social partners in the tobacco sector;
  • to present an update on the costed and time bound integrated strategy to the Governing Body in November 2019;
  • to continue the ongoing project-based efforts to eliminate child labour using Regular Budget Supplementary Account funds and other public funds in the short term;
  • to continue efforts to mobilize various sustainable sources of funding from the public and private sector with appropriate safeguards.
ILO News: Governing Body members also continued to discuss the UN reform. What did they decide?
As a specialized agency of the UN, the ILO is actively and substantively engaged in the United Nations reform process and is committed to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The ILO tripartite membership had another opportunity to comment on the reform proposals and share their views on the opportunities and challenges of the UN reform for the Organization.

It provided guidance to the Office on this major issue for the future of the ILO. It especially welcomed the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the UN reform, adopted on 31 May 2018 and the implications for the work of the ILO. It also requested the Director-General to take leadership in ensuring tripartism and the specific role of the social partners in the implementation of the resolution and related inter-agency coordination mechanisms.

ILO News: Can you tell us briefly about the other points on the agenda?
Governing Body members took note of the reports that were presented on the Enhanced programme of development cooperation for the occupied Arab territories and on the Technical cooperation programme agreed between the Government of Qatar and the ILO.

They reviewed progress on the implementation of the ILO’s seven Centenary Initiatives and discussed the agenda of the ILO’s centenary International Labour Conference. The Governing Body also approved arrangements for the next African Regional Meeting to be held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on December 3 to 6, 2019.

Regarding the Standards Initiative, several measures were approved after discussing the workplan for strengthening the ILO supervisory system of international labour standards.

With the adoption of a set of rules for technical meetings and meetings of experts, the Governing Body also completed the review of the Organization’s governance, initiated in 2011.

Members also had a timely discussion on a strategy for indigenous peoples’ rights for inclusive and sustainable development.

They received an update on the ILO headquarters building renovation project, which is running smoothly and took a decision on this matter. The executive body also addressed an issue which is particularly relevant for ILO and UN staff - the review of the post adjustment system established by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC).

Finally, the Governing Body adopted the 387th report of the Committee on Freedom of Association which addresses violations of freedom of association affecting the social partners around the globe.