Opening Address to the ILO/JILPT Networking of National Institutes for Labour Studies: Fifth round of joint investigative studies on "Promoting Decent Work in Global Production Systems in Asia and the Pacific"

by Mr Guy Thijs, Deputy Regional Director, ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Statement | Bangkok | 16 January 2007

Mr. Sakai,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning.

On behalf of the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, I would like to welcome you all to Bangkok for the third workshop of the ILO/JILPT Network of National Institutes for Labour Studies. Opening this workshop is my first official function in my new position as Deputy Regional Director – a position I just assumed yesterday. Let me once again on behalf of the Regional office express our sincere gratitude to the Japan Institute for Labour, Policy and Training for its continuing support making this type of activities possible.

I understand that during the second workshop held in May last year, we have agreed on the overall research framework for the three sectors that have been chosen for this study, identified groups of research institutes for each sector to be covered, and agreed on the work plan and timeframe.

This third workshop will focus on discussing the research proposals that you have prepared in detail. While the Programme may not reflect it on first glance we would expect this workshop to be as interactive and participatory as possible. We hope you will engage freely and frankly in discussions constructive feedback and comments on each of the research proposals. This is not only an important element of networking but should also help you to reshape the research work that you will undertake following the workshop. While engaging in your discussion, I would like you to keep in mind the basic questions that are fundamental to this round of studies:

· Firstly, what are the implications of global production systems for social policies that aim to create employment while keeping in mind the imperative need to protect the most vulnerable and improve income and working conditions?

· Secondly –related to the latter need - how can countries benefit from global production systems in terms of the development and improvement of labour standards?

May I take this opportunity to thank you again for taking part in this workshop. May I also kindly remind you that this network is your network. ILO experience with networking has demonstrated that networks only driven by the ILO and its donors cannot be sustainable in the longer term unless there is ownership by the stakeholders involved. Indeed, while the various research studies being undertaken are an important output of the project we also hope to foster networking between the institutions involved. Your feedback how we can facilitate that –in addition to existing web-based platform – or through other non-monetary incentives would be most appreciated.

In closing my opening remarks I would like to reiterate that by sharing your experiences and information, you will contribute to the development of a research agenda on decent work that will support policy development and concrete action in this region. I wish you success in your deliberations.