Inclusive trade and decent work: Supportive domestic policies for better social, labour market and sustainable enterprise outcomes (SUPPORT)

Background and objectives

The project is funded and supported by the Government of Flanders, Belgium, and is one component of a broader research programme entitled “Integrating trade and decent work” (INTEGRATE). Rather than adopting a traditional market-oriented perspective on globalization and its impact on employment, this project follows a more human-centred approach, which means treating decent work as a central objective of trade policy, as called for in the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work (2019).

The project seeks to support sustainable development by aligning trade policies and domestic labour market institutions so as to reduce inequalities, gaps in social protection and poverty. It will promote a better understanding of best practices and new approaches at the country level for building and strengthening capacity to comply with international labour standards in the context of trade, including labour provisions in trade arrangements. The evidence-based policy research conducted under the project is intended to contribute to the development of (a) capacity-building activities for stakeholders (including the social partners); (b) web-based analytical tools; and (c) tripartite dialogue on issues related to trade and the labour market.

Research questions

  • How can one assess and help to channel the effects of trade on the labour market so as to benefit a wider range of workers and enterprises?
  • How can domestic institutions play a stronger role in supporting sustainable growth through trade?
  • How can policy coherence be promoted at the international and regional level, and also for governments, enterprises and workers in individual countries?

Outputs and key activities

  1. Publication of two edited volumes on inclusive trade and policies to achieve better social, labour market and sustainable enterprise outcomes;
  2. Organization of tripartite workshops on trade and decent work with the participation of government officials and the social partners;
  3. Development of an integrated web portal on trade, decent work and sustainable development;
  4. Organization of a regional tripartite training seminar on labour provisions in trade arrangements.