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GB roundup

ILO Governing Body concludes its 343rd session

The ILO Governing Body concluded on 12 November. ILO News discussed the key elements with Dimitrina Dimitrova, Deputy Director of the Department for Official Meetings, Documentation and Relations of the ILO.

Analysis | 17 November 2021

This Governing Body session was hybrid, with an increased physical presence compared to the previous three virtual sessions. How did it go?

The work of this Session benefitted from greater face-to-face interaction among limited numbers of representatives of the three constituent groups. The vast majority of participants connected remotely. The exceptional methods of work adopted by the Governing Body to deal with the circumstances of COVID-19 allowed it to conclude its work in full and to assure continuity of the business of the Organization.

The June International Labour Conference (ILC) adopted a Global Call to Action for a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Did the Governing Body consider concrete actions for its implementation?

Yes, the Governing Body focused on four principal lines of action to give effect to the Global Call to Action and to support national recovery strategies: tracking progress towards a human-centred recovery; financing a human-centred recovery; tripartite national dialogues to define national priorities; and multilateral action for a human-centred recovery. It included the modalities for the high-level Multilateral Policy Forum called for in the Global Call to Action. The purpose of this Forum is to mobilize a strong, coherent global response in support of Member States. It will be convened in the first months of 2022 in a hybrid format, with the participation of the ILO’s tripartite constituents, heads of state and government and leadership of relevant international and regional organizations. All of this will focus and accelerate the ILO’s work to advance the ambitions of the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work.

The Governing Body also discussed proposals to include safe and healthy working conditions in the ILO's framework of fundamental principles and rights at work. What was the outcome of the discussion on this item?

In 2019, the ILC adopted a resolution requesting the Governing Body to include safe and healthy working conditions in the ILO’s framework of fundamental principles and rights at work. The importance of Occupational Safety and Health has become all the more evident in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governing Body agreed to place this issue on the agenda of next year’s ILC. It requested the Office to prepare a background paper for the 344th Governing Body Session in March 2022, as well as a draft resolution for consideration at the 110th Session of the Conference next year.

The Governing Body plays a key role in the ILO supervisory process and it followed up on complaints submitted under article 26 of the ILO Constitution. What was the outcome of the discussions?

Following up on a complaint against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Governing Body deplored the continuing non-acceptance by the Government of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry. The Governing Body acknowledged the steps taken by the Government to start a dialogue with social partners and urged it to develop this further, into a social dialogue forum with the assistance and presence of the ILO. The Governing Body also requested the Director-General to engage with the Government on the full and effective implementation of the Commission of Inquiry recommendations, as well as on the provision of technical assistance to support the process, including the option of establishing a Special Representative of the Director-General by March 2022; and to present to its Session next March a report on the actions taken by the Office. In the light of the assessment of the developments, the Governing Body will consider all possible measures, including those foreseen in the ILO Constitution to that effect.

The Governing Body also discussed developments regarding the complaint against the Government of Bangladesh. The Government submitted in May 2021 the final road map for the implementation of the outstanding issues mentioned in the complaint and sent a report on the progress of its implementation in September. The Governing Body agreed to continue to follow up on the developments at its 344th Session (March 2022) and deferred the decision on further action in respect of the complaint to its 346th Session in November 2022.

The GB discussed the resolution adopted at the June 2021 ILC, calling for a return to democracy and respect for fundamental rights in Myanmar. What were the main points?

Having discussed developments after the adoption of the resolution, the Governing Body expressed grave concerns about the lack of progress toward restoring democratic and civilian rule in the country, human and labour rights, and the continuing use of intimidation and violence. The Governing Body urged the military authorities to stop harassment, to ensure that workers and employers organizations can exercise their rights in a climate of freedom and security, and to end immediately the use of forced labour. The Governing Body requested the Director-General to report to its 344th Session (March 2022) on developments in Myanmar, including on potential follow-up action by next year’s ILC.

Prior to the election of the new ILO Director-General during the 344th Session (March 2022), public dialogues with the candidates will be held for the first time. What details do you have?

The Governing Body decided that the public dialogues with candidates will take place on 20 and 21 January 2022. It also agreed on modalities to ensure a consistent approach and equal conditions for all candidates.