Constituents from Türkiye formulate a way forward on advancing decent work through responsible business and investment

As one of the fastest growing economies in the OECD, Türkiye plays an important role in the area of trade and investment, both regionally and globally. In this regard, the government has placed responsible business conduct and human rights due diligence high on the political agenda. To address these priorities, a delegation of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security as well as representatives from employers’ and workers’ organizations from Türkiye participated in a four-day workshop at the ITC-ILO, (16 -19 January, 2024). The workshop aimed at unpacking the concepts of trade and investment for sustainable development, responsible business conduct, human rights due diligence using the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social policy (MNE Declaration) as the overall framework. The workshop concluded with a strong agreement and firm commitment of the tripartite constituents on the development of a way forward for Türkiye on how to further strengthen an enabling environment for the promotion of sustainable trade, investment and business practices for the realization of decent work in Türkiye.

News | 05 February 2024

In the opening of the workshop, Mr Suat Dede, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of Türkiye, emphasized the importance of developing a holistic and coherent approach to advance responsible business conduct (RBC) in Türkiye, considering recent developments, in particular the country’s decision to join the Alliance 8.7 as a pathfinder country to eradicate child labour, forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and take urgent and effective measures to eliminate child labour.

This message was echoed by Mr Yasser Hassan, Director of the ILO Office for Türkiye, and Ms Githa Roelans, Head of the Multinational Enterprises and RBC Unit at the ILO Office in Geneva both highlighting the importance of promoting sustainable, responsible, and inclusive business practices to achieve national objectives on the realization of decent work, including the fundamental principles and rights at work. This has become even more important in light of many recent policy developments, including mandatory human rights due diligence regulations, at both national and regional levels.

Against this backdrop, participants studied and examined the MNE Declaration, discussing how the instrument can be used to foster dialogue, coherence and synergies across government and social partners to achieve decent work. They also increased their understanding of human rights due diligence and how due diligence legislation is shaping business behaviour. The presentations of representatives from the European Commission and the GIZ of the various legislations on due diligence and supply chains, such as the upcoming CSDD Directive and the enforced German Supply Chain Act, were highly appreciated by the participants.

Throughout the training, participants debated how business, trade and investment can contribute to sustainable development, and explored the role of government and social partners in creating an enabling environment to unlock the economic and employment potential of foreign direct investment and trade. Discussions also revolved around the ways in which the private sector can support the transition towards environmentally sustainable economy in Türkiye based on the principles of the ILO guidelines for a just transition and the MNE Declaration.

In developing a way forward, participants identified national priorities, including the creation of more decent employment opportunities, transition to a formal economy, skills development and a just transition, all important priorities in which the role of enterprises is crucial. To further the RBC agenda, participants agreed on a number of activities to be implemented with the support of the ILO. These include amongst others, raising awareness and building the capacity of constituents on the guidance of the MNE Declaration, facilitating dialogue at various levels, including between Türkiye and home countries of MNEs, fostering the exchange of good practices and developing tools and resources to support a better uptake of the ILO MNE Declaration.

The workshop was executed with the support of the ITC-ILO, the Multinational Enterprises and Responsible Business Conduct Unit of the ILO and the ILO Office for Türkiye, and funded by the European Union.