Q&A on the Reform of ILO: Field Operations and Structures

Interview with the Director of the ILO Decent Work Team (DWT) and Office for the Caribbean

News | 20 November 2014

Why is there a need for an ILO Reform?

The ILO must provide value for money. There is a rapidly transforming world of work, and the ILO needs to be able to capture and respond to the challenges quickly enough, with greater efficiency and effectiveness, in the context of changing development paradigms.

The ILO needs to be equipped to play its full role in the Post 2015 Agenda and as part of the UN Reform and needs to expand its influence in the world of work, delivering on its social justice mandate.

The ILO needs to improve its presence and partnerships in terms of its responses to evolving technical requirements and participation in UN Teams.

How will the ILO implement this Reform?

The ILO will implement the reform through a series of measures including:

  • The Programme and Budget 2016‐17. This will introduce one framework for all programmable funding sources and will be linked to outcomes, and to global, regional and country results.
  • A new technical cooperation and resource mobilization strategy. The strategy will be prepared to include flagship programmes that should embody the ILO’s values, approaches and comparative advantage.
  • A revised country diagnosis tool. The tool will be used to facilitate Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) preparation and implementation with new methodologies for DWCP as building blocks of programming processes.
  • A typology of member States established to customize services that meet the demands. The typology will not only be based on national income, but also on developmental and institutional capacity.
  • A clarification of the roles and responsibilities of managers and staff involved in ILO operations in the regions and at the country level.
  • A new recruitment, assignment and mobility procedure to enhance the functional and geographical mobility of technical staff.

Why did the ILO undertake a Field Review?

A Field Review Team was established in May 2013. The Team connected with a large number of ILO colleagues, constituents and development partners to better understand the functioning of the ILO in the field, and how the Organization could continue to deliver quality services to its constituents.

The objective of the review is to enhance collaboration between Headquarters and field units, and to ensure that the “Office will act as One ILO with an improved level and quality of services that consistently responds to the needs of the ILO constituents.”

Will the ILO Field Review affect the present ILO structure in the field?

The ILO Field Review will not affect the structure that is currently in place in the Caribbean and will rather focus on improving working methods to deliver quality services to ILO constituents.

I believe that the focus on working methods, rather than changing the structure, will have far‐reaching effects on the interaction between the regions and Headquarters. This is a further step in making One ILO a tangible reality capable of exercising real influence in the world of work, while recognizing the peculiar needs of countries and regions.

In doing so, focus is put on enhancing the research and analytical capabilities of the ILO, for example, on the impact of global value‐chains on the Caribbean workforce; and strengthening collaboration across ILO units for, among others, implementing 11 Caribbean Decent Work Country Programmes.

An example of a global challenge that the Caribbean countries are experiencing is climate change and adaptation. In that respect, the participation of the Caribbean constituents at the Third UN SIDS Conference in Samoa, in September 2014, offered the opportunity to discuss climate change and closer regional integration in the context of Decent Work Agenda with the participation of the Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL). The topic of climate change was then captured at the level of the 18th American Regional Meeting, at the side event of 13 October, 2014 in Lima, Peru.

In these fora the challenges of Caribbean SIDS were highlighted, including implications for broader macro-economic stability and the prospects for decent work and viable public and private partnerships and South–South Cooperation.

The above developments are in line with the item of the Reform related to “developing strategies to facilitate and improve interaction with the multilateral system and with regional partners” for example the regional social tripartite dialogue initiative with CARICOM, the CEC and CCL.

The ILO needs to work as a global and regional player within an evolving multilateral and regional environment. While such relationships and partnerships are growing increasingly complex, they prove to be effective, such as the collaboration established with the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) on projecting skills requirements in the tourism sector, together with CINTERFOR and the SENAI (Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial) from Brazil, in a true spirit of South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

Are the views of the Caribbean fully taken into consideration in the LAC region and in the ILO?

The leadership and the capacity to innovate the Caribbean are fully recognized by the Latin American and Caribbean region and across the ILO.

The ongoing reform of the ILO provides the opportunity to receive inputs transparently from all member States, and to take full advantage of the capacities and experiences from the constituents to be shared across the ILO, among others, through the establishment of Areas of Critical Importance (ACI).

The Caribbean SIDS have indicated that existing development paradigms as they refer to gross domestic product (GDP), middle income and high income countries, need to be revisited as the ongoing paradigms not only negatively affect their capacity to access concessional loans and other resources, but also their effective response to climate change and natural disasters.

The ILO needs to capture such developments and support the Caribbean constituents in their search for greater policy coherence, also in the context of Post 2015 Agenda.

As the ILO Director‐General, Mr. Guy Ryder, stated in the conclusions of the ILO 18th American Regional Meeting, in Lima, Peru:

"It is part of the success of our meeting that it has benefitted from the strong and active presence of our Caribbean colleagues and I want to say that I've heard the message a number of them have delivered that their special circumstances, their special needs and orientations have also to be fully reflected in the work that we do in this region and that, we will fully take into account in the future."