ILO/IOE Regional Conference of Employer and Business Membership Organizations (EBMOs) in Asia and the Pacific

The second Regional Conference ILO/IOE Conference took place under the title - Towards greater resilience, innovation and value: Evidence-based research and policy work in times of crisis and looking to the future

News | 30 June 2022
The Asia Pacific Regional EBMO Conference was held virtually on 28 June 2022 to discuss strategic and innovative approaches to organizational development and management of EBMOs. Seventy EBMO representatives at the senior leadership and management level from 30 EBMOs in Asia and the Pacific participated in the event

Through a dynamic discussion, EBMOs were able to gain a better understanding of policy environment is changing, how their peers in the region are carrying out their policy function and what tools and resources are becoming available, especially with the development of digital technologies. Experiences and lessons learnt were shared and discussed to promote the strategic rethink in policy advocacy that is needed if EBMOs are to serve members in a new and unpredictable environment and invest in resilience.

Deborah France-Massin, Director of ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities, outlining the new policy landscape, said “The policy agenda needs to be strategic in considering local and global realities, opportunities and risks. Utilizing national and international policy mechanisms to create stable and enabling conditions for all businesses to grow based on clear vision and values is key to the continued relevance of EBMOs”. In this context, she added, “Technology and digital resources provide an unprecedented opportunity to use data strategically for better policy outcomes”. Akustina Morni, Senior Advisor of the IOE, said, “Evidence-based research can help us make better informed decisions and help us ask the right questions as we move forward”.

Wade Bromley, ILO Senior Specialist on Employer’s Activities, emphasized EBMOs’ opportunity to leverage data as a strategic asset to improve their decision making at the strategic, organizational and operational level. In his presentation “Drowning in data, diving for insights”, he outlined the increasing focus of policy makers in the region on data-driven approaches and set out the growing expectation that EBMOs will be more rigorous in the quality of their research outputs while producing more insights, more frequently, and across a more diverse range of topics. He encouraged EBMOs to put the role and value of data at the core of thinking about the business of representing business and their digital transformation as an organization and cautioned that organizations that delay face a growing threat of losing influence over policy outcomes and to competing interest groups.

Mr Lemauga Hobart Vaai, CEO of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and Ms Lote Lima, Member Service Manager, presented the success story of using new data collection and analysis tools provided by ACT/EMP to significantly increase the number and frequency of position papers produced while sharing several examples of successful policy outcomes that have been achieved due to this new capacity and approach during the pandemic. Mr Vajira Ellepola, Deputy Director General of the Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) shared the EFC’s experience of taking up new policy issues and repositioning private sector social security schemes in Sri Lanka. Mr Chua Ker Sin, Director of the Corporate Research, Planning and External Relations of the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) introduced SNEF’s strategies and tools for policy advocacy using data as a strategic asset.

The presentations stimulated a lively and discussion on experience and innovative strategies, experiences and lessons that emerged and were learnt from the pandemic and various examples of EBMO policies influencing the government.

ILO ACTEMP and IOE also introduced the tools and research products they have developed to help EBMOs effectively and efficiently respond to the COVID pandemic and enhance their capacity to engage in policy advocacy activities.

This meeting is the second in the series of regional ILO ACTEMP/IOE online conferences under an umbrella theme of “EBMOs: Towards greater resilience, innovation and value.”
ILO/IOE Asia Pacific Regional Conference on Strategic and Innovative Approaches to Organisational Development and Management of EBMOs. The third regional conference will be held virtually in September 2022. The series will culminate in a face-to-face symposium on 5th December 2022 planned to be organised in conjunction with the 17th ILO Asia Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) which will take place on 6-9 December 2022 in Singapore.

Sanchir, Tugschimeg, Regional Desk Officer for Asia Pacific and Arab States, Bureau for Employers’ Activities,
Bromley, Wade, Senior Specialist on Employer’s Activities in Bangkok,
Lee, Dong Eung, Senior Specialist on Employer’s Activities in Bangkok,
Peiris, Ravindra, Senior Specialist on Employer’s Activities in Bangkok,