PM Sheikh Hasina addresses ILO Virtual Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work

Honourable Prime Minister addressed the largest ever online gathering of workers, employers and governments to discuss how to better rebuild economies in the post-pandemic recovery

Press release | 14 July 2020
PM Sheikh Hasina addresses ILO Virtual Global Summit on COVID-19 and the World of Work
DHAKA (ILO News) - The Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina joined global Heads of state, as well as prominent employers’ and trade union leaders to take part in global discussions on COVID-19 and the World of Work, held online from 8-9 July.

Speaking on the Global Leaders’ Day, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh thanked the ILO for hosting the Global Summit and for all its support during the pandemic which she described as a “full-fledged global economic and social crisis”.

Leaders from over 80 nations, as well as UN Secretary-General António Guterres and chiefs of other UN and international agencies also addressed the summit via video messages on www.ilo.org/global-summit.

The summit is the largest ever online gathering of workers, employers and governments. Participants will discuss how to address the economic and social impact of the pandemic, which has laid bare the extreme vulnerability of millions of workers and enterprises.

In a six-minute video address, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina documented how the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) sector was hardest hit, losing billions of dollars of export orders and how millions of workers, across many industries, lost their jobs.

“When the crisis began to unfold, we immediately announced a US$12.1 billion stimulus package for various sectors of our economy, as well as support to different segments of our society,” said the PM.

She also outlined a number of emergency stimulus and social protection measures initiated by her government:

“We have given about 1 billion dollars for paying the wages of RMG workers and provided cash and other incentives to over 50 million people who lost their daily income during this pandemic.”

The PM also shared the plight of millions of Bangladeshi migrant workers and the devastating impact job losses are having on remittances in her nation. The World Bank predicts that Bangladesh will lose more than 20% of its remittance earnings, equivalent to US$4 billion, this year alone.

She ended her address by urging global leaders, international financial institutions, the UN and civil society to converge around the ILO’s Centenary Declaration and collectively build a better world.

“The promise of decent jobs for all seems hard to realise individually, but I am convinced that together, we can do it.”

Tuomo Poutiainen, the ILO Country Director for Bangladesh expressed his appreciation for the way in which the Government, employers and workers’ organizations have worked together to tackle the safe return to work, unemployment and business challenges brought on by COVID-19. 

“While addressing the numerous challenges we all face today, it is important that we continue working together for the future in developing robust social protection schemes and investing in skilling and jobs programmes for youth, women and others in vulnerable situations,” Poutiainen said.

The Global Summit examined a range of issues, including:
  • How to promote full and productive employment in this new environment.
  • What needs to be done to address the massive vulnerabilities in the world of work made evident by the pandemic.
  •  Which workers require particular support and attention.
  • How to position the reduction and elimination of poverty as central objectives of the recovery process.
  • How the international community can come together with real common purpose and rededicate itself to the delivery of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.
On Thursday 9 July, labour ministers, workers’ and employers’ leaders from ILO member States will reflect on the previous days’ events and discuss the implementation of the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work in the context of the pandemic.

Begum Monnujan Sufian, Honourable State Minister of Labour and Employment, will address the audience on behalf of Bangladesh.

To view the Honourable Prime Minister’s address to the Global Summit, click on the following link:

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