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ILO Governing Body wraps up its 328th session

The November session of the ILO Governing Body – which saw the re-election of Guy Ryder as Director-General for a second term – ended on 10 November. ILO News discussed the highlights with Juan Llobera, Clerk of the Governing Body.

Press release | 10 November 2016

ILO News: What were the main global employment and social challenges discussed during the Governing Body?

The November session was an occasion for Governing Body members to debate several key issues the ILO has been focusing on lately.

For example, a decision was made to ask the Director-General to further implement the strategy on creating and extending social protection floors (including the flagship programme) and on promoting sustainable enterprises.

There was a follow-up to the resolution concerning decent work in the global supply chains, a topic that had already been addressed during the 105th session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva last June, and for which an action plan is now being developed.

The Governing Body also endorsed a set of principles to guide the Organization’s future work in the areas of fair recruitment practices, including for migrant workers, as well as access of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons to the labour market.

The Governing Body also discussed labour-related provisions in trade agreements. A decision was made to continue to collect and analyse information and provide technical assistance to governments, employers and workers requesting support; to develop partnerships with relevant international organizations and others; and to report periodically to the Governing Body on action regarding trade, investment and decent work for sustainable development.

ILO News: Government, worker and employer delegates also considered the UN’s ambitious 2030 Agenda?

The discussion on decent work for sustainable development ended with several requests put to the ILO Director- General to use the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Governing Body sessions in March as a platform for tripartite discussions on the ILO contribution to the annual review of the High-level Political Forum.

It was decided to hold a high level discussion in March 2017 on the decent work dimensions of “eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”.

The Governing Body also decided to include an item on the effective ILO development cooperation in support of the Sustainable Development Goals on the agenda of the International Labour Conference in 2018.

ILO News: Human rights at work are at the centre stage of Governing Body discussions. What are the main developments in this area?

Members of the Governing Body were briefed on preparations for the IV Global Conference on Child Labour to be held in Argentina in November 2017.

They welcomed the proposal made by the Argentinian government to enlarge the scope of the conference to encompass the forced labour of adults in addition to all forms of child labour.

There was also a follow up on future ILO engagement in Myanmar, a country that has turned a corner on the road towards democratization.
Finally, the Governing Body continued to monitor the situation in Qatar, Venezuela and Guatemala as regards complaints for non observance of international labour conventions.

As usual, the Governing Body approved the report of the Committee on Freedom of Association that met during this 328th session concerning 32 cases in 26 countries across all regions.

ILO News: What about the Governing Body’s governance role in respect of the work of the International Labour Office?

Looking at internal issues, the Governing Body approved the ILO’s Strategic Plan 2018–21 and requested the Director-General to take account of its guidance in the development of the programme and budget proposals for both 2018–19 and 2020–21, with particular emphasis on the results framework to better assess the performance of the International Labour Office. This Strategic Plan and the proposals for the 2018-2019 continue to pave the way for the centenary initiatives leading up to the Organization’s 100th anniversary in 2019.

The Governing Body also finalized the agenda of the International Labour Conference for 2018. In addition to the inclusion of an item on ILO’s development cooperation in support of the SDGs, the Governing Body took a decision on the cycle of the recurrent discussions concerning ILO’s four strategic objectives under the 2008 Social Justice Declaration, and defined the framework for the development of new international labour standards in the area of violence and harassment against women and men in the world of work.

ILO News: Last but not least, the Governing Body reappointed Guy Ryder as Director-General of the ILO for a second term. Can you tell us more?

The timetable for the election process of the Director-General was decided at the March 2016 session of the Governing Body. The latter set a deadline for the receipt of candidatures for 15 July 2016.

At the expiry of this deadline, Guy Ryder was the only candidate.

Following a hearing with the candidate on 31 October, the election was held on 7 November. Guy Ryder received 54 of the 56 votes cast by the titular members of the ILO’s Governing Body. His new five-year term will start on 1 October 2017.