Looking ahead to the 343rd Session, Geneva, November 2021

The pandemic has undoubtedly had a profound impact on the world of work that has required the intervention of the ILO and its Member states in various ways. It thus goes without saying that the strategic direction provided by the Governing Body has been critical in guaranteeing the continued and optimal support of the ILO to its Member states in these unprecedented times.

News | 11 October 2021
by Dennis Zulu, Director, ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean

As we come to the end of another year, the time for another Governing Body session of the ILO is upon us. Interestingly this year the Governing Body session will be held a few days before the second session of the ILC which is in itself a novelty. This year’s International Labour Conference (ILC) was divided into two sessions with the first being held in June and the second session being scheduled for November 2021.

The November Governing Body meeting will be the last in a biennium that has seen the world change in a way that no one would have predicted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has undoubtedly had a profound impact on the world of work that has required the intervention of the ILO and its Member states in various ways. It thus goes without saying that the strategic direction provided by the Governing Body has been critical in guaranteeing the continued and optimal support of the ILO to its Member states in these unprecedented times.

The Agenda for the November session includes a number of items for discussion, including:
  • Proposals for including safe and healthy working conditions in the ILO’s framework of fundamental principles and rights at work.
  • The Director-General’s report.
  • Finalizing the arrangements for the appointment of the next Director-General of the ILO.
The agenda also includes follow up discussions arising from the matters of the 109th Session of the International Labour Conference. Prominent among these include:
  • The discussion on the strategic objective of social protection. At its 109th Session (2021), the International Labour Conference adopted a resolution and conclusions on social protection (social security). The 2021 conclusions set out a framework for action to guide the Organization and the Office in their work in this area. In the resolution, the Director-General was requested to prepare a plan of action to give effect to the conclusions for consideration by the Governing Body at its 343rd Session. The proposed plan of action aims to support the framework for action set out in the conclusions, including Members’ efforts to realize universal social protection, strengthen social protection systems, and ensure sustainable and adequate financing of social protection systems.
  • The global call to action for a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient, adopted by the International Labour Conference at the first part of its 109th Session (June 2021). It demanded that the ILO play a leadership role with its constituents and in the international system in advancing a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.
You will note that the two items are particularly relevant given their importance in providing appropriate strategies needed to respond to the numerous challenges that COVID-19 has brought into the world of work.

Overall, it is expected that the November Governing Body Session will not only provide an opportunity for introspection on the work of the organization in the wake of COVID-19, but one for preparation for the years to come as well.