THIRTEENTH ITEM ON THE AGENDA
Report of the Committee on Technical Cooperation
I. The ILO's technical cooperation
II. Effect to be given to the Conclusions concerning the role of the ILO in technical cooperation, adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 87th Session (June 1999): Implementation plan
1. The Committee on Technical Cooperation met on 8 and 12 November 1999, chaired by Mr. Aboye (Government, Ethiopia). The Employer and Worker Vice-Chairpersons were Mr. Hoff and Mr. Agyei respectively.
2. The Committee had the following agenda:
3. The Chairperson referred to the Conclusions concerning the role of the ILO in technical cooperation, adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 87th Session (June 1999) which called for a review of technical cooperation within the ILO and for the development of an Implementation Plan. He emphasized the important role played by the Committee in providing guidance to the Office on the basis of the Office papers.
The ILO's technical cooperation programme,
Effect to be given to the Conclusions
role of the ILO in technical cooperation, adopted
by the International Labour Conference at its
87th Session (June 1999): Implementation plan
4. The representative of the Director-General (Mr. Trémeaud, Executive Director responsible for the Regions and Technical Cooperation), introducing the first two items, drew attention to the main trends of 1998: a decrease in expenditure, compared to 1997, of 13.5 per cent, and a decrease in new approvals of some 32 per cent. These figures showed that further efforts were necessary to reverse this downward trend. The decline in approvals was largely a reflection of the unfavourable resource position of UNDP, with multi-bilateral approvals remaining stable. The situation regarding the delivery was slightly more positive, as it had increased from 55 to 57 per cent over the reporting period.
5. With regard to the substance of technical cooperation in the 1998-99 period, Mr. Trémeaud noted that the report's presentation followed that of the Programme and Budget for 1998-99, but that as from 2000 it would follow the structure of the four strategic objectives.
6. As regards resource mobilization, the report indicated that an increase in approvals was foreseen for the forthcoming biennium. Funding by the multi-bilateral donors continued to look promising: several countries had indicated their readiness to provide more funding, and others had recently concluded agreements with the Office for closer cooperation. Furthermore, attempts would be made to reverse the present trend of funding from development banks and to improve and clarify collaboration with UNDP.
7. Mr. Trémeaud pointed out that the Implementation Plan had been prepared in response to the Conference discussion of June 1999, and followed the three main themes of the Conference Conclusions. The paper provided a comprehensive workplan addressing the issues raised by the Conference. It thus primarily constituted a management tool which, as such, did not address the substance of technical cooperation, which would be the responsibility of the technical staff at headquarters and in the field. He drew attention to the establishment of the Development Cooperation Department, which would work closely with the technical sectors and the InFocus programmes as well as with field staff.
8. The Employer Vice-Chairperson, Mr. Hoff, referred to the Governing Body's supervisory role in relation to technical cooperation activities. This issue had already been discussed in March 1999 when a lightweight system of monitoring had been proposed, but a final decision had been deferred pending further discussions at the June Conference. In section 4 of the appendix to the paper submitted under the second item on the Committee's agenda the Governing Body was invited to decide on the modalities of the supervisory role which it intended to undertake. He urged members of the Committee to confirm the lightweight approach outlined in the Office paper of March and in the Committee's report to the Governing Body at its 274th Session.(1)
9. This proposal took into account the positive experience of the APP evaluation exercise, which not only allowed participants to familiarize themselves with the Office's technical cooperation programme, but also gave field staff the recognition they deserved. The establishment of small tripartite teams for each region to undertake one-week missions to monitor selected projects in close collaboration with the field structure had been suggested. It was considered necessary that a decision be taken at the present session on the budget resources required to allow appointment of the tripartite teams in March 2000.
10. As regards the report on technical cooperation in 1998-99, his group regarded it as a comprehensive overview of the developments of the past year. However, the decrease in expenditure to less than $100 million was of major concern. While the decline in UNDP funding was deplored, it was encouraging that multi-bilateral donors continued to show increasing interest, and the Employers expressed their gratitude for their contribution, which now covered the main share of the ILO's programme.
11. Turning to resource mobilization, Mr. Hoff recognized that while funding continued to decrease, competition was growing. He urged recipients of technical cooperation to take responsibility for providing their own funding, or at least part of it, so as to reinforce the underlying principles of ownership and commitment. With reference to paragraph 144, he requested clarification of the phrase "drying up of the ILO's pipeline" in the context of the APP. Finally, the Employers expressed concern at the unsatisfactory delivery rate and asked how the ILO rated in comparison to other organizations. He confirmed his group's readiness to help alleviate the situation and expressed its appreciation for the two new posts in ACT/EMP, which he felt would help to improve its delivery of technical cooperation activities. As an example of greater employers' involvement, occupational health and safety was a subject on which they had the competence to make a significant contribution.
12. Regarding the Implementation Plan, he complimented the Office for assembling the various components, and felt that it constituted a good monitoring tool for the Committee. He made particular reference to the Employers' past preoccupations with management practices, and reiterated their request that the Office should organize itself so as to be in full command of technical cooperation activities. This would best be done through a unit that would have the full oversight and leadership to act and ensure appropriate action throughout the Office structure. The Employers felt that they could reasonably expect the Director-General to have taken the necessary measures, by March 2000, to establish the authority at the various levels to ensure the implementation of the Conference Conclusions. In conclusion, he emphasized the importance of filling empty posts, especially as so many of the Director's posts were vacant, for example, in the MDTs in Lima, Bangkok, Budapest and Cairo, and he hoped this was the last time the Employers' group would have to raise the issue.
13. Mr. Agyei (Worker Vice-Chairperson), suggested that future reports not only reflect the new programming cycle, but that they be based on the strategic objectives and that they should provide a clear indication of success or failure in the implementation of activities. As regards the trends in expenditure and delivery, he noted the general downward trend in expenditure and the increasing importance of trust funds. He pointed out that some programmes, e.g. the Workers' activities programme, were entirely dependent on trust funds as extra-budgetary resources. Although the delivery rate had slightly improved, it was still thought unsatisfactorily low. The Office was asked to streamline its internal procedures in order to improve delivery. Moreover, developments regarding new fund approvals were alarming, and he recommended that the Office review its priorities and renew its efforts to attract funds from current and new donor countries and approach the international financial institutions.
14. His group noted that Employment promotion and poverty alleviation was still the most important technical cooperation programme, and underlined the increased importance of the Entrepreneurship and management development programme, whereas programmes on international labour standards seemed to be decreasing. The decrease of about one-third in the Cooperatives programme and of 42 per cent in other employment programmes such as the Employment intensive works programme were a cause for concern. The Office was asked whether these decreases reflected a deliberate policy, and how the new Development Cooperation Department intended to influence such developments in future.
15. Regarding specific activities in 1998, the Worker Vice-Chairperson requested the Office to provide information regarding the results of the recommendations made by the Tripartite Meeting on Export-Processing Zones and on the role of technical cooperation in the promotion of international labour standards in the African and American regions. While the Workers' programme appeared to be larger than that for the Employers, he underlined that Employers benefited from many of the activities taking place under the large Enterprise programme, especially those included in the Entrepreneurship and management development programme. Finally, the Office was requested to do more on gender mainstreaming, and was commended on the results of the external evaluation of the projects on gender training for ILO staff and constituents and women workers' rights.
16. As regards the Implementation Plan, he stressed the importance of enhancing the relevance of ILO technical cooperation. The need to address weaknesses in administrative, financial and personnel procedures was fully supported, and an in-depth survey of these problems was suggested. However, he questioned the exact meaning of the reference to incentives to promote a sound technical cooperation programme.
17. The most important issue raised in both documents was that of evaluation. As regards integrating tripartite involvement at all stages of technical cooperation, the Workers' group felt that the involvement of the social partners should not be limited to the formulation, follow-up and evaluation of the country objectives. Rather, as noted in the report of the International Labour Conference, tripartite involvement should exist at all stages -- from formulation to management and implementation -- with a view to strengthening the capacity of the constituents. This issue was not adequately covered in the Implementation Plan.
18. The Worker members welcomed the report's emphasis on the integration of regional and subregional perspectives in a number of important areas, but noted that the Implementation Plan did not fully indicate how the Office intended to address these issues. This also applied to the efforts to strengthen links between international labour standards and technical cooperation. In this respect the Office was urged to define the exact functions and terms of reference of the proposed focal point on international labour standards to ensure the effectiveness of this function.
19. The Worker members emphasized the need for transparency and accountability of the different programmes and welcomed the proposals regarding evaluation in the Implementation Plan, regretting that these would only be implemented as of 2000 year. The importance of external evaluation should be noted and more information on the MERS procedure would be welcome.
20. Finally, he recalled the suggestion that the mid-term report on the progress of the Implementation Plan could provide an opportunity for the Committee to carry out an in-depth review of one or more programmes and to establish more precise guidelines. Adequate resources should be set aside for this purpose.
21. The representative of the Government of France, speaking on behalf of the IMEC group, welcomed the Implementation Plan, which she felt reflected the findings and conclusions of the International Labour Conference. The IMEC members were concerned that promotional follow-up on the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work should be ensured. The document did not provide a clear view of the financial allocations to the different priority areas. Nor was it clear how the Implementation Plan would relate to policy-making within the four Strategic Objectives, the Operational Objectives or the InFocus Programmes, or how it would incorporate the cross-cutting issues of gender and development.
22. The IMEC members stressed that the ILO should have an integrated approach that clearly indicated priorities and allocated funds accordingly. Regarding resource mobilization, she recommended that the ILO should identify its areas of comparative advantage and set its priorities accordingly. To enhance resource mobilization, the ILO would have to improve its delivery rate and establish clear lines of management and accountability. IMEC further believed that a stronger and more efficient evaluation procedure, including the use of external evaluation and a review of reporting procedures, was important, as was better cooperation with other actors, including UN agencies and other partners, especially in the field. More information was sought on the means and ways of implementing the Plan together with performance indicators.
23. With regard to the Governing Body's supervision of technical cooperation, she recalled that no firm decision on modalities had been taken at previous meetings. As an alternative to visits to the field, the Committee might consider requesting regional directors or programme managers to give presentations on specific programmes.
24. On the whole, the Implementation Plan was appreciated as a useful tool for monitoring the implementation of the Conference Conclusions. She requested a more detailed version of the document, which included budgetary elements and managerial accountability with clear targets and indicators, which should be presented in March 2000.
25. Mr. Anand (Employer member) considered that the regional dimension of technical cooperation remained somewhat weak in substantial terms. He suggested that the ILO redesign and revitalize its structure in this regard with a view to promoting and monitoring regional trends, reformulating policies and ensuring rapid response to regional challenges of adjustment and accelerated socio-economic growth. South Asia was an example where country objectives were not always met and seldom reviewed, and where expert positions remained vacant. Since the ILO's main priority in the regions was to generate productive employment and alleviate poverty, the current extensive and culturally diverse regions should be divided into cohesive subregional units allowing more efficient utilization of resources and optimum coordination with the social partners, an essential prerequisite for the success of the InFocus programmes.
26. He further expressed the hope that in the review of the field structure, due consultation would take place with the Committee to ensure a more efficient and accessible service structure in the field which, drawing on the resources of the Organization as a whole, could respond to the needs of constituents. As regards decentralization, the design and implementation of the InFocus programmes should not be solely driven from headquarters. One of the conclusions of the Governing Body evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy was its endorsement of the policy, with a decentralized structure as its central feature for delivering technical cooperation. The review of the field structure should therefore not result in "recentralization" or a rolling back of decentralization, but rather to adapting the present system wherever necessary to give effect to the strategic objectives. This implied a clearer definition of roles and responsibilities between headquarters, regional offices, area offices and MDTs, as well as the incorporation of the important contribution the social partners could make.
27. There was a need for a specialist in programme of activities for Employers in the Turin Centre to promote such activities, including designing programmes and the promotion of capacity building. If initial seed funding was available from the Centre's internal resources, such a programme could be developed and in due course be financially self-reliant by attracting further donor funding.
28. As regards the supervisory role of the Governing Body, he stressed that, in deciding on the modalities, the ILO's commitment to democratic approaches and the participation of the social partners must be maintained in accordance with the ILO's constitutional mandate whereby the Governing Body exercised the supervisory authority on its structures and programmes. Here he drew attention to the recommendations of the Working Party on the Evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy, as endorsed by the Committee in March 1999 and upheld at the International Labour Conference in June 1999. Delays in implementation of these recommendations would be contrary to the dynamic working environment pursued by all Committee members.
29. The representative of the Government of Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of the African Government members, referring to the report on technical cooperation in 1998-99, stressed the importance of technical cooperation in the context of globalization, social exclusion, abject poverty, and inequalities of income and opportunity. In the next century the challenge for the ILO would be to ensure that technical cooperation based on the four strategic objectives contributed to the goal of promoting international economic prosperity and international labour standards while maintaining coherence, quality and effectiveness and ensuring its impact of Office programmes. African countries were deeply affected by these concerns and required assistance from the international community. The African Government members appreciated the multi-bilateral donors' support for the ILO's technical cooperation programme as well as the Office's efforts to extend collaboration with non-traditional partners. He called on the Office to intensify its dialogue with UNDP, which was the ILO's largest single donor. He also urged the Office to collaborate with the World Health Organization to address the problem of AIDS, which was seriously affecting many African countries.
30. The African Government members were concerned at the decline in technical cooperation resources, and not least at the 16 per cent decrease in resources for the African region between 1993 and 1997 in spite of the priority given to this region by the Office. They called on multi-bilateral donors to increase allocations to the region. Referring to the drop in the overall delivery rate, and despite the slight increase for the African region between 1997 and 1998, it was recommended that the Office immediately fill vacant posts and that an additional MDT for English-speaking West Africa be created. As regards the share of resources by substantive area, they supported all four strategic objectives, but regretted the decline in the share of resources assigned to employment promotion as reflected in the report. He commended the collaboration between the ILO and the UNDP in this area and urged its strengthening and growth, particularly with respect to activities related to small enterprise development and the informal sector. The Jobs for Africa Programme needed an injection of resources and a proper management structure. Noting that the LDCs' share of resources had remained constant, he encouraged the Office to improve resource allocations in favour of those countries.
31. The representative of the Government of China considered that technical cooperation was an essential instrument for the ILO to achieve its goals. Given the decline in resources, the relevance and efficiency of technical cooperation should be enhanced and its quality and visibility improved, backed by a strengthened resource mobilization effort. He stressed the importance of an effective monitoring system and that it was essential for the technical cooperation programme to demonstrate initiatives taken to meet all four strategic objectives.
32. With respect to the Implementation Plan, he expressed some concern about the reference to strengthening links between the Declaration and international labour standards in general, and with technical cooperation. He emphasized that no preconditions for technical cooperation should be set. He expressed the hope that MDTs would increase in number in the future so as to respond more effectively to the needs of constituents. Finally, he asked the Office to clarify the meaning of "non-traditional partners" in Part III of the Implementation Plan.
33. Referring to the question of involving the Governing Body in the monitoring of technical cooperation through a yearly mission to a region, the representative of the Director-General (Mr. Trémeaud, Executive Director) informed the meeting that an expected amount of approximately US$160,000 would be required per biennium for this purpose. The allocation of these resources would have to be made by the Governing Body through the Programme, Financial and Administrative Committee.
34. The representative of the Government of Namibia supported the statement made on behalf of the African Government group. Commenting on the review of the field structure, he stressed the importance both of structuring the field along the lines of the four strategic objectives and ensuring that the MDTs were equipped accordingly. He further urged the Office to use local expertise wherever possible in order to fill existing vacancies in MDTs in Africa. He expressed concern about the Jobs for Africa programme, for which the ILO had seemingly not committed resources. In his view, it was not advisable to rely solely on external funding for such an important programme. He stressed the important role of the country objectives in guiding the activities and evaluation at the country level. Focusing on the evaluation issue, he agreed that tripartite evaluations of projects were invaluable and referred to recent experience described in the report. He appreciated the interest of the Employers' group in evaluation and the merit of its proposal, but considered that a clearer idea of the type of evaluation required was first necessary.
35. The representative of the Government of Slovakia fully endorsed the position of the IMEC group. He expressed appreciation of the work conducted in his country by the MDT in Budapest, and stressed the urgency of promptly appointing a new Director for this MDT.
36. Expressing his appreciation of the many and varied activities carried out by the ILO in the Russian Federation in cooperation with local partners over the previous biennium, the representative of the Government of the Russian Federation expressed his hope that such cooperation would continue in the future. He drew specific attention to the round table recently held in Moscow which had addressed priority areas and included major donor as well as executing agencies.
37. The representative of the Government of Saudi Arabia expressed concern at the reduction in expenditure and resources allocated to the Arab region. He also noted the limited number of Arab experts employed and hoped that this would be rectified in the future. While there were a number of MDTs in Arab countries, the ILO needed to consider the Arab world as a single area for the development of joint programmes and activities, and further coordination and communication between the Office in Beirut and the Regional Office in Abidjan was therefore necessary.
38. The representative of the Government of Italy expressed his appreciation of the importance attributed to technical cooperation by the last International Labour Conference and the subsequent reorganization of the sector. He also considered that the implementation of the proposed plan was an important step towards achieving a more visible, effective and efficient programme of technical cooperation and strengthening partnership with the constituents and donors. He noted with concern the low delivery rate, particularly in some regions, and urged the Office to inform the Committee of any action undertaken to address this problem. He reiterated the interest of the Italian Government in the IPEC programme and made reference to other technical cooperation programmes sponsored by his Government. He considered that better communications with donor countries could result in greater funding for technical cooperation. In this respect, the role of ILO Offices in those countries could be considered. He supported the initiative taken by the Office to review its cooperation with UNDP, strengthen field coordination within UNDAF, and increase funding for ILO technical cooperation. Finally, he referred to the priority attached by his Government to the social dimensions of development for the allocation of financial resources.
39. The representative of the Government of India expressed concern at the decrease in expenditure and delivery and looked forward to receiving information on the measures taken by the Office to address this issue. Employment promotion should continue to receive the highest priority and the largest share of resources. Focusing on the Asian region, he noted with concern that UNDP was giving funding priority to NGOs, and requested the Office to look into this question which he felt could affect programmes in the long run. To improve the quality of services, he considered it essential for operational activities to be designed, monitored and evaluated with external and internal assistance, and referred to a specific project in India where such an exercise had proved extremely positive. In reiterating the quality of services, he referred to the important role of a sound personnel policy and encouraged the mobility of personnel between headquarters and the field, and among field offices, and urged the increased use of national expertise.
40. Commenting on the Implementation Plan, he welcomed the initiative of a policy statement on technical cooperation by the year 2000. He was concerned at the increasing reliance on extra-budgetary funding and donor-driven cooperation for important technical cooperation programmes on socially sensitive issues: technical cooperation should encompass a unique programming framework with both regular and extra-budgetary resources, and no conditionalities. Referring to the recommendations of the Working Party on the Evaluation of the APP, he welcomed the suggestion regarding greater involvement of the constituents in field programmes. The Office needed to attribute the highest priority to the implementation of country objectives and the Committee should closely follow developments in this respect. He further supported the strategic objectives approach, signalling the securement of productive employment and income for men and women as the most important. He also underlined the significance of the promotion of ILO fundamental Conventions and the follow-up on the Declaration, and stressed that technical cooperation programmes should aim at facilitating the ratification of the core Conventions. He questioned the need for the establishment of a focal point on international labour standards, and requested clarification on this matter.
41. The representative of the Government of Croatia considered that the annual report lacked information on the outcome and impact of the activities. To illustrate this she cited paragraph 49 where she felt that information was incomplete, but was pleased to note that mention was made of obstacles encountered in the implementation of technical cooperation programmes in section VII. In many cases these were caused by insufficient evaluation and consultations with constituents. As regards the Implementation Plan, she appreciated the efforts to improve the quality and visibility of technical cooperation and welcomed the timetable set for addressing technical cooperation evaluation questions. She requested the Office to provide further information to provide the Governing Body with elements to evaluate technical cooperation programmes. She endorsed the comment made by the representative of the Government of Slovakia regarding the MDT in Budapest and hoped that the positive cooperation established with the team would continue.
42. The representative of the Government of Japan thanked the Office for the Implementation Plan, which reflected the Conference Conclusions. She fully supported the statement by the IMEC members and highlighted two particular issues. First, it was necessary to increase responsibilities and capacities at the field level. Decentralization was essential to ensure that technical cooperation programmes were demand-driven. In this respect, she had some difficulties understanding the text of section I.2(b) of the Implementation Plan related to the integration of regional and subregional perspectives into technical cooperation programmes. Subregional strategies should be formulated by the field, with the support of technical sectors at headquarters. Regarding the modalities for the supervisory role of the Governing Body, she supported the proposal put forward by the IMEC group, which was cost-effective, and welcomed more direct contacts between the Committee and programme managers. Finally, she stressed the need for consultation with constituents when reviewing the field structure.
43. The representative of the Government of Germany, commenting on the statement made by the previous speaker, felt that information on the a breakdown of resources for headquarters and the field would be useful for a discussion on the appropriate distribution of responsibilities. He requested the Office to provide information on the current status of negotiations with the European Union. Commenting on the apparent differences in the position of the Employers and Government representatives on the modalities for involving the Governing Body in monitoring technical cooperation, he stressed that evaluation was not an end in itself. He pointed out that the Office was carrying out internal assessments and evaluations, and observed that 61 per cent of technical cooperation resources were trust funds with related evaluation provisions. He cautioned against provoking evaluation overload, and stressed the importance of a clear understanding of the kind of evaluations being considered for Governing Body involvement. In his view, it was also advisable to await the outcome of the ILO's field restructuring before deciding on evaluation needs and modalities.
44. Mr. Jeetun (Employer member) welcomed the Implementation Plan as a tool to put into practice the Conference Conclusions. The successful realization of the plan would depend on the Office's ability to deliver. This in turn required adequate levels of staff with the necessary competence and skills, and he emphasized the importance of ensuring that the MDTs were effectively staffed to discharge the key role they would have to play, particularly in terms of regional and subregional needs. As regards the role of the Governing Body in evaluation, he recalled that during the Conference discussions there had been no challenge to the involvement of the Governing Body in evaluation. The cost estimates provided by the secretariat were not excessive, and the benefits more than justified the expenditure. As regards the time-frame given in the Implementation Plan, he expressed concern at the apparent short-term perspective. The plan should be longer term but time-bound, and the Office should specify what it hoped to achieve over a given period. The Conference had called for a mid-term review on the implementation of the Conclusions. The concept of an internal ILO communications strategy, as discussed in June, had not been adequately reflected in the Implementation Plan. The action to be taken on an external communications strategy was weak. Finally, he suggested that the ILO library should play a significant role as a central store of information for the development of quality programmes.
45. The representative of the Government of the United Kingdom strongly supported the statement made on behalf of the IMEC members. She emphasized the low delivery rate, which might send out negative signals on ILO capacity with adverse consequences for future resource mobilization initiatives. She supported the calls for greater collaboration with other agencies in the field as well as for better bilateral and multilateral cooperation. She noted that the United Kingdom wished to collaborate with the ILO through her Government's country programmes, and asked the Office to consider ways in which this could be done at the field level. Commenting on the relationship between the field structure and headquarters, she suggested that service delivery based on the ILO's strategic objectives should be based on a structured process of negotiations which would give field managers the flexibility to implement the objectives in the most effective way possible. The resulting plans must obviously be responsive to the needs of the country and/or region, and to global initiatives. Follow-up on the Declaration should also help to identify technical cooperation needs for the implementation of core labour standards. She welcomed the proposals aimed at strengthening partnerships and dialogue with other agencies and organizations in civil society, particularly NGOs. With regard to the Governing Body and evaluation, she supported the IMEC position, as well as the statement made by the representative of the Government of Japan. The most cost-effective modality would be for programme managers to account directly to the Committee. Before a decision could be taken, the Office should provide information on the cost, what activities would be cut to meet the cost, the value that would be added by such a modality, and the advantages compared with other possible alternatives and their costs.
46. The representative of the Government of the United States felt that the Committee would be better able to review the technical cooperation programme if data were provided on the impact of activities on beneficiaries. She therefore welcomed the initiatives proposed in the Implementation Plan, which would meet these concerns, and looked forward to the further development of the plan. She highlighted the importance of linking regular budget and extra-budgetary resources within a single programming framework. The importance of clarifying the relationship between the technical sectors and the field in order to ensure coherence and accountability in ILO technical cooperation was also stressed. Coherence was essential to ensure that all the assistance provided by the ILO addressed the country needs in terms of the strategic objectives.
47. The representative of the Government of the United States suggested that the review of the field structure should not prejudge existing arrangements and should aim to identify the structure that would maximize efficiency and effectiveness. She encouraged strengthened collaboration with other organizations and noted that the ILO needed to take advantage of the areas in which it could make a unique contribution. She agreed with the principle that the Governing Body should play a significant monitoring role and endorsed the IMEC proposals concerning the modality. Finally, she urged the Office and the Committee to bear in mind that the ultimate goal was to ensure that the highest possible quality of technical cooperation services was provided to constituents.
48. The representative of the Arab Labour Organization endorsed the comments made by the representative of the Government of Saudi Arabia concerning the need to strengthen ILO technical cooperation in the Arab world. He drew attention to the fact that the annual report failed to deal with ALO/ILO cooperation and cited examples of such collaboration, including the drawing up a number of joint programmes which he hoped would be implemented. He called on the MDTs and the regional offices to renew their efforts with respect to technical cooperation in the region, and welcomed the initiative of the regional offices in Abidjan and Beirut to pool resources and ensure regional coverage in a number of technical cooperation initiatives. He referred to the endemic problem of inadequate human and financial resources and hoped that there would be increased remedial action, urging that the situation be assessed directly in the region. He also drew attention to the need for increased support to be given to Iraq on labour issues and also called for a mission to the country. He also noted that on previous occasions, the Office had prepared a report on assistance provided to the Palestinian people and hoped that this document would be submitted in due course.
49. The representative of the Government of the Netherlands supported the statement made on behalf of the IMEC group. Referring to the linking and presentation of technical cooperation and regular budget activities under a common programming framework, she felt this would contribute to a better understanding by the Governing Body of the full amount of resources allocated to each of the strategic objectives. She also expressed concern at the delivery rate and welcomed further examination of this issue, since it was of particular relevance to donors. The absence of cost implications in the Implementation Plan prevented the Committee from arriving at an overall assessment. As regards the proposal on the modalities for the Governing Body's supervisory role, she expressed a preference for the proposal to extend an invitation to regional directors and programme managers to attend the Committee with a view to improving dialogue. Finally, she emphasized the importance attached by her Government to the efforts made by the Office to improve relations with UNDP and the UNDAF exercises.
50. Speaking on behalf of the African Government members, the representative of the Government of Ethiopia stated that technical cooperation should remain a major means of action for the ILO. Improvements in delivery and in ensuring an effective evaluation and monitoring system were naturally an important consideration. He noted the encouraging performance of the Turin Centre, but felt that the cost of training programmes was often too high for African countries. Referring to employment as the key issue in the region, he underlined the particular significance of the Jobs for Africa programme. The region supported the promotion of international labour standards, provided there was no conditionality involved. Finally, regarding the Implementation Plan, he indicated that the plan responded well to the request made by the Conference and set clear objectives, but appropriate performance indicators were needed.
51. The representative of the Government of Canada supported the statement made on behalf of the IMEC group. She stressed the importance of earmarking the scarce technical cooperation resources for priority activities. The resource mobilization strategy endorsed by the Governing Body in 1997 provided some guidelines in this respect. However, new developments such as the adoption of the Declaration, the new strategic programme and budget, the Conference discussion on technical cooperation, and the new Convention on child labour each had an impact on resource mobilization, and she was interested in seeing how these recent developments had been taken into account. With respect to the private sector, there was clearly a need to develop guidelines for these new partnerships. As regards the delivery rate, she welcomed the measures foreseen in paragraph 158 of the annual report which were particularly important given that the Office could not justifiably retain funds which it could not utilize. She endorsed the comments made by the IMEC countries on the modalities for the Governing Body's supervisory role. The resources needed to fund this proposal could better be used on issues such as the delivery rate and independent evaluation. She referred to the preparation and monitoring of country objectives as a key instrument for the tripartite constituency. She expressed her appreciation for the initiative taken at the recent Fourteenth American Regional Meeting to develop a technical cooperation programme based on the four strategic objectives and the Declaration.
52. The representative of the Government of France endorsed the statement made on behalf of the IMEC group. He pointed out that in examining the Office's annual report, it was interesting to note that the ILO represented the most significant actor in technical cooperation in the social field, a fact which was underestimated in its overall programme of work. He remarked on the diversity of its activities, but warned against the risk of dispersion. The evaluation process needed to be modernized and strengthened to improve the implementation of activities under both budgetary and extra-budgetary resources. He confirmed his Government's support for the objectives listed in connection with the Implementation Plan, but would like to see further indications on how they would be attained. He referred to the need to ensure the successful functioning of headquarters and field operations, the association of tripartite partners in the technical cooperation programme, and the link between standards and technical cooperation. He supported the statement made by the representative of the Government of the Netherlands on the subject of modalities for the supervisory mechanism by the Governing Body.
53. The representative of the Government of Sudan supported the statement made on behalf on the African Government group. He had difficulty in understanding the decrease in ILO technical cooperation resources, which did not coincide with the commitments made at the World Summit for Social Development. He requested information on the efforts undertaken to increase funding from the UNDP and the Bretton Woods institutions. Technical cooperation in Africa should take into account the problems related to situations of civil unrest and post-conflict needs. Finally, he called for a regional breakdown of the Implementation Plan to ensure its effectiveness at the regional level.
54. The representative of the Government of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya also endorsed the statement made by the African Government group. He regretted the decrease in resources for technical cooperation and expressed the hope that this situation would improve in the future. He emphasized the need for better coordination between ILO regional offices to ensure that as many countries as possible in the Arab region benefited from ILO assistance. He also urged greater cooperation between the ILO and the Arab Labour Organization. Recalling Libyan Arab Jamahiriya's experience with an embargo, he urged the ILO to pay special attention to countries in similar circumstances and thus contribute to the alleviation of suffering.
55. Mr. Owuor (Employer member) supported the statement made by Mr. Hoff on behalf of the Employer members. He further expressed concern at the low delivery rate and urged the Office to look into the matter and inform the Committee accordingly. He was pleased to see the excellent programme for Workers' activities carried out by the Turin Centre, and hoped that in the future, with the effective participation of an Employers' specialist at the Centre, they could benefit from an equally productive programme. He encouraged the ILO to work closely with WHO in addressing the problem of HIV/AIDS in Africa. As regards the Implementation Plan proposed by the Office, he welcomed the development of more effective partnerships, but warned against compromising the ILO's values or tripartite structure. The text of the Implementation Plan in this respect should record the exact wording of the Conference conclusions.
56. The representative of the Government of Cyprus endorsed the statement made by the IMEC group and stressed the importance of technical cooperation and its links with the four strategic objectives. In referring to the modalities of the Governing Body's supervisory role, she supported the proposal made by countries of the IMEC group, but suggested that on occasion a proposal along the lines of that put forward by the Employers' group could, in addition, be presented for consideration by the Governing Body.
57. The representative of the Director-General (Mr. Trémeaud, Executive Director) thanked speakers for their statements and support. He grouped his reply to the various questions raised under five headings:
58. With regard to volume, Mr. Trémeaud deplored the substantial reduction in technical cooperation activities in 1998, but observed that similar reductions had been noted in many other UN agencies. In recognizing the need to reverse this trend, he informed the Committee of the target set by the Office to increase the extra-budgetary resources by 20 per cent in the next biennium. He provided some encouraging information on the multi-bilateral programme, and recalled initiatives being taken with UNDP and the international financial institutions. Mr. Trémeaud also made reference to the agreement recently signed between the European Union and the United Nations. Finally, on this topic, he indicated that the ILO was multiplying its contacts with private sources and gradual progress was anticipated, though the ILO still had to define a clear policy with respect to the receipt of private sector funds.
59. Programming was a rather complex exercise which could not be carried out in a global or centralized manner. Demands coming from the field through the country objectives should be taken into consideration and integrated in the strategic approach. It should not prove difficult to improve dialogue and negotiation with constituents in order to better combine their requirements and the ILO's capacity to respond since, as recent analysis had demonstrated, more than 75 per cent of the demands from the field already fell within the strategic objectives. On the other hand, there was a need to strengthen dialogue with the donors and to integrate their priorities with those of the Office, an equilibrium which was not always easy to attain.
60. Mr. Trémeaud emphasized the efforts that the Office would deploy to improve the execution of its technical cooperation. Field offices should be technically equipped and have RBTC resources available to develop programmes that could attract external resources. As stipulated in the Implementation Plan, there was a need to provide guidance, initiatives and training to improve the quality of technical cooperation projects. Decentralization would continue, but with renewed dialogue between the parties concerned.
61. He took note of the request for an Employers' specialist at the Turin Centre. He also assured the Committee that resources for activities related to international labour standards had not diminished, and provided information on specific developments in this area. He reiterated the promotional role of the Declaration and dispelled doubts on the issue of conditionality in technical cooperation. In response to various questions on how the Implementation Plan would be carried out both at headquarters and in the field, Mr. Trémeaud cited the example of the recent Fourteenth American Regional Meeting where, as mentioned already by the representative of the Government of Canada, a technical cooperation plan had been established within the framework of the four strategic objectives. External consultations would take place on the occasion of the African Regional Meeting in Abidjan in December. In Asia, a meeting scheduled to take place shortly would analyse how the region could concentrate efforts and reply to constituents' demands within the framework of the strategic objectives. A meeting was also taking place in Cambodia concerning follow-up on the Declaration and the possible implications for technical cooperation.
62. As regards management, Mr. Trémeaud spoke of the obstacles which might delay delivery, and explained the functioning of a monitoring mechanism that was to be put in place not only to alert units whenever delivery problems were detected, but also to suggest corrective measures. On the implementation of the Plan, he informed the Committee of the creation of the new Development Cooperation Department and outlined its units and tasks. He also stressed the priority that would be given to evaluation questions. Finally, with reference to the field structure, he underlined its main objective -- to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness in the external services without radically changing the present structure. A general consensus existed on the need to merge area offices and MDT's. A proposal would be presented to the Director-General, and further consultations with the field offices would take place.
63. Mr. Hoff (Employer Vice-Chairperson), speaking on behalf of the Employer members, expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of dialogue on matters of major importance, notably the recommendation of the Working Party on the Evaluation of the APP to have a tripartite monitoring system for technical cooperation activities. He felt that additional time was required to conclude discussions and to avoid a forced decision. Not all members had followed the debate in its entirety. He felt that the proposal made by the IMEC members was inappropriate. The evaluation of the APP by the Governing Body had been very useful and had generated great interest in evaluations among the members of the Committee. The estimated cost made by the Office (US$20,000 per region per year) for the proposal was, in his opinion, small compared to the benefits that could be attained. This had been the subject of discussion since November 1998, and despite a request for other proposals, none had been forthcoming. The International Labour Conference had also confirmed that a monitoring system was necessary. Finally, he pointed out that not only the Employers' and Workers' groups were in favour of this proposal, but that some Government members might also be in agreement.
64. The representative of the Government of France, speaking on behalf of the IMEC group, stated that the IMEC group had given very serious consideration to the discussions, and underlined that the modalities for the supervisory role of the Governing Body put forward by them constituted sound proposals.
65. At the Committee's resumed sitting the Chairperson explained that he had undertaken extensive consultations with the Officers of the Committee and other members. It had been agreed that the best course of action would be to have the Officers of the Committee, in close consultation with representatives of the groups, engage in further discussions on the various proposals and modalities raised. These discussions would be held well before the next session of the Governing Body in March 2000. He therefore presented to the Committee the proposals detailed in the point for decision below.
66. The Employer Vice-Chairperson expressed the willingness of his group to look at the different ideas being elaborated for the proposed meeting of the Officers, on the understanding that there already existed a Governing Body decision for an enhanced role of the Governing Body in monitoring technical cooperation. It was not intended to repeat the APP evaluation, but rather to have a lightweight regional monitoring mechanism to give the members of the Committee a balanced view through practical experience. He referred to the report of the Joint Inspection Unit regarding further evaluation of the APP, which would be examined in the future. The Office was requested to prepare and forward all relevant materials for the Officers' meeting to enable all groups to do the necessary preparatory work. To allow for decisions to be made by the Governing Body in March and for the implementation without delay of the agreed monitoring system thereafter, the Employers' and Workers' groups had agreed to prepare in advance for the nomination of their representatives to be involved in the exercise. He expressed the support of his group to the proposals put forward.
67. The Worker Vice-Chairperson supported the Chairperson's proposals and called for greater tripartite involvement in the monitoring process. He reiterated the request of the previous speaker for documents on the proposals for the timely preparation of the forthcoming meetings.
68. The representative of the Government of France, speaking on behalf of the IMEC group, noted that the resources for technical cooperation were limited and that there was a need to concentrate on priority areas. With regard to the Governing Body's supervisory role, the IMEC members were of the opinion that the Governing Body should set policy priorities and not become involved in the management of the work by the Office. However, she emphasized the importance of reporting to the Governing Body to ensure that appropriate policy decisions were made. She reminded the Committee that evaluation was an integral part of the new programme and budget proposals for the next biennium, and that a streamlining of the field structure was planned for the following year. In this context any definitive decisions on the exact involvement of the Governing Body would be premature. She reiterated the proposal put forward by the IMEC group for briefings by regional directors and programme managers both from headquarters and the field. She further recalled that as part of the IMEC group's proposal, structured reports should be submitted to the Governing Body which should include programme objectives, reports on progress, coordination with other donors and the involvement of governments and social partners in the field, along with the lessons learnt. She also suggested the possibility that the External Auditor might undertake special studies, as well as the extension of invitations to Governing Body members to attend meetings on technical cooperation at the Turin Centre. The IMEC group supported the proposals made by the Chairperson.
69. The representative of the Government of Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of the African Government members, expressed the group's full support for the Chairperson's proposal. He noted that any evaluation and monitoring exercise should be output-oriented and based on country objectives, and that the recipient countries should be involved wherever possible. The mechanism put in place should not constitute a permanent structure, but should be continuously reviewed and have clear objectives. The proposals made so far would need to be detailed, taking into consideration the comprehensive proposals for monitoring and evaluation put forward in the Programme and Budget for 2000-01. He requested background documentation well in advance, but considered that meetings with regional directors and programme managers could not replace the evaluation and monitoring exercise.
70. The representative of the Government of the Philippines, speaking on behalf of the Asian and Pacific Government members, recalled that the monitoring and evaluation of all ILO activities proposed in the Programme and Budget for 2000-01 already provided an integrated framework for an effective monitoring arrangement, and that there might therefore be no need for specific arrangements to be developed by the Committee at this stage.
71. The Chairperson took it that his proposal was approved. In accordance with standard procedures, the Officers would approve the final report to be submitted to the Governing Body, make the necessary arrangements for the meeting of the Officers before the March session, and determine the Committee's agenda for that session.
72. The Committee accordingly recommends to the Governing Body that it request the Director-General --
(a) to convene a meeting of the Officers of the Committee well before the Governing Body session in March 2000 to review the proposals on the modalities of giving effect to a monitoring system, which would be submitted to the Committee on Technical Cooperation in March 2000;
(b) to make the necessary financial provisions for the above meeting;
(c) to calculate the financial provisions necessary to implement the proposals that are tabled before the March 2000 session of the Governing Body, including the cost of the proposal put forward by the Working Party on the Evaluation of the Active Partnership Policy in document GB.274/TC/1.
Further developments regarding technical
activities in the United Nations system
73. The Committee had before it an Office paper on the above subject.(2)
74. Mr. Anand (Employer member) welcomed the Office paper, but was concerned that in some instances the absence of ILO representation in some countries prevented them from participating in UN activities, particularly in those of the UNDAF/CCA, despite their being provided with the opportunity for further collaboration through joint programming. He urged the Office to examine this issue closely. Noting that the UN system favoured coordinated execution of activities, he felt that the ILO network should be prepared, both internally and externally, to play its role in seeking a higher rate of delivery. As regards follow-up on UN global conferences, he noted that considerable responsibility was placed on the ILO. However, it appeared that other units within the UN system were reluctant to accept the vital role played by the ILO's social partners, and continued to encourage and rely on NGOs to address sensitive issues such as child labour outside the scope of international labour standards. He stressed that if the UN system did not ensure coordination with the ILO with a view to adopting a selective approach to NGOs, and in the absence of a firm ILO policy on conditionality, the Office would not only find itself under further pressure from WTO and IPEC programmes, but would also be marginalized through these new emerging organizations, which were being indiscriminately sponsored by the UN system.
75. He voiced the support of the Employers' group for strengthening new partnerships and ensuring a full role for the ILO, but felt that partnership guidelines for distribution to the field offices were needed. He emphasized that if these guidelines were to play an effective role in building these partnerships, they should also be made available to both governments and the other social partners. With reference to paragraph 17, he supported the Office's position with respect to promoting its own values and retaining its approaches, but this could only be successful if constituents received timely feedback on field activities to allow comments and suggestions to be made based on the ILO's unique tripartite character. He was concerned at the decrease in UNDP and UNFPA funding for ILO programmes on population issues, which would deprive the social partners of a role in technical cooperation activities. As regards follow-up on global conferences, he requested the Office to provide summarized reports to constituents for appropriate follow-up at the country level. He supported the role of the UN Resident Coordinator and the lead agency role played by the ILO in the thematic groups at the country level, and emphasized the important role the groups played in providing a platform for promoting ILO concerns, values and priorities. The UN inter-agency consultative machinery was another important avenue for promoting ILO values, priorities and concerns. However, he expected the Office to provide information on collaboration or joint activities with international financial institutions in the future.
76. The Worker Vice-Chairperson expressed satisfaction with the information provided in the Office paper. However, he requested that further information be provided in future on the ILO's involvement in and influence on issues related to field coordination and on capacity building in general. The ILO could play a major role in the Comprehensive Development Framework (CDF) of the World Bank and the UNDAF. As regards paragraphs 30 and 32 of the report on capacity building, the Workers' group considered capacity building to be of vital importance. It was therefore essential for the Office to provide information on how the new guidelines adopted by the UN-system partners could be translated into operational activities within the ILO. Of fundamental importance also was the need for the ILO to devise clear guidelines to enable the social partners to put the new measures being taken into effect. He emphasized that the Office intended to develop a strategy to utilize the results and lessons learned from the CCA, UNDAF and other field coordination exercises. The physical absence of the ILO in some countries affected its participation in the two processes, and called for it to develop practical strategies to overcome this handicap. He stressed the importance of determining the extent to which the ILO had been able to influence substantially the content of the two frameworks, in particular as regards inclusion of the concerns of the social partners. In future the Office should provide the Committee with information on the strategies it had adopted and the results achieved in terms of influencing the UN family. He requested the Office to provide information on concrete strategies adopted to reverse the decline in UNDP approvals for ILO technical cooperation projects, and on whether this problem only affected the ILO or other UN agencies as well. He underlined the importance of knowing exactly what concrete steps had been taken by the Office to promote the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in the UN family, and the action taken by other UN system organizations to promote it. Finally, he noted a discrepancy regarding UNDP funds approval between documents GB.276/TC/1 and GB.276/TC/3, and requested clarification.
77. The Committee took note of the Office paper.
Report of the International Symposium on
Future of Employers' Organizations
(Geneva, 19-21 April 1999)
78. The Committee had before it a paper outlining the main points of the Symposium, to which the conclusions adopted by it were appended.(3)
79. A representative of the Director-General (Mr. de Silva of the ILO Bureau for Employers' Activities) introduced the paper. The international Symposium had involved the participation of several employers' organizations from different parts of the world. It had been preceded by an in-depth survey and analysis of the views of employers' organizations regarding the issues and challenges they faced. Among the productive and positive outputs of the Symposium were the identification by a representative sample of employers' organizations of the challenges and the way these can be addressed. The Symposium had helped define the future direction of technical cooperation that the ILO could provide to employers' organizations, providing a wealth of information of value to the ILO.
80. The Employer Vice-Chairperson endorsed the Office paper and underlined the importance of the conclusions reached at the Employers' meeting, which would enable the Office to make progress on a number of important issues in the context of the socio-economic and technological changes faced by both employers' and workers' organizations. The follow-up on and implementation of the conclusions would be necessary in order to ensure continued tripartite involvement in the future.
81. The Worker Vice-Chairperson welcomed the conclusions and expressed the wish that similar meetings be organized for workers' organizations.
82. The Committee recommends that the Governing Body take note of the Conclusions of the Symposium and request the Director General to take them into account in implementing future work of the Office in related areas.
Geneva, 15 November 1999.
Points for decision:
1. GB.274/TC/1 and GB.274/14.
2. GB.276/TC/3 and Corr.1.
Updated by SA. Approved by NdW. Last update: 6 March 2000.