ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations

87th Session
Geneva, June 1999

Report of the Committee on Technical Cooperation

Committee report

: Submission, discussion and adoption

The PRESIDENT -- The next item on the agenda is the consideration and adoption of the report of the Committee on Technical Cooperation which is contained in Provisional Record No. 22.

Mr. NAGAE (Government adviser, Japan; Reporter of the Committee on Technical Cooperation) -- As Reporter of the Committee on Technical Cooperation, I have the pleasure to present its report to this session of the Conference. The report was adopted by the Committee at its last sitting on Monday, 14 June 1999, and has been received as Provisional Record No. 22.

The report duly reflects the discussions held in the Committee on Technical Cooperation, based on Report VI entitled The role of the ILO in technical cooperation, prepared by the Office, the Supplement Technical cooperation: A strategic perspective -- Note by the Director-General, and the Director-General's Report to the Conference, Decent work. The report also contains a text of a resolution and the conclusions which I hereby submit for approval of the Conference.

The Committee started its work with the general discussion on all the documentation provided, to which I have referred. It was subsequently decided that the Director-General's supplementary note would provide the basis for the deliberations that would follow. After discussions held over five sittings, the Committee appointed a Working Party comprising five Government members, five members from the Workers' group and five members from the Employers' group.

After four days and seven sittings, a draft report of the Working Party was finalized and presented to members of the Committee for comments and observations; 73 amendments were submitted by the members of the Committee. These amendments were discussed extensively during extended sessions on Saturday, 12 June 1999. On the basis of those discussions, a draft was prepared and presented to the full Committee on Monday, 14 June 1999. Taking into account the further deliberations that had followed, the report of the Committee on Technical Cooperation was finalized and is placed before you for adoption.

It was an honour for me to work as a Reporter on this important Committee. As I reflect on the past weeks, I recall that the work has not been easy. Very clearly the issue of technical cooperation is very important to the three groups and it was not always easy to obtain consensus on how technical cooperation could cater to the specific concerns.

The Committee has worked very hard, with a lot of goodwill, in a very constructive manner, and the proof is the document before you.

It is my hope that the resolutions and conclusions of this Committee will go a long way in providing direction and guidance to the Office to give effect to the Director-General's call that the ILO renew its commitment to technical cooperation as a fundamental means of action to achieve its mission and realize its objectives.

I would like to conclude by thanking the Chairperson of the Committee, Mr. Alburquerque, the two Vice-Chairpersons, Mr. Brett and Mr. Jeetun and other members of the Committee for their trust, support and contribution throughout the Committee's sessions. I would also like to thank the Chairperson of the Working Party.

Last but not least, I wish to thank the representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Trémaud, and all his colleagues in the secretariat for their tireless dedication and hard work. It has not been easy for them facilitating the work of the Committee and meeting the strict deadlines for numerous versions of the working draft. The Committee has come out with a sound instrument in the support of ILO's technical cooperation programme.

Mr. JEETUN (Employers' delegate, Mauritius; Employer Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Technical Cooperation) -- It is a great pleasure for me to endorse the report of the Committee on Technical Cooperation. This report has been adopted by consensus by the Committee after lengthy and fruitful deliberations in the true spirit of tripartism. The discussions took place in the context of the four strategic objectives as defined by the Director-General. These four objectives provide a new sense of direction for the ILO and are also meant to be the appropriate framework for ILO technical cooperation in future. This comprehensive review, therefore, could not have come at a more opportune moment.

The resolution has addressed all aspects of technical cooperation from the conception stage to the valuation stage with a view to meeting the needs of all constituents and fulfilling the aspirations of millions of people in developing countries. Indeed, technical cooperation is an important instrument in the enhancement of the economic and social development of many countries and the improvement of the standard of living of a large segment of the world's population.

It is our firm belief that technical assistance will help us attain our needs and enable the ILO to respond to them. It will also strengthen tripartism and social dialogue. At the same time, it will reinforce the capacity of the ILO, as well as that of the constituents. Capacity building should be one of the cornerstones of technical cooperation in the years ahead. In this era of globalization and rapid technological change, it is essential for the ILO to identify and reinforce its competitive advantages in a dynamic environment and to develop new products as well as revise and update its existing products.

Marketing should also be a key element to sell the products and to improve the overall image of the ILO. The ILO should have clear and consistent marketing and communication strategies, not only within the ILO itself, not only in relation to the constituents but also vis-ŕ-vis other international institutions.

We would also like the ILO programmes of technical cooperation to bear a label of quality, to be the point of reference in the world and to be the embodiment of excellence.

This resolution is in line with the efforts and vision of the Director-General for the ILO to emerge as an important and respected player on the international stage. The unique tripartite structure of the ILO is indeed an advantage that we have to put to good use.

We have a text which is coherent, focused and forward looking and which will contribute to the streamlining of the present and future activities of the ILO. This text is a culmination of our joint efforts and it is aimed at making technical cooperation more effective.

In this sense there are no winners or losers, the effectiveness of technical cooperation will be beneficial to all of us. All of us are therefore winners. We are sure that objective evaluation as envisaged in this resolution will prove us right in the years ahead.

I would like to thank the Chairperson for the professional manner in which he led the debates and the Reporter as well for his faithful report, and the Chairperson of the Working Party who led us sometimes through turbulent seas, but successfully.

A word of thanks and appreciation is due to the distinguished Government delegates for their valuable contribution and the distinguished Workers' spokesperson for his understanding and very valuable contribution.

I should also like to thank the Office for their strenuous efforts in piecing together all our observations and comments and facilitating our task. We are sure that they will keep this work up in a dedicated manner. Lastly, I should not forget to mention the interpreters, who did an excellent job.

Mr. BRETT (Workers' delegate, United Kingdom; Worker Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Technical Cooperation) -- It is nice to speak late at night to a friendly and small audience. I say friendly because I believe most people present were actually in the Committee itself, and secondly, I can think of odd occasions when there were more people in the Committee than are here tonight. But that should not in any sense take away from the importance of the debate and the conclusions and I would like to commend this report to you on behalf of the Workers' group.

The report correctly endorses the new priorities of the ILO and will provide valuable guidance for the Governing Body and its Committee on Technical Cooperation, and for the Director-General in defining the programme and budget guidelines for the forthcoming biennium.

Several important points are worth emphasizing. Firstly, as Mr. Jeetun said, capacity building. The strengthening of trade unions', employer organizations' and governments' capacity, especially with regard to their engagement in macroeconomic issues as outlined in paragraph 13, is an important and concrete dimension for the promotion of ILO values. Adequately resourced, these forceful and respected players will prove to be even greater components of truly democratic societies.

Secondly, regional integration. I would like to highlight the recognition in the document of the new regional dimension in which the ILO's constituents are required to operate. Not only do they have to help at the national level in building expertise, they also have to do this at the regional level, to address regional economic integration issues. But the ILO should also aim at consolidating an effective tripartite approach at the regional and subregional level.

This perspective will strengthen the three partners, not only in their interaction, but also in their negotiations with the international financial institutions. In this regard, while we are pleased with the recent developments towards a more coordinated approach in the United Nations family, we want to make sure that the ILO will maintain pressure on the Bretton Woods institutions and WTO to include our values in their policy formulation and implementation, and thereby give effect to the words we heard from President Clinton this morning.

Thirdly, tripartism. A renewed focus on tripartism also means that the constituents, and especially Workers' and Employers' representatives, have to be effectively involved in the planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation of the programmes and projects of this Organization. These provisions should not apply solely to future programmes but must also lead to an effective review of the current structure of technical cooperation, both at headquarters and in the field.

The fourth point is effective monitoring. The Workers' group has for a number of years, both during this discussion and in the Committee on Technical Cooperation of the Governing Body, strongly advocated the establishment of a clear mechanism of internal procedures, methodology and machinery for monitoring and evaluation of programmes and projects. This is why I am particularly pleased to see that our idea of a mid-term evaluation of technical cooperation activities has been unanimously embraced by this Committee and is included in our conclusions.

Fifthly, another conceptual dimension drawn from this is the need for the Organization to develop a gender perspective. Women have been the new protagonists of the world of work, both in a positive sense, in reshaping the labour market, and sadly also in a negative way, by often paying the highest price during the recent economic crisis. We have had a serious lack of gender awareness in the ILO, as paragraph 19 of the conclusions clearly states. Gender must be integrated in all technical cooperation programmes of the ILO, not just those specifically addressed to women, and women have to be seriously involved in the tripartite process in order to truly change its perspective.

The report also provides a clear framework for the guiding principles of future activities. Very importantly for us, the report makes it clear that, as in the past, technical cooperation must be consistent with international labour standards and should in any case provide assistance in facilitating progress towards a ratification.

Technical assistance should also be directed towards helping countries that have already ratified international labour standards to implement them effectively.

Last year, this assembly solemnly adopted the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. This can rightly be considered one of our most significant of acts in recent years, as was recalled this morning by President Clinton.

The conclusions of our work point to the need for a meaningful follow-up to that Declaration to be set up in a reasonable amount of time. We believe that technical cooperation is the most important tool for its promotion, and we would like to make sure that this concern will be appropriately translated in the budget provisions to be adopted in November and hastily followed by action in the new biennium, beginning in January.

The new Director-General has provided this Organization with a clear vision of four strategic objectives and two cross-cutting issues, together with the InFocus programmes and a more general framework of reference of the international labour standards and the Declaration. These, we believe, will provide guidelines for a renewed commitment of the ILO to its mandate to cover the world of work in a universal way.

As confirmed yesterday by the acute analysis of Nobel Laureate Professor Sen, this is a crucial moment for the development of a new global approach to the needs of all workers, from the overworked to the unemployed. Certainly, technical cooperation must be a fundamental instrument of this vision, and the report that I commend to you for your consideration represents valuable guidance for the years to come.

I would like to thank my colleague, the Employers' representative, Mr. Jeetun, for the agreement on the final text, which we achieved by means of a tortuous path but, nevertheless, we achieved it.

I would also like to thank the Government representatives who took part in our work. I would like to remind them of their solemn pledge towards the Declaration, given only last year, and request their solid support for a meaningful follow-up in the months to come.

In closing, I would like to express appreciation of the Workers' group to our Chairperson, Mr. Alburquerque, whose calm and measured chairmanship was extremely valuable, to the Reporter, to the secretarial staff, to the translators, to the behind-the-scenes staff, the interpreters and to the secretariat. They worked very hard, very long hours and with great goodwill.

I have great pleasure in commending this report to you.

Original Spanish: Mr. ALBURQUERQUE (Secretary of State for Labour, Dominican Republic; Chairperson of the Committee on Technical Cooperation) -- At the time when the report of the Committee on Technical Cooperation is submitted as a whole, I would like to say that it has been a great honour for the Dominican Republic and a great satisfaction for me personally to serve as the Chairperson of this Committee on a subject that is of particular importance amongst the activities of the ILO.

There was an extensive debate on this topic and the work has enabled the various Governments, as well as the Employers' and Workers' groups, to express their aspirations and their views, while making great efforts to reconcile and to enable the Office to take action on these views over the next five years.

These are based around the four strategic objectives that were set out in the Director-General's Report. Particular importance is given to the principles in the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up, that was adopted at the Conference last year.

The Office is encouraged in this context to pay attention to the needs of the constituents, both nationally and regionally, as well as to cooperate with other institutions and to refine the methods used for these activities.

There is a request that there be transparency in the structures of the regional offices as well as in their relations with headquarters. These aspects are emphasized in the conclusions and the plan of action that was adopted by the Committee on Technical Cooperation. This is a very complete text and were it to be adopted by the Conference, it would need to be examined by the Governing Body so that the Office would be able to provide the necessary and appropriate follow-up thereto.

The Office should, and this is a new point, submit an in-depth report to the Governing Body on this programme, within approximately two and a half years, that is, half way to the next meeting of the Committee on Technical Cooperation.

Before I conclude, I would like to express my profound appreciation to the Vice-Chairpersons of the Committee on Technical Cooperation -- it was my pleasure to work with them very closely. I would also like to thank warmly the Reporter for his dedication in producing the explanatory text of the work that was done and the secretariat for all their efforts and for the very difficult work that they did which facilitated the work of the Committee and its success.

I thank the interpreters who facilitated our work during the long hours, themselves working with great care and competence, and finally I would like to thank the Working Party which very cleverly, very skilfully, opened the way to consensus.

Mr. MISHRA (Government delegate, India) -- Technical cooperation is of vital interest and relevance to the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is also the very fulcrum of the programmes and activities of the ILO.

It is therefore most appropriate that the subject was discussed in a tripartite Conference Committee and also in the subcommittees constituted thereunder, taking into account the sweeping changes in the social, political and economic environment since 1993. The discussion has resulted in a draft report, along with a draft resolution on technical cooperation which emphasizes certain areas which are also the priority areas of concern for developing countries.

They revolve round the four strategic objectives of the ILO so clearly enunciated in Decent work. These have also been clearly and forcefully elaborated by the Reporter as well as the distinguished Vice-Chairpersons from the Workers' and Employers' sides and therefore I consider it unnecessary to repeat them.

While complimenting the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairpersons, the Reporter and all distinguished Members, Officers and staff of the ILO, for the clarity and also the comprehensive approach with which both these excellent reports, as well as the resolution, have been produced, my delegation would like to endorse all the areas for their adoption and implementation. Simultaneously, my delegation would like to highlight some of the priority areas for which technical cooperation is solicited in the context of developing countries including India, the sensitivities associated therewith and the need to balance technical cooperation to meet these complex needs and challenges.

Before I do so, let me come to a basic conceptual issue. In the course of deliberations in the Committee, the debate seems to have been raised as to which of the two strategic objectives listed in the Director-General's Report, Decent work, should come first -- fundamental rights at work, or full, freely chosen and productive employment.

I think any such debate is unnecessary. Employment and fundamental rights at work have only one common objective, the creation of a healthy, contented, stable and productive workforce, which alone can contribute to the heightened prosperity of the enterprise and a high GDP rate of growth of the national economy.

Fundamental rights at work imply recognition of the dignity, beauty and worth of workers as human beings. Such a recognition brings a lot of motivation and boosts the morale of the workers, which is the key to production and productivity. This is also the quintessential objective of employment.

I would now like to share some of our priority concerns to which the technical cooperation programme of the ILO should address itself.

Report VI published by the ILO has revealed certain disquieting trends, which are a matter of concern for all of us in the developing world. To elaborate:

The expenditure on technical cooperation on the whole declined from US$754 million in 1988-92 to US$581 million during 1993-97, the decline being of the order of 23 per cent.

--The expenditure on technical cooperation declined very sharply in the regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America, though the decline was the sharpest in Asia.

--Within this broad ambit, the expenditure on technical cooperation declined approximately by 13 per cent on unemployment and poverty alleviation programmes during this period.

These trends need to be reversed, and all-out efforts need to be made to increase the allocation of resources for technical cooperation through partnerships with private, bilateral and multilateral donor agencies.

It is inevitable that, in the context of the decline in core funding of the ILO, technical cooperation will have a significant donor development component. This involves inherent political sensitivities which need to be recognized. Donors, like the ILO, must respect national needs and priorities and nothing should be done which will impinge on the sovereignty of a member State.

I would like to list a few other priority concerns, with specific suggestions as to how these areas should be properly addressed by technical cooperation.

First, advisory services, including advocacy and operational services, are extremely important, and the proper synergy and balance between the two needs to be established as this alone can lead to the desired results.

Second, through technical cooperation the ILO should be able to come to the aid of member countries to facilitate and accelerate the pace of the economic reforms process. This would necessarily involve a lot of capacity building by the constituents of the social partners, so that they can contribute most effectively to the economic reform process.

Third, technical cooperation must facilitate the process of skills formation and skills upgrading, including the multiskilling of all industrial workers, formal as well informal, consistent with the rapid changes in the skills requirements in the labour market.

Fourth, there is an urgent and imperative need for accelerating, through sizeable investment and adaptation of the appropriate technology, training, retraining and career counselling for the purpose of the rehabilitation of a large number of employees who stand rationalized, retrenched and displaced on account of the shrinkage and loss of regular jobs and increasing atypical forms of employment. This will impart the human face to globalization and the reform process, which was so much emphasized by the honourable President of the United States in the course of his address at the special sitting yesterday.

Fifth, the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises to generate reasonable employment venues must receive a proper place in the technical cooperation programme.

Sixth, promoting, protecting and preserving the occupational health, safety and welfare of workers must receive pride of place in technical cooperation programmes. Any worker's job can be decent only if the workplace is clean, safe, healthy and congenial. Risk communication, risk sharing and accident prevention, with the ultimate objective of promoting a zero rate of accidents should therefore be a major thrust of technical cooperation.

Seventh, both in the matter of employment promotion and in the area of need-based market-relevant vocational skill training, a measured role should be assigned to the ILO Turin Centre. The latter should develop operational as well as advisory services which should be implemented by the decentralization and sub-regionalization of the Turin Centre, with special emphasis on the training needs of the regular workforce, as well as retrenched and displaced workforce members.

Eighth, technical cooperation must pay adequate attention to the social security and welfare of large sections of marginalized and vulnerable workforce members in the informal sector, in particular those engaged in contract labour, casual labour, migrant work home workers and other part-time work.

To sum up, human beings constitute the centre stage of development and workers are first and foremost human beings. If their fundamental rights at the workplace are respected they will contribute the very best of their imagination, ingenuity, creativity and resourcefulness to the enterprise.

It is in this sense that there is no conflict between the rights of workers and the expectations of enterprises. Capital creates labour, and labour creates capital, and both complement, supplement and reinforce each other. This should be the guiding philosophy or principle underlying any scheme of technical cooperation. I am reminded in this context of a beautiful couplet by Rabindranath Tagore, who sums up this essential principle of respect for the dignity and beauty of workers like the dignity and beauty of human life:

I want to live on this beautiful planet,

I want to live in the midst of human beings,

Amidst the rays of the rising sun,

Amidst the verdant green of this multicoloured garden of beauty and excellence,

I want to get a place in the midst of living hearts.

With these words, I commend both the draft report, as well as the resolution on technical cooperation, for unanimous adoption.

Mr. ANAND (Employers' delegate, India) -- From the ethereal quotations of Dr. Mishra, I, as a practitioner, wish to bring the debate back down to ground level.

I come to the podium to endorse the conclusions contained in the resolution concerning the role of the ILO in technical cooperation. From a person with the eminence and statesmanship skills of Mr. Bill Brett, with whom I have had the privilege to work for two terms in the Governing Body and more closely in the Active Partnership Policy Evaluation Working Party, any other set of conclusions would have disappointed me.

Azad Jeetun, the Employers' delegate, is a part of the employers' future leadership. I need not praise his work at this stage, lest he be too flattered. We look forward to more work from him.

The Director-General's personal note set a series of questions to which the answers are explicit and transparent. Thank you to all our colleagues for their hard work, both in the Committee and the Drafting Committee.

Technical cooperation is the most effective tool that can link up and bind hope with reality. I may, therefore, make a brief comment on paragraphs 40-43 concerning "More effective resource mobilization".

The report states that "resource mobilization must be boosted to reverse the quantitive decline of technical cooperation" (paragraph 40). It recognizes that "effective, efficient and timely productivity are key elements in a successful resource mobilization strategy" (paragraph 41).

Notwithstanding this fundamental discovery for human development, namely that stable and sustainable growth is the product of human and financial input in the social sphere, in terms both of quality and volume, paragraph 43 records in rather tame terms that "there is a need to produce a report on funding sources for technical cooperation projects".

Who will provide the research, exploration or report is not clear. I am afraid this formulation is not only disappointing, but will not take us very far in converting hope to reality or progressing along the path outlined by the Director-General for the next century.

Much deeper and more intensive effort is required immediately unless we wish to wait for the next five-yearly review of technical cooperation.

It is the solemn duty and obligation of governments, donor countries and institutions, after their acceptance of the 1995 Copenhagen Declaration, to move away from the obsolete conceptual moulds of zero growth budgeting and the consequential disquieting trend of continuous fall in extra-budgetary expences.

This continuing decline, and the resistance on the part of some governments, has been a constant source of anxiety and concern not only to the social partners but also to all the underdeveloped nations and governments. I sincerely believe that the Conference conclusions should have incorporated the relevant recommendations made by the G15 Group of developing countries in their papers submitted to this Conference, namely, (1) adherence to the 20/20 initiative to ensure funds for social development, (2) the introduction by donor countries of internationally agreed target levels of official development assistance, and (3) the mobilization of resources by the ILO from both budgetary and extra-budgetary resources for the Copenhagen Programme of Action, which falls within the ILO mandate, reiterated at the 87th Session of the Conference.

Without initiatives in the introduction of substantial funding by governments and donor agencies, emphatic verbal pursuit of programmes on paper or in the pipeline will be akin to attempting to fry otherwise nutritious foodstuffs in water instead of oil. I wonder what sort of report the ILO will produce on this assumed mandate in the ensuing consultation on the follow-up to the Copenhagen Summit programmes. I firmly believe that this issue has not received due attention in the Committee. It should not have been left vaguely drafted as in paragraph 43, which is the weakest link in the chain of otherwise worthwhile and commendable Recommendations. There is scope for an urgent and specific role by the Director-General's office and the Governing Body on this issue.

I am conscious of the budget for the current period having been approved by the Conference yesterday. To ensure action for the future, however, we must start work on devising a strategy and plan of action for the next period, and not remain obsessed by the limitations of outdated concepts.

Yesterday, the President of the United States showed the way, and we should thank him for this. Other governments and international institutions also have an obligation to honour the Copenhagen commitments. I therefore request the Director-General immediately to entrust the job of mobilization of resources to a creative-minded group of strategic planners conversant with financial resources development and management, drawing talent from other UN system associates if necessary.

The acquisition of funding resources would surely inspire confidence and be an effective key to transform the hope into sustainable reality in the social development process and the long-term ends we aspire to achieve.

Let us not live in a world of make believe by continuing to accept the zero growth budget approach and yet expecting the results which the Director-General has presented for adoption. I think we must move forward, and resources mobilization is a key to the whole movement and the speed with which technical cooperation will progress.

Mr. HART (Employers' adviser, United States) -- On behalf of the United States Employers' delegation I want to thank the President for this opportunity to present our views on the role we believe technical cooperation should play in the promotion of the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

The Director-General's excellent Report, Decent work, states that the Declaration should strengthen and support the ILO's technical cooperation activities as a whole. United States employers' support for the Declaration and credible, meaningful and effective follow-up is unequivocal. Technical cooperation should be the primary means of giving effect to the Declaration, once the follow-up has determined where that assistance should be targeted.

We would like to remark on certain aspects of that assistance. The Office, in our view, needs to carefully distinguish the goals and objectives of the Declaration. The principles deriving from the Declaration are of a different nature than obligations undertaken as a result of the ratification of the Conventions. They were designed to achieve the policies set out in the Conventions, but not their detailed legal obligations. The Declaration foresees three separate technical cooperation efforts. One is assistance to Members to encourage ratification of the core Conventions. Another is to assist Members to respect, promote and realize the principles that underlie the Conventions, and the third is to help Members in their efforts to create a climate for economic and social development. We urge the Office to take these three efforts seriously in the spirit that the Declaration was discussed and adopted. In that light, we are pleased to note that the Office has established a separate bureau to promote and implement the Declaration.

Mr. DOUGLAS (Workers' delegate, New Zealand) -- Thank you for the opportunity to make some comments. The Worker Vice-Chairperson yesterday, in delivering his report, referred to the importance of gender relevance in the Organization and this has been a matter of consideration. Whilst there were no women on our panel, for four blokes you did not do too bad a job, so congratulations.

Technical cooperation activities have become a significant aspect of the ILO's practical work. The discussion showed this, and it also exposed the fact that many did not understand the basic reason why the ILO has this important arm of its work. There was considerable debate around the principal concept that technical cooperation was a facility available to member countries to assist the process of governments and the social partners to move programmatically towards ratification of Conventions, enhancing tripartism and building on the ILO process.

The Director-General's paper and questions allowed the Committee to disconnect from the past and to concentrate on the issues for rebuilding a proper and firmer foundation. I think the Report and the recommendations now represent another significant step forward in this regard. I do, however, want to express some concern at what I see as a continuation of old thinking.

First, our Committee showed that several of the government employers on the Government side have not grasped the essential difference between employment growth and decent work. The Workers are very clear in this, and I think some Governments and Employers are also. Decent work is paid employment which is based on standards that reflect the values and dignity and respect for the contribution made; it is not fragmented or precarious employment; it is not flexibility or the denial of legally enforceable rights that lead some to say that any job is better than no job. It is very interesting to note that the people who sing this song are themselves very well paid. It is this argument that is used to justify the continuation of child labour and other forms of abuse of working people.

There will be no escape from this old-style slavery dressed in new slogans until we understand the significance of the Director-General's Report. This is not just an issue for developing and underdeveloped countries. Coming from a developed country with economic standing, the neo-liberalist agenda has in fact rendered insignificant the very concept of decent work. There is a direct link between the quality of employment, the levels of the skills based on the quality of society and the efficiency of the economy. Hence, the importance of technical cooperation and the need to refocus the direction to target a measured advance in the practice and rights that are inherent in the standards and Conventions.

I regret the fact that when the Committee's report was adopted several governments chose to take the floor, and in speaking for the adoption, they seemed to me to be simply recording qualifications to the decision itself on behalf of the governments. I think that this is becoming a negative tendency in this Organization.

In our trade union movement in New Zealand, we believe that it is important to protect the integrity of collective bargaining and the relationship with to the government and employers. We encourage the concept "say what you mean and mean what you say"; and another concept "no excuses and no surprises". Put another way, this means that the outcomes of our work have to be owned by all of the participants. I question the acceptance by governments of their ownership of the agreement reached if they use the record of statements as a justification to their capitals in not accepting the shared responsibility to implement the decisions made.

Capacity building and finding new forms of tripartism that the Report deals with are among the most important challenges that are dealt with in the recommendations. Creating new forms of tripartism at the regional and subregional levels may very well become a new and additional role of the ILO; for example, in the Asia-Pacific region, with the Asia and Pacific Economic Community or APEC, as it is known. The unions and the heads of governments have consistently and steadfastly to date refused to recognize the need for a role and recognition of organized labour as the voice of labour.

Such attitudes in 1999 may surprise some but it underlines the significance of the work of this 87th Session of the Conference. The adoption of the Director-General's Report can be seen as a wake-up call to the international organizations and the Bretton Woods institutions, reminding them that the number one item on the world agenda for the next century is the social dimension of development for all countries and all nations. This Report will possibly contribute to turning intentions into real life experience for workers across the regions.

The practice of this house has been to record somewhat excessively our appreciations for election to office. I think this is in fact a very high honour for the individuals from the constituents of this house to be elected to the various positions of responsibility and so acknowledgement is appropriate because of the history that this represents.

To the marginalized, to the alienated, to the forgotten or the ignored, the exploited, the unorganized and the impoverished, this Organization stands as a beacon in what may seem to be quite a mad world. Their voices are being heard loud and clear. The Workers' delegates of this house carry a huge responsibility in the struggle to restore dignity and respect, and decency is the primary element of the social standards to all. I want to record my sincere appreciation of, and confidence in, the Workers' group. You are combating positively and significantly a progression of our common cause in all parts of the world. The cause of labour remains the cause and the future of the world. Good luck and thank you.

The PRESIDENT -- With this intervention, we conclude our discussion on the report of the Committee on Technical Cooperation.

Let us now proceed to the adoption of the body of the report, paragraphs 1 to 55, and of the resolution and conclusions of the Committee. May I take it that paragraphs 1 to 55 of the report are adopted?

(The report -- paragraphs 1 to 55 -- is adopted.)

Resolution concerning the role of the ILO in technical cooperation

We shall now proceed to the adoption of the resolution concerning the role of the ILO in technical cooperation. May I take it that the resolution is adopted?

(The resolution is adopted.)

Conclusions concerning the role of the ILO in technical cooperation

We shall now proceed to the adoption of the conclusions concerning the role of the ILO in technical cooperation. May I take it that the Proposed Conclusions are adopted?

(The conclusions are adopted.)

We have now concluded our consideration of the report as well as of the resolution and conclusions submitted by the Committee on Technical Cooperation. I thank the Officers and members of the Committee, as well as the staff of the secretariat, for the excellent work they have done.

Updated by HK. Approved by RH. Last update: 26 January 2000.