Opening Remarks at the Launching of the Action Programme for Decent Work

by Mr Reuben Dudley, Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific

Statement | Manila | 13 May 2002

Hon’ble Patricia Sto Tomas, Secretary of Labour and Employment;
Under-Secretary Labour Manuel Imson; Employers’ and
Workers’ Organizations Representatives;
Representatives of the international community; my colleagues from the ILO,
Mr Blenk, Ms Azita Berar-Awad; and Friends:

I would like to firstly convey the congratulations and best wishes to all of you from Mr Yasuyuki Nodera, the ILO Regional Director, Asia Pacific Region, and on my own behalf as well, on the occasion of your launching of the Philippines Action Programme for Decent Work. Due to a series of prior commitments and the rescheduling of this event, Mr Nodera regrets his inability to be personally present with you here this morning.

As one of the pioneering countries globally, and the first in Asia to launch the Decent Work Country Programme, your government, in particular the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE), as well as the employers’ and workers’ organizations, deserve our whole-hearted compliments on your effort. It is a joint programme of the Philippines and the ILO, and defines the way forward together. It aims at achieving the goals that you have set for yourselves in responding to the country’s needs and priorities in the labour and employment field.

Let me pay particular tribute to the leadership provided by Secretary Sto Tomas and the strong support of her staff at DOLE, and the valuable contributions of the employers’ and workers’ organizations as well as the active participation of the wider civil society in this joint effort. For us, in the ILO, it is a framework to be able to make the required inputs through our colleagues at the country and regional levels and also from our head-quarters.

Your Action Programme clearly brings out Decent Work as an integrating agenda. It shows the linkages among rights and voice on the one hand and job-creation and socio-economic protection on the other. It underscores the need to address cross-cutting themes, among which we would highlight the issues of gender, child labour, youth employment, migrant workers, the disabled, indigenous and tribal populations, older workers, and the increasing concern to address HIV/AIDS prevention at the workplace. Above all Decent Work is an integral part of the national development agenda.

I wish to recall here briefly the Conclusions of the Thirteenth Asian Regional Meeting held in August last year, at which the constituents stressed that they should be responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring National Plans of Action on Decent Work in each member-State. Yours is one of the first in the region. The ILO was called upon and is committed to assist our constituents in this endeavour. Together, we need to address the Decent Work deficits that exist, by mobilizing the necessary resources in support of your efforts. The ILO was also called upon to facilitate cooperation with the international financial and development institutions in responding to priorities in the world of work within the overall development framework. Constituents pointed to the rapidly increasing pace of globalization, and its impacts, both positive and negative. There is a need to address this issue in the global and national development contexts, especially as it impinges on labour and employment concerns. In this regard, I must mention that the ILO, along with our constituents, is working on integrating the Decent Work concept and agenda at the national levels through the various poverty reduction, social protection and sustainable development strategies. At the global level, the recently established ILO’s World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization is expected to make a significant contribution towards better understanding and addressing the social implications of this worldwide phenomenon.

It is perhaps pertinent to ask, where do we go from here? The ILO will convene this year tripartite meetings at sub-regional levels, to assess the progress made in developing and implementing Decent Work work plans. A website is being developed to provide and increase transparency of these plans, activities, and achievements.

In the final analysis, we will be judged not merely by the outputs-studies, meetings, policies, laws, mechanisms in place - but by the impact on changing for the better the lives of working men and women and their families. To this end, your Action Programme needs the necessary tools for such evaluation and impact assessments. I am certain that you will be developing this element of the Programme. The ILO stands ready to assist you in this task, and I am sure that together we can progressively attain the goal of Decent and productive work for all women and men.

I thank you.