Employers Federation of Pakistan appointed as the national focal point for promoting the ILO MNE Declaration in Pakistan

Pakistan is the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to appoint a national focal point for the promotion of the MNE Declaration and the application of its principles.

Press release | Islamabad, Pakistan | 27 January 2021
ISLAMABAD (ILO News): A tripartite meeting of the ILO constituents was held at the ILO Country Office Islamabad on 7th December 2020 to agree on the Terms of Reference of the national focal point for Promoting the MNE Declaration in Pakistan. The representatives of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Department (MOPHRD), Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP), and Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) attended the tripartite meeting. The meeting concluded with a tripartite agreement to nominate the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan as the national focal point for the promotion of the ILO MNE Declaration. This appointment is on a rotational basis - the EFP will serve as the focal point for a period of three years after which the role will be rotated among Workers and Government.

This appointment made through tripartite consultation reflects the long-standing commitment of the tripartite constituents in Pakistan to give effect to the principles of the MNE Declaration. The tripartite meeting was conducted with ILO technical assistance through the "More and Better Jobs through Socially Responsible Labour Practices in Pakistan" (MNED project) funded by the Government of Japan which promotes sustainable and responsible business in the Sialkot sports-goods manufacturing industry since 2015. The EFP has been spearheading efforts to generate decent work through socially responsible labour practices. The meeting was attended by Mr Zahoor Awan, General Secretary PWF, Mr Usman Raja, Deputy Secretary, MOPHRD, Mr Zaki Ahmed Khan, Vice President EFP, Mr Fasihul Karim Siddiqi, Advisor EFP, Ms Ingrid Christensen, Country Director, ILO, and was facilitated by Mr Saghir Bukhari, Senior Programme Officer ILO.

During the meeting, the tripartite constituents also reflected on the achievements made to date on the implementation of the MNED project. EFP provided a comprehensive report on the activities conducted including a series of factory-based training on improving productivity and competitiveness, occupation safety and health (OSH), Fundamental Principles and Rights at Works, and the MNED Principles. In 2020 alone, three hundred fifty-three managers and workers from 14 enterprises of the Sialkot Sports Goods Industry participated in this training.

The terms of reference for the national focal point on the promotion of ILO MNE Declaration in Pakistan include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Raising awareness of principles of the MNE Declaration amongst government ministries and agencies, multinational enterprises and employers’ and workers’ organizations;
  • Organizing capacity-building events;
  • Developing on-line information and dialogue platforms in local languages where possible;
  • Promoting the ILO Helpdesk for Business and the Company-Union Dialogue.
Following the establishment of a dialogue platform, the national focal point is expected to organize tripartite-plus dialogues with the involvement of sectoral associations, business associations, the tripartite constituents and multinational enterprises to discuss and identify opportunities and challenges for advancing decent work presented by operations of multinational enterprises in the national context. Such dialogues could build on the past experience, lessons learned and best practices from the industry; and they could also encompass dialogues between home and host countries, as outlined in paragraph 12 of the MNE Declaration.

Mr Usman Raja, Deputy Secretary, MOPHRD welcomed the appointment of a national focal point as this could strengthen the efforts towards promoting the principles enshrined in the MNE Declaration. He also endorsed the decision to rotate the responsibility among the constituents after every three years.

Mr Zahoor Awan, General Secretary PWF, shared that the PWF was committed to promote the principles of MNE Declaration in collaboration and coordination with EFP in order to promote decent work, including the promotion of the fundamental principles and rights at work.

Mr Zaki Ahmed Khan thanked the tripartite constituents for reposing their confidence in EFP and appointing EFP as the national focal point. He shared his confidence in EFP to perform its obligations under the TORs; the MNE Declaration will be promoted with a greater responsibility by engaging sectoral and business associations and relevant stakeholders.

Ms Ingrid Christensen, Country Director ILO, congratulated the tripartite partners for reaching a consensus in a tripartite manner and expressed the hope that the EFP and tripartite partners will act in close collaboration and partnership to engage multinational and national enterprises, foreign buyers, and other stakeholders to promote the Principles of MNED in the larger interest of long-term business sustainability in Pakistan.

EFP has been leading efforts to advance socially responsible business and labour practices through the implementation of the project "More and Better Jobs through Socially Responsible Labour Practices in Pakistan" since 2015. The MNED project, currently in its third phase, is funded by the Government of Japan through its Fund for Building Social Safety Nets in Asia and the Pacific (SSN Fund).