Committee on Employment and Social Policy
FIRST ITEM ON THE AGENDA
Follow-up on the World Summit for Social Development
(b) ILO country reviews: Modalities and progress report
1. At its meeting in March this year, the Committee asked the Office to conduct a number of country employment policy reviews (CEPRs) in selected countries on the basis of the modalities set out in the paper submitted to the Committee in March 1996.(1) In that paper it was stressed that the CEPRs need, first, to consider a core set of issues and policies. Not only are there common policy concerns which countries share, but such policies must reflect universal values, such as democratic decision-making, safeguarding the basic rights of workers and their families, and freedom of association and collective bargaining. Furthermore, the guidelines contained in relevant international labour Conventions must be respected. In addition, CEPRs should give major consideration not only to employment growth, but also to raising the quality of available employment. This includes issues relating to the work environment, the level and remuneration of employment, and ensuring fair access to acceptable work for all. Improving the employability of disadvantaged groups is a high priority.
2. While the structure of the individual reviews will naturally be guided by the dominant policy issues and concerns of the respective countries, the CEPRs require the consideration of a broad set of parameters in order to provide:
(i) coherence and uniformity vis-à-vis commitment 3 of the Copenhagen Declaration;
(ii) a comparative profiling of issues and associated policies;
(iii) a reflection of universal values.
These broad, common parameters include an examination of the extent to which employment objectives are articulated in relevant legislation and declared government policies, how these objectives are integrated in policy-making, and a review of emerging characteristics and issues, covering the current unemployment and poverty situation, labour markets and earnings. An analysis of policies pursuing full employment will examine the existing policy framework in relation to the promotion of employment and job quality. This analysis is expected to throw light on the core issues and considerations. The extent of social dialogue and democratic policy-making will also be reviewed, stressing the basic responsibilities of the State and the social partners to be equipped to cope with change.
3. As discussed in the Governing Body, implementation of the CEPRs will be based on the full consent of the countries in which the reviews are conducted. The basic prerequisites in the process are that the review exercises should have a firm political commitment, and be carried out in close collaboration and with the participation of the public authorities and the social partners. After the review exercise is complete, a national tripartite employment summit will be organized to give public exposure to the review and to spell out a set of recommendations for national action. A framework paper detailing the issues and modalities, as set out in the paper submitted in March 1996, has been prepared by the Office to offer guidelines in conducting the CEPRs.
4. As of September 1997 the state of progress in participating countries was as follows:
5. In Ukraine the CEPR is planned as a sequel to a national tripartite conference on employment policies scheduled for October 1997. It is expected that the tripartite conference will identify specific issues in the area of employment and labour policy, while the CEPR would subsequently develop a coherent strategy. Broad themes to be taken up initially at the conference include labour market policies and institutions, privatization, restructuring specific industries (including mining and defence), region-specific employment problems and labour market information. The ILO is supporting the preparation of the background papers. Discussions have been held with the Government, the Trades Union Federation and the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. In Brazil background studies for the CEPR are being completed. It is planned that the CEPR will concentrate on the relation of macroeconomic trends to job quality and review the institutional framework for the operation of the labour market. It will also focus on specific policies, including better mechanisms to distribute the benefits of growth and modernization. Policies in place to foster productivity and incomes, and to improve the quality of life of disadvantaged workers, will be reviewed and necessary recommendations made for their improvement.
6. The Programme and Budget for the 1998-99 biennium contains proposals for conducting eight to ten country employment policy reviews, the selection of countries being based on considerations as to regional balance and levels of development. The selection would finally depend on the consent of the government concerned. These country reviews are expected to provide major input for the preparation of an Office report to be submitted to the International Consultation concerning Follow-up on the World Summit for Social Development proposed for 1999.
Geneva, 14 October 1997.