Washington, D.C. (ILO News) – Jordan’s Minister of Labour, Basem Khalil Al-Salem, announced today the launch of Better Work Jordan, a project designed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to improve working conditions for more than 54,000 workers in the Jordanian apparel industry and boost the international competitiveness of the sector.
Speaking at a Center for Global Development event, Mr. Al-Salem gave a presentation on “Labor Administration and Compliance in Jordan: A multi-Stakeholder Collaboration” where he outlined actions taken and planned by the Government of Jordan to improve labour administration and compliance, which include the Better Work Jordan project.
Mr. Al-Salem said: “The Government of Jordan is proud to be supporting the Better Work initiative. The value and strength of Better Work is found in establishing a partnership based on the principle that decent working conditions and the production of quality products at competitive prices go hand-in-hand.”
Better Work Jordan is the first of a number of country level projects to be launched by the global Better Work Program of the ILO and IFC. The Better Work Program combines ILO expertise in labor standards with that of IFC in private sector development and brings together local enterprises, international buyers, governments and workers’ organizations to improve labor standards and competitiveness in global supply chains. The global Better Work Program develops global tools and country projects.
In 2007, the Better Work global team held a series of consultative meetings in Amman to design the Better Work Jordan country project. Nada Al Nashif, ILO Regional Director for Arab States, said: “Stakeholders are working together to find solutions for challenges to Jordan’s export apparel industry through the Better Work Jordan project. We are confident that we will see significant and sustainable improvements in labor standards as well as a positive impact on the economic performance of the industry.”
The $4.7 million project in Jordan is financed by US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Jordanian Ministry of Labour, and some of the largest international buyers of apparel produced in Jordan.
The U.S. Chargé d’affaires, Daniel Rubinstein, praised the inclusion of private sector stakeholders in discussions and remarked, “… through sustained and coordinated efforts, we can ensure that Better Work will be successful and that Jordan will be able to achieve its goals of meeting the highest standards of labor welfare for Jordanian and migrant workers.”
Mike Essex, IFC Director for the Middle East-North Africa region said “we are excited about the Better Work program in Jordan. The IFC’s experience shows that there is a clear and strong business case for companies to effectively manage their environmental and social risks. The Better Work project in Jordan is an opportunity to demonstrate that responsible labor practices have the potential to open export markets.”
A recent IFC survey shows that international apparel buyers rate labor standards as one of the most important of nine business environment factors in selecting a supplier country or factory.
Better Work Jordan combines independent enterprise assessments with enterprise advisory and training services to support practical improvements through workplace cooperation. It is a voluntary industry-based scheme designed to work at the enterprise level. The three main components are independent enterprise, training and capacity building and stakeholder engagement and sustainability.
Better Work Jordan will initially be managed by the ILO while a new Jordanian entity is built to take over the operations within five years. It will continue to be supported by the global Better Work Program. Better Work Jordan will be part of the Decent Work Country Program (DWCP) agreed between the ILO and the Government of Jordan which covers activities in a wide range of labor-related issues. It responds to the challenges identified in the National Agenda and the plan of action of the Ministry of Labour to ensure full compliance of international labor standards in the apparel sector. Better Work Jordan will also collaborate with the Licensing and Inspection Reform advisory to the Jordanian Ministry of Labour currently provided by PEP MENA, IFC’s regional Advisory Facility.
For more information, visit www.betterwork.org, or contact:
IFC PEP MENA, Wafa’ M. Aranki, Phone: +962-6/5678050, ext. 263, Email: Waranki@ifc.org
In Washington, D.C.:
International Finance Corporation, Lucie Giraud, Phone: +1202/458-4662, Email: email@example.com
ILO Department of Communication, Phone: +4122/799-7912, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the ILO
The International Labour Organization (ILO) was established in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles and became the first specialized agency of the United Nations system in 1946. Its work in setting and monitoring international labour standards has provided the framework for national labour law and practice in virtually all countries. The ILO’s total budget for 2006-2007 is just over US$900 million, including a regular budget of US$594 million plus US$306 million in extra-budgetary funds associated with special technical cooperation projects. For more information, visit www.ilo.org.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed US$8.2 billion and mobilized an additional US$3.9 billion through syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.