NINTH ITEM ON THE AGENDA
Reports of the Programme, Financial and
1. The Programme, Financial and Administrative Committee of the Governing Body met on 9 and 10 November 1999 chaired by Mr. J.-J. Elmiger, Chairperson of the Governing Body. Mr. Blondel (Worker spokesperson) was the Reporter.
Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01
(Ninth item on the agenda)
2. The Committee had before it Volume 3 of the Director-General's Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01:(1) Approval of the detailed budget and further development of strategic planning, also Addendum 1:(2) Resources and activities proposed for gender equality issues, and Addendum 2:(3) Estimate of expenditure on technical cooperation funded from extra-budgetary resources, 2000-01.
3. The Committee's discussion was opened by a statement from the Director-General which is reproduced in Appendix I.
4. The Chairperson thanked the Director-General for his statement and advised that written copies would be available later for collection by members. He then drew attention to document GB.276/PFA/9/D.1, which proposed a structure for discussion for this item of business, and the Committee confirmed its agreement to the proposals.
5. Before the discussion began the Chairperson also wished to place on record his appreciation for the efforts not only of the Director-General but also of the Office staff for the high standard of the documents before the Committee, which were much more comprehensible and readable than in the past and would shortly be the subject of detailed discussion.
6. Mr. Marshall, on behalf of the Employer members, thanked the Director-General for his statement and for the innovative and forward-looking approach to the Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01. The Employers were committed to constructive dialogue with the Office as work continued on immediate activities as well as on the longer term strategic issues. The high quality of the document was the result of combined efforts to ensure the ILO became a dynamic organization responsive to its constituents' needs and taking its rightful place with other leading organizations concerned with social and economic development around the world.
7. The Employers acknowledged the pressure on the Director-General and his staff in using a new approach to the budget process. Not only did the budget feature a new strategic approach, a new culture within the Office had been developed, new relationships between the Director-General and the Governing Body formed, policy settings within the Organization reviewed, and major new processes and procedures put into place. To maintain their relevance in the world today organizations such as the ILO should continuously improve themselves by leading and responding to change without jeopardizing core values and principles. The ILO was on the right path but there was no room for complacency. The Governing Body should abandon its traditional involvement in prescriptive micro-detail and allow the Director-General to manage according to policy set by constituents and accountability mechanisms established by the Governing Body. These mechanisms should be flexible enough to allow changes to allocations to reflect actual experience and ensure targets were achieved.
8. Another important point of principle related to the establishment of organizational strategic objectives. On this occasion the Office had proposed and the constituents approved the four objectives referred to informally as the "four pillars" as the appropriate framework around which the programme and budget should be built on this occasion. But if the ILO approach was to become truly strategic and membership-responsive it should continue to review its structures, mission and objectives through discussion with constituents throughout the five-year planning cycle. In a practical sense it was critical that the four pillars should not be able to take on an independent identity and the Director-General had guarded against this possibility by a careful allocation of management responsibilities.
9. The Employer members welcomed the Director-General's identification of the importance of the relationship between Geneva and the regions. Individual regions would naturally have their own priorities but this did not mean that they should be allowed to create their own strategic plans. The regions were not independent bodies; they were part of the whole and should provide services that added value and work to achieve the ILO's overall organizational objectives. Decentralization of systems and resources to achieve efficient and effective delivery systems was a valid concept; there was no conflict between decentralization of service and the requirement to be consistent in policy direction. The Employers welcomed the proposed review of the regional activities and structures.
10. The Office had undertaken considerable work since the last meeting and the review of proposals at departmental level was an extremely valuable initiative. The provision of common services at the sectoral level had yielded savings. This type of approach was important in generating extra resources in an environment of zero growth. The Employer members agreed with the Director-General that the establishment of benchmarks for indicators and targets was not an easy task, requiring a totally different approach with the emphasis on monitoring outputs rather than inputs. The Employer members would be willing to participate in discussions on how this methodology might be further developed. The starting point should be to design appropriate evaluation processes, relevant governance structures and clear reporting mechanisms. Indeed, the ability of the Director-General to manage flexibly would depend primarily on how well this work was done. There was a parallel here -- flexibility through delegated authority and accountability through transparency.
11. The Employer members believed the Office's task would be easier if a small tripartite working group was set up to work with the Office in these developmental areas between now and the next Governing Body meeting. They had taken the liberty of circulating a brief paper explaining the proposal. It was not the intention that the working group should take over management responsibilities: its role would be to help develop new systems and it would be disbanded once they were in place. It was hard to see how else new systems could be operational next year and the ILO could not afford too much delay. The working group and the Office would not overlap in responsibilities because the group would simply look at the issues, investigate options and report back to the Committee for decisions to be taken. The working group could perhaps consist of six Government representatives and three each from the Employers and Workers. Others might be present as observers but to be efficient the working group should be kept small. He commended this suggestion to other members for serious consideration.
12. Mr. Blondel, on behalf of the Worker members, recalled that last June, when the Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01 had been adopted, the Director-General promised to initiate a process of consultations to be able to submit financial information at programme level to this session of the Governing Body. As far as the Employers and Workers were concerned, these consultations had been held on 10 September and 5 October. Mr. Blondel was pleased to see that the Director-General had taken into account a number of suggestions from these groups in the document. He wondered whether this practice did not overlap with Mr. Marshall's proposal. Unofficial consultations made it possible to be directly in touch with the Director-General on budgetary matters and they could be opened at any time according to needs. He felt this system preferable to that of setting up a working group which would be a substructure of the Committee. The Workers expressed reservations about the idea of such a structure being assisted by persons outside the Governing Body and the Committee. They were satisfied with the present process of consultation. As regards information on the Operational Budget, the Workers welcomed the reduction of $1,988,478 under policy-making organs, of $1,408,763 under support services and of $1,760,594 in management services. They were pleased that this had allowed an increase in regional programmes and an increase of $4,357,835 in technical programmes. Nevertheless, the Workers felt that these increases were somewhat inadequate. The speaker was also pleased with the new presentation of the budget and particularly with its entirely new conception and strategic objectives. He congratulated the Director-General and his colleagues on this. Given that the Workers' group had made detailed comments last March on these programme and budget proposals, they would merely restrict their comments this time to matters of a general and specific nature. There had been an internal reorganization in June which had led to the setting up of sectors corresponding to the strategic objectives and the eight InFocus programmes. The Director-General had subsequently announced appointments and promotions which came into effect on 1 October; with very few exceptions, all these appointments had concerned headquarters staff. The Workers' group would like to know if such an exercise was envisaged for staff in the field and if a restructuration of the regional offices, area offices and multidisciplinary teams was in the pipeline. Furthermore, referring to a suggestion that he had made on a previous occasion concerning the use of budgetary surpluses, Mr. Blondel pointed out that the budget did not provide for the renewal of computer equipment. He felt that this was a priority and that the Office should think about this matter seriously. Would this not be the moment to set up investment funds on which the Committee had expressed the wish to undertake a survey? The Workers also noted that the project to set up a crèche, which had been the object of lengthy discussions by the Committee in November and March, was not contained in the proposals. They also observed that resources earmarked for social dialogue had been reduced by about $1 million. According to the Office, this cut was due to the savings in the cost of participation in sectoral meetings and the streamlining of management structures. The Workers therefore hoped that sectoral activities, especially follow-up activities, would not be affected by the cut in funds. Finally, the Workers approved of the measures advocated in Part V concerning monitoring, reporting and evaluation. In this context, they approved the cycle for reporting of the Governing Body as proposed in paragraph 158. Referring to a statement he had made previously, Mr. Blondel reiterated his opinion that the ILO should be concerned with issues related to the working environment. Climatic changes and the measures proposed for reducing carbon dioxide emissions would have repercussions on employment and working conditions. It was therefore vital to find the resources needed to tackle these issues and to entrust responsibility for them to a technical department. Referring to Mr. Marshall's proposal to set up a working group, Mr. Blondel transmitted a number of observations made by the Workers' group: each of the four objectives (employment; standards, fundamental principles and rights at work; social dialogue; and social protection) corresponded more or less to a Governing Body committee. For instance, the objective "employment" corresponded to the Committee on Employment and Social Policy. The committee which corresponded almost naturally with the objective "standards, fundamental principles and rights at work" was the Committee on Legal Issues and International Labour Standards. An attempt might therefore be made to establish such linkages between the strategic objectives and the internal structures of the Governing Body. However, as regards the objectives "social dialogue" and "social protection", it seemed somewhat more difficult to attach them to one of the existing committees. The linkages were only partially satisfactory and there was a danger that the issues might be clouded. The Workers' group would like to discuss this matter at greater length and suggested that the Director-General might include this issue on the agenda and prepare a short analysis of the efficacity of such an approach. In concluding, Mr. Blondel pointed out that the Workers approved paragraphs 166 and 167.
13. The representative of the Government of Canada, speaking on behalf of the IMEC members, thanked the Director-General for his introduction, and expressed their appreciation for the extensive consultation with the group that went into the preparation of this document.
14. The IMEC members welcomed the new document and commended the Director-General and his team for the work done in less than a year in presenting a new programme budget and management structure, new planning and development processes for setting objectives and performance indicators, the clearer focus and direction given to the ILO's activities both in headquarters and the field, and a short readable document for the Governing Body to understand and assess the proposals.
15. Volume 3 was an excellent first step in translating the Director-General's Report, Decent work, into strategic and operational terms. In particular IMEC members highlighted a number of advances that were particularly helpful. First, the further clarity in the definition and hierarchical structure of strategic objectives, operational objectives, performance indicators and targets. Second, the definition of InFocus programmes indicating objectives, goals, strategies and outputs or activities. Third, the additional financial information on strategic and operational allocations, line item and object of expenditure, staffing and matrix tables on regional allocations according to strategic objectives.
16. The IMEC group supported the shift in resources within a zero nominal growth budget outlined in paragraph 17 and noted with appreciation that more than half of these reallocations derived from savings in overhead costs. The reallocation was in line with IMEC priorities stated in previous statements, in particular, the additional resources for the Declaration follow-up, child labour, gender equity, macroeconomic and policy analysis, enhanced outreach and external relations activities, and the InFocus programmes.
17. As noted by the Director-General and by the spokespersons from the two groups, Volume 3 was still work in progress, in particular in the area of targets, indicators and results statements. This was a difficult area, but key to a common understanding of operational objectives and to a common agreement on expected results by programme managers, the Governing Body, constituents and recipients. They appreciated the openness with which these issues and problems had been discussed with the IMEC group during the consultations on the preparation of the document, including the technical and financial implications of defining baselines and targets and gathering supporting data to substantiate them. IMEC would be pleased to work with the Office on further elaboration of these areas in a practical manner. In that respect, the IMEC members asked the Office to clarify when further elaboration of the indicators and targets would be made available to the Governing Body.
18. A few brief general remarks could be made on the technical programmes, as individual members would speak during the discussion on the specific sectors.
19. IMEC welcomed the increased resources for the Sector on Standards, Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, in particular the increase in regular budget resources for the InFocus programmes on the Declaration and on child labour. They also welcomed the restructuring of the Standards Department to conform with the four strategic objectives and to support revision and modernization of standards. Adequate resources should be made available for this important work which was a high priority for the IMEC group. The group thus very much welcomed the Director-General's comments in his introduction that this subject would be dealt with and he would have the full support of the IMEC group to move forward on these issues.
20. In the Employment Sector, IMEC welcomed the clear presentation of the operational objectives with performance indicators and targets, as well as the definition of goals, strategies and outputs for the three supporting InFocus programmes, as well as the emphasis on vulnerable groups and the informal sector. The InFocus Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction was a welcome and necessary initiative.
21. IMEC welcomed the approach taken in the Social Protection Sector to examine new and emerging issues in the context of growing insecurity of workers due to flexible employment and labour markets. This was an issue of considerable importance to a number of IMEC countries. IMEC also supported the orientation of the programmes to extend coverage of social protection to vulnerable groups including in the informal sector and noted the need for collaborative efforts with the employment programme.
22. IMEC supported the objectives in the Social Dialogue Sector and recognition of opportunities to promote dialogue with other partners in civil society as outlined in paragraphs 115 and 122 and consistent with the approach taken in Decent work. The IMEC members looked forward to the review paper on sectoral activities to be presented at the next Governing Body, noted in paragraph 113(d). This was timely in the light of the new focus and orientation on four strategic objectives.
23. Brief remarks could also be offered on the cross-sectoral programmes set out in section E of the document.
24. IMEC welcomed the indications of closer working relationships with the Turin Centre and the International Institute for Labour Studies and the review of their activities in line with the four strategic objectives. The members believed this would enhance their roles in contributing to achieving the goals and objectives set out in the programme and budget. The strengthening of the Institute's role in research, aimed at further developing the paradigm of decent work to create a framework for economic and social policy-making which linked the four strategic objectives, was essential work for the elaboration of the Strategic Plan and for the technical work of the ILO if it were to move forward in addressing the issues of globalization.
25. The IMEC group strongly welcomed the new coherent and integrated strategy for gender equity. It demonstrated the ILO's commitment to promote gender equity in the world of work in line with the high priority accorded to it by the international community in the 1990s, particularly at Vienna, Cairo, Copenhagen and Beijing. As part of the core mandate of the Organization the ILO should be the point of reference for the international community in policies, models, best practices and programmes on gender equity.
26. The IMEC members welcomed the creation of a Bureau for Gender Equality reporting directly to the Director-General, as well as the new mainstreaming strategy to ensure that gender equity was reflected in all ILO programmes. The group noted with satisfaction the substantive increase in resources for the Bureau as well as the commitment to gender equity present in the operational objectives and the activities of specific sectors. However, gender mainstreaming was not sufficient in itself and should be complemented by special interventions and programmes which should continue to enjoy support with adequate resources.
27. With the mainstreaming strategy, it would be necessary to formulate an accountability framework for gender equity that clearly stated corporate level objectives, targets and responsibilities. A baseline and indicators would need to be developed to measure results, for example, the number and positioning of gender experts, indicators on impact, processes of networking between experts, ways of measuring the impact of mainstreaming and training and support activities for ILO staff. The IMEC members again thanked the Director-General for the additional information provided in his introduction and they looked forward to receiving the supplementary document that he referred to.
28. Finally, IMEC noted with satisfaction that gender equality also has been reflected in new promotions within the Office.
29. On the statistics programme outlined in paragraph 130, IMEC welcomed the plan for an in-depth strategic review to map out the key elements of a new statistical strategy in light of the new needs and issues emerging from the InFocus programmes supporting the strategic objectives. The data were also needed to support the analysis of critical issues to be addressed in the Strategic Plan and the technical programmes.
30. IMEC reiterated its strong commitment to technical cooperation as a key means of action. The new strategic directions oriented around the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and the four strategic objectives provided the basis for a focused, coherent programme supported at headquarters and in the field. An implementation plan outlining activities and time frames had been discussed in the Committee on Technical Cooperation earlier. However, the implementation plan should be reflected in the programme and budget through an accountability framework with targets, indicators and identifiable resources that could be aggregated to show the total level of effort on technical cooperation in the Organization, both in headquarters and in the field. A monitoring and evaluation plan for technical cooperation should also be developed within the programme budget framework.
31. IMEC further noted the need for an integrated approach to programming and financing of technical assistance programmes from regular and extra-budgetary funds, including presentation of combined resources for InFocus programmes. They appreciated the additional information provided by the Office in document GB.276/PFA/9(Add.2) but, in order to assess the realism of the proposals and the extent of the resource mobilization required, further information would be needed on the combined regular and extra-budgetary resources available to the InFocus programmes, how much was required to fully fund the programmes, and what the potential sources of donors would be. IMEC members welcomed the Director-General's statement that this information would be forthcoming.
32. On a further point of integration, IMEC welcomed the steps taken to encourage greater synergy and coherence between headquarters and the field and looked forward to the review of the field structures in light of the changes in the programme and budget and the headquarters restructuring around the four strategic objectives.
33. On section IV on Governance, support and management, the IMEC group welcomed the increased efficiencies from this sector that had allowed reallocation to technical programmes and the announcement of the Director-General that further savings would be looked at and service standards developed. IMEC also appreciated the structure of the sector into objectives, performance indicators, outcomes and activities which provided a clearer understanding of the contribution of the support functions to achieving the strategic objectives.
34. The IMEC members supported the development and implementation of an information and communications strategy, including the dissemination of material from the ILO's extensive database, and through its library, publications and Internet sites. A user-friendly website on the Internet to more effectively disseminate information, in particular information which would enable mutual learning through sharing of experience and good practice, should be a key part of the strategy. The group agreed with the emphasis on fewer but higher-quality relevant publications and media materials.
35. The IMEC members stated that they would welcome the discussion later in this Committee on the new human resource development strategy. As implementation of the strategy was likely to include training, the group would be interested to know what resources were currently allocated to training and, if necessary, how new needs could be accommodated.
36. IMEC countries had previously noted the need for substantial upgrading of the accounting and information systems to support the reporting requirements of strategic budgeting. The group noted the discussion that took place earlier and looked forward to a concrete proposal in March for decision to ensure that this work was not delayed further.
37. The IMEC members agreed that a strategic plan, effective monitoring and reporting, and evaluation, as outlined in section V, were key elements for the consolidation and further development of strategic budgeting. The Strategic Plan would provide further insights into the key issues underlying the definition of strategic objectives and their interlinkages and would provide a coherent framework for all ILO means of action including standard setting, research, technical cooperation, sectoral meetings, publications and external partnerships. The group looked forward to working with the Office on developing this Plan and the progress report next March, and they further assumed this would provide further clarity on the concept, the content and the processes of analysis and consultation that would lead to its formulation.
38. IMEC agreed with the definition of strategic budgeting set out in paragraph 155 and welcomed and supported the significant advances in monitoring and reporting outlined in paragraphs 156 to 160. However, the group would add Internal Audit as an information source and one of the review bodies. Systematic monitoring by programme managers against objective measures of performance would require new information systems and should be taken into account in the development of new accounting systems. Reports to the Governing Body should be analytical in nature setting out progress in achieving results, problems encountered and adjustments made. Financial and non-financial information should be integrated in the reports. In principle, the proposed cycle outlined in paragraph 158 was acceptable, including the replacement of the preliminary consultations paper by a progress report on the Strategic Plan for next March.
39. IMEC further wished to confirm that the programme and budget document for 2002-03 would be complete and include objectives, indicators, targets and financial tables, i.e. a finished Volume 3, for discussion and recommendation to the Conference. It should also include an integrated presentation of regular and extra-budgetary funds.
40. Evaluation was an integral part of the strategic budgeting process as indicated in paragraph 163. IMEC appreciated the commitment to systematize evaluation so that there was continuous feedback of lessons learned into current and future programme activities. Different types of evaluation methodology could and should be used, such as self, independent, external and internal audits. What was critical was that an overall strategy for evaluation be established to ensure that all programmes and activities were evaluated within specific time frames, based on established criteria to determine their continuing relevance and effectiveness. The biennial plan proposed in paragraph 164 should be part of a longer term approach with clearly defined objectives and methodologies and a clear reporting procedure to the Governing Body, to provide the information to take appropriate decisions on continuation or replacement of programmes or activities. This longer term evaluation plan should be presented with the Strategic Plan at the November 2000 Governing Body session.
41. The IMEC members noted with interest the proposal by the Employers for a working group to further work on necessary support structures for strategic operations, but the group had not yet had an opportunity to discuss the proposal and would report back later on the discussion.
42. IMEC members expressed their full support for the decision points in paragraphs 166 and 167.
43. The representative of the Government of Japan, speaking on behalf of the Asia and Pacific members, appreciated the Office's excellent efforts in drawing up the Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01. Overall, the group had supported the ideals behind the strategic objectives and InFocus programmes in their statement made during the last Governing Body in March, but it wished to reiterate its strong support for programmes on employment creation and poverty alleviation, development issues, the informal sector, micro-financing, gender issues, rapid response capacity especially with regard to financial crisis, and finally, the ILO's analytical capacity. All of these elements had in principle been refined and developed in the current document.
44. They also expressed appreciation for the statement by the Director-General, but believed there was still more work to be done before a fully implemented strategic approach to programme and budget could be developed. There were several issues deserving further comment.
45. First, employment and poverty alleviation. Since the Asian financial crisis the ILO had focused more attention on these issues so it was a matter of some concern to see a reduction of resources for programmes in the employment sector. After closely examining the explanations made by the Office, in particular the comments in paragraph 18, members still believed that the ILO should place the highest priority on programmes for employment and poverty alleviation because it was the organization best placed to do so.
46. Second, the group also attached great importance to field programmes for the Asian and Pacific region and was worried about the reduction in resources for these activities. Apparently this was mainly due to changes in currency exchange rates but the Office should ensure for the future that the region was allocated more resources for field programmes, especially in view of the demand for ILO services.
47. Third, the group continued to emphasize the need to review the level of administrative and management costs in an effort to reduce them where possible and use the savings for substantive programmes.
48. Fourth, members believed that activities for monitoring, evaluation and performance measurement were a positive start but much more needed to be done. They were essential tools in the move to strategic programme and budget setting and they would have to be introduced without delay if there were to be comprehensive performance measures and evaluation plans for all areas of the ILO's work. More information on this subject would be most appreciated.
49. Fifth, progress in strategic decision-making would be restricted if in future there was insufficient information about the cost and effectiveness of the ILO's work. The Office should present proposals for installing new information systems, financial as well as non-financial, with a view to funding them from current surpluses.
50. Finally, Asian and Pacific members reiterated their support for the concept of InFocus programmes. Extra-budgetary resources were indispensable for these programmes and they appreciated the additional information in document Addendum 2.
51. As a general comment the Asian and Pacific group appreciated the efforts made to integrate and provide a common framework for various child labour elimination programmes through IPEC and it was gratifying to see that IPEC would receive funds from both budgetary and extra-budgetary resources. Although the programme was closely monitored by an international steering committee it would be useful if detailed information on IPEC activities could be provided regularly to the PFAC. The performance indicators suggested in the document would provide valuable information but the success of the programme should basically be assessed by the number of children freed from having to work and successfully rehabilitated.
52. Programmes for employment generation could be boosted through micro-finance initiatives and the ILO should be applauded for its efforts to do so. There was likely to be even greater scope for these programmes throughout Asia and the Pacific in the next biennium.
53. The Asian and Pacific members again expressed appreciation to the Director-General and the Office for the document before the Committee, and hoped that their views would be taken into consideration as the concept of strategic budgeting was further developed.
54. The representative of the Government of France congratulated the Director-General and the Office for their remarkable work in developing the new presentation of the budget and wished to make three points at this stage.
55. First, extra-budgetary contributions. If a more integrated and global budget was to be presented a strategic rather than technical approach was required to keep all the programmes in perspective. Member States would expect the ILO's technical cooperation activities to be concentrated on the priority objectives of the Organization and that it was not influenced by the preferences or interests of donors. What the ILO needed was a strategy for mobilizing extra-budgetary resources, as advocated by a previous speaker, and then applying them according to the priorities decided by the ILO.
56. Second, the priority for social protection within the overall budget and as part of the four objectives. For many reasons social protection was one of the main ILO priorities. In the long run it concerned a growing segment of the world population, but more immediately it concerned developing countries where a large proportion of the population had no protection at all. The South-East Asian crisis had changed World Bank policy in this field and the ILO was following suit. A discussion on social protection would be included in the 2001 Session of the Conference but certain aspects of the strategic objective and the corresponding InFocus programme appeared either too vague or too ambitious for available resources. The Committee should resolve these points well in advance to ensure productive discussion at the Conference.
57. Third, the proposal made by the Employer members for the creation of a working group to prepare support structures for strategic budgeting methodology. This proposal in principle seemed quite attractive but much of the work to be carried out by the working group might equally be achieved through better cooperation between the Governing Body and the Director-General. Many important questions would have to be answered before taking a final decision, not least whether a trend was developing to set up a working group whenever a new issue was to be discussed. If everything was resolved in special working groups the Committee would no longer benefit from vigorous and in-depth discussion. The Committee should be given ample opportunity for discussion on this proposal before taking a decision.
58. The representative of the Government of Algeria, speaking on behalf of the African regional Members, expressed appreciation to the Director-General and Office staff for the information contained in the Office documents. Without doubt this budget constituted a solid base for the achievement of the ILO's strategic objectives. They wished to thank the Director-General for the very clear presentation of proposals on technical programmes and for the consultations undertaken by the Director-General in order to give ILO constituents full details of the development of the strategic budget. The consultations between the parties would reduce the margin for error and ensure the success of ILO programmes. As well, new methodology had been introduced to the budgeting process with more emphasis now on attaining predetermined goals, so the Office would have to be particularly careful in choosing progress indicators.
59. A few other matters deserved comment. The Programme and Budget for 2000-01 had been based on the principle of zero growth, the same as programmes in the current biennium. However, this regime could not continue in the medium and long term because of the increasing technical cooperation needs in developing countries.
60. The African member States reaffirmed their support for the four strategic objectives underpinning the strategic budget but thought more emphasis should be placed on programmes for employment generation and the relief of poverty. They were reassured by the priority given to employment activities because African countries would suffer without these ILO programmes. The Jobs for Africa programme especially had given a new sense of hope to African countries because it aimed at encouraging investment through the creation of jobs. This programme would mark a fresh start to help the neediest countries.
61. One matter of concern to African member States was the current practice of using extra-budgetary resources to fund priority programmes. These funds were not consistent and it would be better, especially for priority programmes, to fund them through the regular budget from now on.
62. African member States had also been gravely affected by HIV-AIDS, not only because of the drain on medical resources but also because of disruption in the field of work and social protection. Through its technical cooperation programmes the ILO was probably the best agency to work with national organizations against this pestilence. African member States would like to see much higher priority given to this work under social protection programmes.
63. As a final point, the African group was concerned at the number of vacant ILO posts in some countries because of its effect on programme delivery. They also considered that the Employers' proposal to create a tripartite working group to help launch the new programme and budget ran the risk of confusing the roles of the Office and the Governing Body and should be avoided. The African member States expressed full support for the points for decision in the Office paper.
64. The representative of the Government of Germany wished to add one or two comments to the IMEC statement. It was perhaps unfortunate that the quality of the text in the Office paper was not matched by the quality of the figures. In the new form they were inadequate and unless improved information could be made available it might be better to revert to the previous presentation.
65. Setting indicators and targets was not an easy exercise and the Office's approach was not sufficiently rigorous. Quantitative targets such as that for the ratification of Conventions called to mind the workings of centrally planned economies because they did not necessarily achieve underlying objectives, and media targets such as those in table 9 were equally vague because it appeared under-performance could be concealed through wider publicity. Delivery targets also seemed to be imprecise and apparently could be met by measuring inputs rather than outputs. There appeared also to be some discrepancy in the figures for technical cooperation expenditure for 2000-01 funded from extra-budgetary resources. In Addendum II the total came to US$215.6 million, whereas the total from several tables in the main document was US$251.6 million. An explanation of the difference would be appreciated.
66. He agreed with the reservations expressed by the Workers and by the representative of France concerning the Employers' proposal to establish a working party to assist and advise on the implementation of the Programme and Budget for 2000-01. Many issues would have to be resolved before such a working party could even begin its work: its exact composition, its terms of reference, its authority, a timetable for its work, and last but not least financial provisions for its meetings if held outside Governing Body sessions.
67. The representative of the Government of the Russian Federation expressed appreciation for the new format developed in the Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01. It was unfortunate that such an important document had been distributed late in some languages and he asked the Office to see whether procedures could be improved.
68. He expressed support for the continuation of the zero growth regime and was pleased to see the priorities given to programmes concerning international labour standards, employment generation and occupational safety and health. Procedures for monitoring and reporting the implementation of the Programme and Budget for 2000-01 deserved full support and the strategic planning approach would emphasize the achievement of results. However, the present format of the proposals was too general unless read in conjunction with Volume 2. The absence of the detail contained in Volume 2 deprived the Committee of valuable information about ILO activities and would tend to complicate discussion on the programme and budget. It would be better if the Office were able to provide much more detail in future programme and budget documents.
69. With the introduction of the strategic budgeting process and the decentralization of administrative function to the regions, it was important to ensure that the responsibilities and accountability of programme managers was closely controlled and supervised. Of course, existing financial control systems were the main protection but abuses of delegated authority were still possible and without exception should be reported to the Governing Body. In fact, providing the full text of all individual internal audit reports would enable the Governing Body to play a bigger role in management matters.
70. The representative of the Government of Switzerland expressed appreciation for the document before the Committee, the third in the series containing the Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01. It was clear and readable and should serve as an example to follow in the future. He also wished to express appreciation for the Director-General's statement to the Committee the previous day, and expressed full support for the statement made by the Canadian representative on behalf of the IMEC group.
71. As members were aware consideration of the Programme and Budget proposals for 2001-01 was an exceptional exercise and from now on the Committee would revert to the normal procedure described in paragraph 158 of the Office document. On the other hand, the Committee should not return to the voluminous documentation and highly detailed discussions of previous biennia. The new presentation was much better even if slight changes were made to take account of comments by the German and Russian representatives. In fact, despite time constraints, the Office documents were less bulky but of higher quality, and would help the Governing Body to play its proper role in directing the Organization without getting lost in detail. In general he expressed support for the approach described in paragraphs 148 to 164 of the Office document concerning the further development of strategic budgeting, especially paragraphs 153, 158, 163 and 164. The Programme and Budget for 2000-01 would enable the ILO to play a full part in meetings of United Nations organizations, in particular the special sitting of the General Assembly in the year 2000 devoted to follow-up to the Copenhagen Social Summit.
72. Finally, the Employers had put forward an interesting proposal to establish a special working group to assist with the implementation of the Programme and Budget for 2000-01, but he shared some of the reservations expressed by the representatives of France and Germany. However, it was true that these reservations might equally be directed to many of the programme and budget proposals.
73. The representative of the Government of the Netherlands also expressed appreciation of the Office document and endorsed the statement made by the representative of Canada on behalf of the IMEC group. A few points deserved further comment. First, she expressed satisfaction with the streamlined working programme which reflected the four strategic objectives set out in the Director-General's Report Decent work. The Director-General had mentioned that about one- quarter of the total budget was earmarked for InFocus programmes. An even larger shift towards InFocus programmes should be possible if priorities were reorganized. Section 5 of the Office document, covering "Further development of strategic budgeting" suggested how a useful start could be made by examining the ILO's strengths and weaknesses to see what activities could be run more efficiently or perhaps even eliminated.
74. A document containing full financial details of the Programme and Budget for 2000-01 would also be most welcome. Technical cooperation activities were a high priority for the Netherlands and the Ministry for Development intended to start a partnership programme with the ILO next year. For that reason it would be useful to have more information on budget allocations for all the InFocus programmes, including both regular budget and extra-budgetary funding. In view of the level of funds allocated to technical cooperation work it would be particularly useful to have more details as soon as possible, perhaps at the March 2000 session of the Governing Body, as part of the progress report on the preparation of a strategic plan for 2002-05.
75. The Netherlands representative viewed gender mainstreaming as an important activity deserving more resources and on this theme it was gratifying to see the emphasis placed on the programme "More and Better Jobs for Women" because it had just been linked with the child labour programme in a large project approved by the Government. Finally, she supported the comments of previous speakers concerning restructuring of the Standards Department. This exercise should be undertaken as soon as possible.
76. The representative of the Government of India thanked the Director-General for the high quality of the documentation and also for his statement to the Committee the previous day. The change towards strategic budgeting methodology would certainly improve the content and quality of programmes but unfortunately would not solve the problems caused by zero growth, for example, the reduction in real terms for funds allocated to policy-making organs, strategic objectives and management services. For the same reason constant demands for an increased allocation from the regular budget for technical cooperation went unheeded. It was only because extra-budgetary resources had increased from US$187 million to around US$220 million, thanks to much-appreciated contributions made by various donor agencies, that the ILO would be able to expand its technical cooperation programmes. The strategic objective approach would however provide a new impetus for one of the highest ILO priorities, the objective of full, productive and freely chosen employment for all men and women. This was a key activity because on it depended the progress the ILO would make in its other programmes. It was all the more surprising then to see that the regular budget provision for employment activities had been cut for the biennium 2000-01.
77. The proposal to set up an International Policy Group to develop an integrated framework for economic and social policy was a step in the right direction and would not only strengthen the ILO's capacity to cooperate effectively with multilateral agencies, especially the Bretton Woods institutions, but also help in incorporating the ILO's concerns on employment in their policies. The proposal to organize all activities relating to child labour under a common framework through the IPEC, and the enhanced allocation of resources for that programme, was also most welcome. The initiative to develop a human resource strategy for highly qualified and motivated staff as a way of ultimately strengthening and improving the management of programmes was very encouraging, as was the new emphasis given to the strengthening of monitoring and evaluation by setting performance indicators and targets.
78. The representative of the Government of Japan was pleased with the quality of the documents now before the Committee and she thanked the Director-General for his introductory statement the previous day. She welcomed the shift in resources within a zero nominal growth budget, with a decrease in administrative costs and an increase in the budgets for regional programmes and technical programmes. The cycle of monitoring and reporting on programme and budget matters set out in paragraph 158 appeared logical and deserved support, but it was regrettable that the June session of the Conference had not also had the benefit of Volume 3 during its discussions. Finally, although it was understandable that extra-budgetary resources depended on the will of donor organizations and countries and could not be determined in advance, it was impossible to put the whole budget in perspective unless an estimate at least of extra-budgetary resources was provided, and she thanked the Office for document Addendum 2 which enabled a comparison with the position in 1998-99. Her delegation supported the decision points in paragraphs 166 and 167.
79. The representative of the Government of New Zealand associated himself with the statements made by the IMEC and the Asia-Pacific groups, and expressed continued support for the ILO's move towards a strategic approach to programme and budget setting. The proposals were an improvement on previous practice although more work was required before one could say that a strategic approach had been fully implemented. In future a review of programme and budget proposals for regional activities should be carried out in the light of the new budgeting regime, which would develop a clearer basis for sharing administrative costs according to strategic priorities and the benefits to constituents. At the same time there was a need for continued development of performance management and evaluation systems covering the full range of the ILO's work, but both activities should take place within the zero-growth budget.
80. The presentation of financial information in the document, particularly table 2, when compared to the information presented to the March session of the Governing Body, seemed to be caught between on the one hand a desire to provide information on resources directed at achieving goals associated with strategic objectives, and on the other a more traditional presentation of costs associated with ILO programmes. This left a question about the level at which the Governing Body and ultimately the Conference should approve budget proposals in future. The level of decision should ideally be related to the future performance sought through the achievement of or progress towards strategic objectives; and the decision should cover all financial resources to be used for that purpose.
81. A useful start had been made with the first presentation of performance measures and targets, and as the Office continued to develop performance measurement systems it should remember that the Governing Body would need to know why something was measured, as well as what and how; in other words, why would a particular activity be chosen for measurement, how might it be measured and what might be an appropriate performance target? Baseline information should be clearly established so that it was clear whether goals met represented an improvement or merely a continuation of the status quo. Proper evaluation methodology would require performance measures to be set for all areas for which estimates of expenditure had been approved, including support provided by the Office to the Conference, the Governing Body and other major meetings.
82. As the Office refined its strategic approach to programme and budget setting in the coming years it should keep in mind the reasons for changing to the new system. It was essentially a tool for making strategic decisions about the direction and work of the ILO and in order to make strategic decisions the constituents needed strategic information. If the Governing Body wished to be able to let go of much of the administrative detail that had filled the agenda of the PFAC, the Office would have to provide high-quality information that would satisfy the Governing Body on the degree to which strategic objectives and priorities were actually being achieved with resources approved for that purpose. With this in mind, he endorsed calls for proposals to improve the information systems within the Office.
83. In conclusion, New Zealand supported the proposals within the document as they currently stood. There was some merit in the proposal to form a small group to work with the Office to develop details on future reporting to the Governing Body, on the development and presentation of future strategic programmes and budgets, and possibly on Committee structures and agendas that might better support the strategic approach. Support for the proposal would in the end be conditional on the exact nature and mandate of the working group, but in the absence of such a group the Office should continue intensive consultation on these matters. He indicated his Government's support for the initiatives by the Director-General and its encouragement for further improvements in future.
84. The representative of the Government of Peru expressed appreciation for the documents and supported the points for decision in paragraphs 166 and 167. He reiterated agreement in general with the proposed InFocus programmes and expressed strong support for the priority given in employment programmes to the development of skills, knowledge and employability, especially to promote more and better jobs for women. Investment in human resources was essential for enterprises, and he agreed with the proposed goals with respect to improved access of vulnerable groups, including young people, to labour market opportunities and human resources development. Small enterprise development deserved the fullest encouragement because of its potential to create jobs in the formal and informal sectors. Social dialogue was another crucial programme and merited more resources, especially as in recent years extrajudicial mechanisms had been devised to resolve economic and legal labour disputes. Governments had a major role to play to promote the resolution of labour issues directly between the social partners. For its part the ILO should take account of the level of development of the various labour administrations in each country when promoting dispute settlement procedures as part of the strategy for social dialogue, and the support of labour ministries would be needed as part of the process of strengthening and consolidating the instruments and institutions for dialogue. On the elimination of child labour, he supported the suggestion by the Asia and Pacific group that the success of IPEC programmes could be measured by the number of children freed from labour and rehabilitated. He attached great importance to the ILO's dialogue with the international economic and financial community and the new International Policy Group being established would have important work to do; more detail should be supplied by the Office with respect to this new body.
85. The representative of the Government of China was grateful to the Office for the new presentation of the Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01, and endorsed the statement made on behalf of the Asia and Pacific group while adding some observations. The documents under discussion were the first proposals based on the ILO's four strategic objectives: standards, fundamental principles and rights at work, employment, social protection and social dialogue.
86. It was gratifying to see that budget resources allocated to social protection had been increased in response to the concerns and needs of constituents to strengthen the programmes for safe work and social protection, especially those which placed special emphasis on the conditions of women, disabled people, young persons and migrant workers. Gender equality was receiving increased attention from the international community and the ILO had set up a new Bureau for Gender Equality. The Director-General had described how consultations across sectors were being arranged and each sector would have special focal points for gender issues.
87. A number of further comments could be made. First, the unemployment levels faced by most countries were directly linked to workers' fundamental rights. Employment generally was one of the social issues to which the ILO attached greatest importance and other international organizations were now showing more interest in employment issues. The International Consultation concerning the Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development, which had taken place at the ILO in Geneva the previous week, underlined the ILO's mandate in the field of employment generation and poverty alleviation. The documents however showed a reduction in budgetary resources for employment programmes and this ran contrary to the views of ILO constituents on this issue.
88. Second, field activities played an important role in implementing the ILO's four strategic objectives and should be an important component of the programme and budget. Previous discussion of the programme and budget proposals had referred extensively to field programmes but in Volume 3 there were few references to this subject, which made it difficult to understand exactly what the ILO's plans were for the next biennium. From next year field operations would be restructured and reorganized, so if field programmes were unfocused or inadequately funded they would be ineffective. A more rigorous approach was urgently needed so as to meet the needs of newly established MDTs in implementing technical cooperation programmes.
89. Third, more than one-half of the world's population lived in the Asia and Pacific region, and since most of them lived in developing countries the region faced severe and long-term problems in overcoming poverty and unemployment. Asian countries had just experienced a severe financial crisis and were making strenuous efforts to implement new plans for policy adjustment, economic recovery, employment expansion and reinforcement of social security and it was particularly regrettable to see the region suffering a reduction in budgetary resources in the Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01. The ILO should take urgent measures to strengthen its technical cooperation in the Asian and Pacific region in the next biennium.
90. The representative of the Government of Namibia associated himself with the statement made on behalf of the African group, and expressed support for the Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01. The proposed monitoring and evaluation system, which focused more on outputs instead of inputs, would obviously have a bearing on existing evaluation systems and there was a strong risk of overlap in how these mechanisms functioned. Whatever efforts might be made to avoid duplication, the evaluation process should include a local component to ensure that the beneficiaries of these programmes and projects were able to express their views.
91. Employment programmes had received an allocation of just over 27 per cent of the total budget and reflected the priority attached to this objective. However, with regard to funding of priority projects, it was disappointing to see that the Jobs for Africa project appeared to be underfunded. An amount of US$1 million had been set aside for this project but in view of the magnitude of the problem in Africa it was well short of what was needed. This project was a key ILO initiative that had been designed partly to give effect to the resolution of the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen with regard to job creation and poverty alleviation. The impression was that the programme would develop into the flagship project of the ILO and other United Nations agencies with regard to job creation in Africa, so it was extremely disappointing to see now that the project was neither fully funded under the regular budget, nor mentioned at all under the estimates of expenditure on technical cooperation funded from extra-budgetary resources. The question now was whether the Jobs for Africa project had been removed from the priority list.
92. The next issue of concern was the funding of priority activities in general. He cautioned against the tendency to fund more and more priority activities from extra-budgetary resources. If they were not incorporated into the regular budget there was a danger that they would have to be discontinued if extra-budgetary funding dried up.
93. The next point concerned the fight against HIV/AIDS and the effect of this pandemic in the workplace and society in general. Namibia had just hosted a very successful tripartite regional ILO seminar on HIV/AIDS at the workplace which concluded that no effort should be spared to contain this disease. Although the seminar saw value in following an integrated approach involving other United Nations agencies, NGOs, various other institutions and especially the corporate world in heightening awareness of HIV/AIDS, it also urged the ILO to become more closely involved through its own programmes. AIDS-related deaths in Africa could, within the next five or ten years, wipe out about one-third to one-half of the working population. This estimate was a very conservative one and it also assumed that the pandemic developed unabated, but the situation was becoming desperate and he appealed to the ILO to make the fight against HIV/AIDS in employment a high priority activity with a separate budget line and perhaps an InFocus project on HIV/AIDS within the Strategic Plan.
94. Turning to the suggestion by the Employers' group to create an ad hoc working group to assist with the implementation of the Strategic Budget and its implementation, further information would be necessary before taking a decision.
95. First, the existence of such a group could restrict the Director-General in his mandate to implement the Strategic Plan and the Strategic Budget. The Governing Body in March and the Conference in June had given the Director-General a full mandate to implement the Strategic Plan and Budget, so it was a little surprising that the suggestion had come at this late stage and without wider consultation prior to submitting it. Secondly, he did not know, and the information was not in the document, how such a working group would be composed and what the representation and selection criteria for that group would be. The suggestion seemed to be somewhat premature and he could therefore not support it at this stage.
96. The representative of the Government of Denmark congratulated the Director-General and the Office for the work that had gone into preparing Volume 3, which would serve as an excellent basis for discussion and the future work of the Organization. First and foremost, the new strategic approach was a welcome innovation and included the introduction of strategic and operational objectives as well as indicators and targets. Second, the eight new InFocus programmes were an excellent means to focus on issues at the core of the ILO mandate and so achieve greater impact. Third, she expressed support for the new strengthened InFocus Programme on Child Labour (IPEC), although it might need increased resources if it was to produce the results expected of it. Fourth, she applauded the reallocations from savings in overhead costs to technical programmes. Fifth, she supported the new, coherent and integrated strategy for gender equality in the ILO, which included mainstreaming and strengthening the institutional structure with the new Bureau for Gender Equality. The statement by the Director-General the previous day was most informative and the Committee would look forward to receiving further details in due course. Sixth, the information provided in the Director-General's statement concerning a comprehensive review of the normative activities of the Organization was very useful.
97. In addition to elements already covered by the general IMEC statement, two issues deserved further comment. First, important though the four strategic objectives were, they were all conceptually interlinked because one could not discuss fundamental principles and rights or social protection or employment without taking into consideration the importance of social dialogue and vice versa. This linkage had not been brought out in the programme and budget proposals and it would be useful to have further information on how the four strategic objectives would be integrated in operational terms. In particular, what management mechanisms would be implemented to ensure that departments and the InFocus programmes would cooperate technically to achieve their objectives?
98. The second point related to the expected ILO response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She associated herself with the views expressed by the spokesperson for the African group and again by the representative of Namibia. The United Nations and extra-budgetary donors recognized the importance of the ILO's role in addressing the social and economic consequences of this epidemic. It was estimated that more than 33 million people were affected by HIV/AIDS, of which the majority were in sub-Saharan Africa. Its social and economic impact was catastrophic. The productivity losses at national, sectoral, enterprise, household and individual level were mounting steadily, and would set back the economic and social development gains that many countries had fought so hard to achieve over past decades. The immediate and measurable consequences were higher rates of dependence per worker and an increased number of children forced into the labour markets. What response did the ILO intend to make?
99. As a concluding comment, she thanked the Office for the open consultation during the budgeting process and would be pleased to participate further when the new strategic approach was introduced, either in a working group or in direct consultations with the Office.
100. The representative of the Government of Malaysia fully endorsed the statement made on behalf of the Asia-Pacific member States. The emphasis in the budget on employment creation and poverty alleviation programmes was most welcome. South-East Asian countries had suffered severely since the financial crisis struck two years ago. Unemployment had rocketed: the ILO World Employment Report indicated that at least 10 million jobs had been lost and millions driven below the poverty line. These countries surely deserved a higher priority in terms of technical assistance to help them in their efforts towards recovery, but the figures showed a 3.85 per cent reduction in the budgetary allocation for the Asia-Pacific region. He urged the ILO not only to reconsider this allocation but also to reconsider the rates of contribution imposed on these crisis-stricken countries. Recent changes to the rates of annual contribution, compounded by the higher exchange rate, were beginning to affect the ability of these member States to meet their obligations.
101. The representative of the Government of Mexico acknowledged the important advances that had been made in the content and organization of the proposed programme and budget, and expressed support for the four strategic objectives, in particular the strategy to create quality jobs and employment. Strategic Objective No. 1 was expressed in the document adopted by the Conference last June as "To promote and implement fundamental principles and rights at work". In the detailed budget structure presented to the Governing Body the funding for that technical programme corresponded to 16.7 per cent of the Strategic Budget and the objective put standards, principles and fundamental rights on an equal footing. The promotion of fundamental principles and rights at work was trans-sectoral, as explained in the document itself, in the form of intersectoral cooperation. It might be more appropriate to put the InFocus programmes in a structure of trans-sectoral programmes and maintain standards-related activities as a separate technical section. The selection of indicators and targets to measure the success of the strategic programme and budget merited special consideration because the wrong choice of indicators would jeopardize the whole exercise.
102. The representative of the Government of Guatemala thanked the Director-General and his team for the excellent documents before the Committee. The formulation of a strategic programme and budget included changes in terms of management, structure and direction which would require time to become fully effective. They should also be reflected in the ILO's key objective, namely to improve the living standards of people. Evaluation activities would require more work to ensure that proper indicators were chosen, taking into account not just the ratification of Conventions or adoption of national policies, but also measures to show the impact of programmes on the population as a whole. The ILO should make a difference to the lives of workers, women and children. Behind every ratification or adoption of policies or programmes, Governing Body members should see the human dimension and try to ensure that the results of ILO actions could be measured in human terms.
103. The creation of the International Policy Group was an initiative that deserved full support, because coordination of effort among institutions was needed to produce solutions to global problems. As far as the Employers' proposal for a special working group was concerned, which she had only learned of the previous day, an initial reading of it suggested that it involved too many tasks and that they were too diverse. It was not clear how the Office would participate in the group or how it would be linked to existing structures. In principle, it would be more appropriate to continue on the basis of the work at present done by the Office and organize further consultations with the constituents. She was nonetheless willing to consider the proposal and take part in consultations with the Director-General to see whether an amended version of the proposal might be workable. In future, as indicated by the Director-General, it would be preferable to indicate in a single document the regular budget resources as well as the extra-budgetary resources for all programme activities. She supported the comment by the previous speaker that it might be more appropriate to have the InFocus programmes on promoting the Declaration and child labour in the trans-sectoral section. With these comments, she would like to support the points for decision contained in paragraphs 166 and 167 of the Office paper.
104. The representative of the Government of Nigeria expressed strong support for the four strategic objectives contained in the programme and budget proposals. Activities on gender mainstreaming described by the Director-General were of special importance to developing countries like his own, and he strongly endorsed the statements of previous speakers concerning the underfunding of the Jobs for Africa programme and urged the ILO to reconsider. Another programme of special importance to the African region concerned social protection, which in the widest sense included occupational safety and health, drugs and alcohol, working conditions, international migration and social security. HIV/AIDS was mentioned in paragraph 94 under SafeWork because of its debilitating effect on working people, especially in developing countries, but a case could be made for it to be classified as a separate programme. African countries urgently needed advice and assistance from the ILO and other organizations in combating this disease, which was disrupting society and threatening the lives of young people. Lastly, he wished to place on record his Government's support for the points for decision in paragraphs 166 and 167 of the document.
105. The representative of the Government of Cyprus joined the previous speakers in congratulating the Director-General and his team for the excellent quality of the documents before the Committee. She endorsed the general comments made on behalf of the IMEC countries. A special emphasis should be placed on social security activities because practice and experience had shown that well-designed social security systems could be important tools in promoting social inclusion and solidarity. It was important to ensure that the Head Office and the field were allocated sufficient funds to enable them to continue their task of developing social security systems appropriate to national circumstances and conditions. She associated herself with comments by the representative of Denmark concerning the modalities for cooperation and coordination between sectors in view of the interlinkages of the objectives to be pursued.
106. The representative of the Government of Sudan thanked the Director-General for efforts made in the preparation of Volume 3 of the Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01, which was clearly based on the four strategic objectives adopted earlier. He fully agreed with the statement made on behalf of the African group, and supported paragraphs 166 and 167 of the document. The InFocus programmes were important for promoting employment and combating poverty but more extra-budgetary funds were required. The UNDP, the Bretton Woods institutions and other donors should be approached with regard to the financing and promotion of these programmes, particularly in view of the role on employment assigned to the ILO during the Social Summit. The plight of many African countries hit by natural disasters and armed conflicts was serious. Indeed, many of them had suffered devastation in terms of unemployment, emigration, displacement and collapsing infrastructure so the InFocus Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction would be a lifeline to recovery. There and elsewhere the competition for resources to implement programmes in developing countries was intense so objective standards and rules were needed for distributing and allocating resources so that countries with the greatest needs received the most. To determine whether strategic objectives were achieved would require a review of local and regional programmes and well-chosen indicators to measure progress would be essential. The proposals made by the representatives of the Governments of Algeria and Namibia regarding the Jobs for Africa programme deserved full support as this was an important initiative for promoting employment in Africa and as many countries as possible should be covered.
107. The representative of the Government of Saudi Arabia endorsed the statement made on behalf of the Asian and Pacific group, and expressed support for the Programme and Budget proposals for 2000-01. In his statement the Director-General was very clear that there would be a new approach to activities at headquarters and in the regions. The proposed budget would enable the ILO to meet the four strategic objectives adopted at the last session of the Conference and the reorganization of sectors was a first step in meeting the strategic targets. The objectives should be achieved by providing more support for the regional offices, in particular the Regional Office for Arab States, which needed increased resources in order to carry out its programmes. Paragraph 158 proposed a workable timetable for reporting to the Governing Body and should be implemented. As mentioned in the statement made on behalf of the African group, the zero growth regime applied to the budget should not become a tradition and resources should be allocated to programmes on the basis of priorities to enable their implementation. The Employers' suggestion to set up a working party to report to the Governing Body on performance and monitoring was an excellent proposal but as mentioned by earlier speakers it would require in-depth consideration and discussion in the Office and the Governing Body so as to avoid any overlap in mandates and activities. He expressed support for the points for decision in paragraphs 166 and 167 of the document, and asked the Office to bear in mind the need to translate more documents into Arabic in view of the large number of Arabic-speaking representatives.
108. The representative of the Government of Lithuania expressed appreciation for the new programme and budget proposals, which were clear and concise and described the actions to be taken to achieve the strategic and operational objectives. She supported the IMEC statement and agreed with previous speakers that employment promotion, social protection and the other strategic objectives were the highest priorities for the ILO. With regard to technical and cross-sectoral programmes, it was vital to develop capabilities of countries to implement employment promotion policies in order to help them reach decent living standards. Her own Government's national employment action plan for 2000-02 was an instrument for the future development of Lithuanian labour market and employment policy and the annual revision of this plan would be developed in line with the relevant ILO strategic objective. Strengthening social dialogue was important in her country, as in most countries in transition, and in Lithuania much was being achieved through changes in legislation and the establishment of appropriate structures. It was important to recognize the role of social dialogue as one of the main factors in economic and social development at the national and sectoral levels, and employing a bipartite approach should also have a place in this process. Countries in her region looked forward to enhanced working relationships between the Turin Centre and the MDT in Budapest through the establishment of a training network in the region which would further strengthen the MDT's ability to meet the expectations of these member States.
109. The representative of the Government of the United States joined with many others in commending the Office and the Director-General on the significant progress on strategic budgeting that was evident in the document. She welcomed the logical and readable format which presented ILO programme activities, including the InFocus programmes, in the context of the strategic objectives and sub-objectives they were designed to fulfil. She endorsed the IMEC statement but remarked that there were several issues of particular concern to her Government. The strong commitment to continued improvement and refinement of the programme and budget was appreciated but there should be fuller information on the need for and an analysis of extra-budgetary funds. She strongly supported the allocation of regular budget funds to the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, as well as the increase in regular budget resources for child labour. The Director-General's commitment expressed the previous day to efforts to achieve revision and modernization of standards was most welcome, ILO technical cooperation activities as a key means of action deserved strong support and the Committee would look forward to the results of the planned review of the current field structure with a view to ensuring the best possible delivery system. To the same end, the implementation plan for technical cooperation should be fully reflected in the monitoring and evaluation framework of the programme and budget. The United States had long advocated monitoring evaluation and performance measurement as a central element of successful strategic budgeting and, more importantly, successful fulfilment of the ILO's mandate.
110. The incorporation in the Office document of verifiable targets and clear performance indicators for the various operational objectives was a step in the right direction but they should be refined further. To this end it would be interesting to know how the indicators and targets were arrived at, but in any case the inclusion of baselines where they were already known would begin to put them in context. For example, knowing the current number of ratifications of the ILO's fundamental Conventions would indicate whether or not a target of 70 new ratifications was reasonable. In addition, targets could be qualitative as well as quantitative. For example, should the ILO not be aiming for positive references rather than just any references to the World Employment Report in professional publications? The development of a long-term strategic plan for the Organization as an integral part of the strategic budgeting process was a sensible move because such a strategic plan would have to be a dynamic document subject to amendment and change when necessary. As mentioned in paragraph 163, evaluation should be linked to the budgetary process, but this was confused by the next statement that "it is also important that evaluation be extended more than previously to programmes". Was this simply an acknowledgement that insufficient evaluation had taken place previously or did it imply an evaluation of something other than programmes?
111. There should be regular independent evaluations in addition to self-evaluation to ensure the continued effectiveness and relevance of ILO programmes and to guide the development of future programme budgets. Paragraph 163 suggested that independent evaluations would be done only when considered necessary to provide a new perspective to a programme or to improve transparency. It seemed that it should be the evaluation which pointed to the need for change rather than vice versa. All programmes should be established with specific criteria for determining their continued relevance and effectiveness within a predetermined time frame and they should be evaluated at the end of that time. A procedure whereby the Director-General reported these evaluation results to the Governing Body and a method to review and recommend programme renewal or termination should be an integral part of this process. The ILO should move quickly to develop an evaluation strategy and methodology, and provide training on how to perform evaluations. If at all possible, this information should be presented to the Governing Body along with the strategic plan in November 2000. In conclusion the United States expressed support for the points for decision in paragraphs 166 and 167.
112. The representative of the Government of Canada said that the IMEC group wished to put forward for consideration by the Committee a recommendation to the Governing Body to support a proposal which originated from the representative of the Government of Japan and which had the strong endorsement of all IMEC group members. There had been considerable attention given to ILO preparations to participate fully in the United Nations Special Session on the follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development. IMEC believed that similar efforts should also be made for ILO preparations for the United Nations Special Session on follow-up to the Beijing Summit. As noted in the IMEC statement the previous day, the ILO should make and had made a strong commitment to gender equity under the leadership of the Director-General. This should be reinforced and projected to the international level. There were a number of follow-up activities at regional level within the Organization, but IMEC believed it would also be useful to have an opportunity for a more comprehensive overview. Thus, it was proposed that a special symposium on ILO preparations for follow-up to the Beijing Summit be held during the Governing Body session next March. It should be similar to the symposium last March on the Asian crisis. The particular modalities and arrangements would be left to the Office, but a one-and-a-half day session with speakers' presentations and thematic discussions from constituents and external resource persons could be envisaged. It was hoped that this proposal would receive support from the Committee.
113. Mr. Marshall, speaking on behalf of the Employer members, welcomed the recognition in the programme and budget that entrepreneurship and enterprise development formed a fundamental part of activities aimed at achieving social growth, and this theme should be reflected at all levels of the Organization and in all activities. Following a point made earlier, it seemed that there was general agreement to take up the issue of funding technology improvements from the cash surplus, but if that was incorrect it would have to be built into the budget or taken out of the budget elsewhere because the upgrading of systems was urgent and could not be postponed.
114. More information on regional activities would have been useful even though there would shortly be a full review of the field structure, and on a closely related subject some advice from the Office on how, from a management perspective, regional activities would be integrated into the whole of the strategic activities would have been appreciated. The representative of Denmark had also commented on how the integration of vertical and horizontal activities within the Organization would be achieved and a response in due course would be welcome.
115. The Employers' proposal for a working group was not meant to take anyone by surprise. The consultations preceding this meeting had been very effective and the suggestion was that it might be useful to have an additional informal tripartite consultation before the next session of the Governing Body. It was not a question of institutionalizing a new system, or having a major decision-making body, or excluding anybody from discussion. This was never the Employers' intention and in fact they were very comfortable with continuing the process of consultation that existed previously. However, the five points included in the draft terms of reference: effective monitoring and evaluation, meaningful indicators and targets, relevant Governing Body structures, appropriate reporting mechanisms and formats, and appropriate delegations, were fundamental if the strategic planning and strategic budgeting processes were going to work. They were not issues that could wait until 2001 or 2002. If management was going to function in a strategic framework they needed to be either finalized or close to finalization in March 2000. Regarding the proposal in respect of follow-up to the Beijing Summit made by the IMEC group, such a decision would need to be taken by the Governing Body and it would be wrong for this Committee to pre-empt the Governing Body decision by making an allocation. The proposal could be placed on the agenda of the Governing Body and be considered when the Committee reconvened next week if the Governing Body wished to make a financial allocation.
116. The Employers recalled that they had refrained from agreeing to the points for decision when they first spoke, quite deliberately, because they wanted to hear what others would say and what suggestions they would make before expressing their endorsement. They now formally agreed to the points for decision in paragraphs 166 and 167 of the Office document.
117. Taking the floor after the Government delegates, Mr. Blondel wished to return to two matters. The first concerned Mr. Marshall's proposal to set up a flexible structure for internal consultations. On this point, Mr. Blondel recalled that bilateral contacts had taken place between the general management and the various groups. This way of proceeding did not have the same significance as tripartite consultations. It is for this reason that the Worker spokesperson had previously stated that institutionalizing a working group would be somewhat tantamount to setting up a permanent substitute to the Committee, and it was on this issue that the Workers' group had expressed reservations. The second matter concerned the follow-up to the Beijing Summit. The Workers agreed to the idea of a meeting provided that certain matters were made clear, for instance the size of this meeting and financing involved. The Workers did not want to commit themselves to something before knowing what was actually at stake.
118. Mr. Marshall confirmed that the Employers' group had no additional comments to make in respect of paragraphs 25-51.
119. Mr. Blondel stated that the Workers' group was somewhat concerned and uneasy at the idea that standards would no longer be the benchmark of this institution and that they would no longer serve as data to determine options and priorities. The speaker was astonished to see that, in referring for instance to child labour, reference was made to Convention No. 182 but that no mention was made of Convention No. 138. The document gave the impression that Convention No. 138 had been relegated to the shelves. When referring to standards supervision, the document did not define the target. And in the case of social protection for all, no reference was made to the appropriate standards; neither had any target been set. The same applied to strengthening of social dialogue; a reference to Convention No. 144 was missing. The Workers continued to believe that standards were the "backbone" of the ILO and they wished to see a reference to these standards. It was by defining standards at the Conference that the Organization justified its existence. There were those who felt that standards should be revised on a permanent basis and obsolete standards reviewed. The Workers could agree -- provided that attention was not only paid to the application and monitoring but also to the ratification of standards considered reliable. Promotion should not only concern fundamental standards or those which had been redefined. In concluding, the speaker asked if there were extra-budgetary resources for standards. In connection with this question, the speaker made a number of comments on the promotion of the Declaration. Paragraph 27 of the document, which mentioned the coordination of activities between units and structures to promote the standards, seemed less ambitious than Volume 2, which had proposed approaching the IMF and the World Bank. Moreover, thought should also be given to the WTO. All this made the speaker wonder if paragraph 27 reflected a change in attitude on the part of the Office or if the policy of going all out to promote the standards, including with the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO, still held.
120. The representative of the Government of the United Kingdom expressed full support for the IMEC statement and had no comments to add to the general discussion. Technical programmes under this heading were key activities for the United Kingdom covering as they did both the follow-up to the Declaration and child labour, and the increase in resources devoted to the sector was most welcome. Such a significant shift of resources of about 19 per cent seemed to demonstrate one of the many advantages of strategic budgeting. He was pleased to see that, as requested by IMEC on a number of occasions, the regular budget resources devoted to child labour had been increased, and he subscribed to the logic behind the new integrated structure in IPEC, bringing together technical cooperation, quality work and advocacy.
121. In the document Addendum 2 concerning extra-budgetary funding there should be a breakdown of the figure currently described as "Other sources". How was this figure arrived at and what were the sources of extra-budgetary income? The assumption was that the figures in the document, which were rather conservative, essentially represented money already pledged but in the long and medium term it would be better to show a real estimate of the extra-budgetary resources required to achieve programme objectives. This was particularly true in terms of new activities such as the new InFocus programmes, where currently the information provided was negligible despite the fact that funds were needed to pay for them. In the longer term, as was said in the IMEC statement, there should be a budget document that integrated the regular budget with realistic estimates for extra-budgetary resources. Moving on, the figure in the documents of US$2.5 million for the Executive Director's office and common services seemed at first glance to be rather high. There might be good reasons for this but the figure should be broken down so it was known exactly what this money was being spent on.
122. Turning to the question of performance indicators and targets, it might be better if the fourth indicator under section 1(a) was placed under section 1(c) -- Standards supervision. In the third target there was reference to a 20 per cent increase in relevant technical cooperation, but over what baseline? Information on the baseline figures for all indicators was required. Also, what was meant by relevant technical cooperation? It was hoped that in the ILO all technical cooperation was relevant. In the technical cooperation discussion he had repeatedly stated that the Declaration was seen as providing an overall framework within which nearly all of the ILO's technical cooperation efforts should be placed.
123. There were a number of targets where phrases such as "to be defined after the development of baseline data" or "to be developed" were used. This was unfortunate because some sort of input was needed in setting these targets. It would be useful to know when these targets would be enumerated and through what process the Governing Body would be allowed to comment on the new targets set. The Director-General had made some positive comments on the standard-setting process, but indicators in the standards supervision section needed further work. For example, not only was there no mention of the need to improve the overall standard-setting process but performance indicators were vague and unquantifiable and as a result targets were non-existent. The restructuring of the International Labour Standards Department along the lines of the four strategic objectives was a starting point for wider review of the whole process of standard setting and he thanked the Director-General for his informative additional paper on gender equality. The establishment of a gender task force was a useful initiative and it was vital to underline the importance of coordination both within the sector and between sectors. To this end, he supported the proposal for a symposium on the ILO's participation in the Beijing follow-up process but information on how it would be funded would be appreciated. To conclude he expressed the hope that these comments were taken in the constructive sense that they were intended. Overall, this budget document was a massive improvement on its predecessor and he was confident that the one for 2002-03 would be even better. He looked forward to working with the Office to make sure it was.
124. The representative of the Government of Switzerland supported the comments made by the previous speaker regarding the restructuring of the Department of Labour Standards, and endorsed the proposals to increase resources for the InFocus Programme on Child Labour. He hoped that adequate resources would be allocated for the reform of standards in general.
125. The representative of the Government of Japan noted that the Director-General's Report, Decent work, stressed the urgency of renewing work on labour standards. Many delegations, including her own, had already expressed their views on this subject at the June Conference. The ILO should move forward without delay on a comprehensive review of normative activities which should cover all areas of standard setting, standard revision and the review of the supervisory mechanism. The Japanese Government would pay close attention to the reviews of the Committee of Experts and the Conference Committee on the Application of Standards. The Office should ensure that enough resources had been reserved for this work.
126. The representative of the Government of India supported the proposal to develop a new integrated structure through IPEC for organizing all activities relating to the child labour elimination programme. It was interesting that the new structure would be established through a consultation process involving IPEC and the child labour subregional programmes, a process earlier carried out by other departments. The new framework envisaged for monitoring and evaluation by setting performance indicators and targets was a most effective mechanism for monitoring programmes. In this context, he drew the attention of the Committee to table 7, subparagraph 1(b), and expressed general agreement to the performance indicators and targets for child labour. In addition to the performance indicators suggested in table 7, subparagraph 1(b), there should be another appropriate indicator to measure success in eliminating child labour. The immediate objective of this programme should be to tackle the worst forms of child labour by withdrawing children from oppressive working conditions and rehabilitating them as fully as possible. This objective was already spelled out clearly in paragraph 47 of the document and deserved the strongest support. The longer term objective of the IPEC programme was to supplement efforts at the national level to progressively withdraw children from the workplace and to provide them with education. Such a programme should basically be assessed by the number of children who benefited by being freed from child labour and who received proper rehabilitation and education, so an appropriate performance indicator and target should be added in table 7, paragraph 1(b). Continued relevance and application should be the guiding principle for the revision of standards, and indeed this principle should be applied to all Conventions. India had some difficulty with Convention No. 1 concerning hours of work. The problem was that the text of this Convention, which had been ratified by India, would continue to refer to British India rather than a free India. India would like to see this Convention revised as early as possible.
127. The representative of the Government of Peru expressed support for the proposal made by the representative of Mexico because standards were the foundation on which all other programmes were based.
128. The representative of the Government of Brazil supported the statement made by Mr. Blondel with respect to his concern for Convention No. 138 on minimum age.
129. A representative of the Director-General (the Executive Director responsible for Standards and Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work) wished to provide a number of clarifications to the questions raised. He recalled that in this sector a new activity was being developed, namely the promotion and follow-up of the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. If very precise details on the implementation of this activity had been provided at this stage the Committee would justifiably have thought that the Office had already made up its mind without prior consultation on exactly how it should function. One of the observations that the Office had already made was that a considerable proportion of the activities on promoting it would have to be tailor-made. Certain activities would have to be developed progressively, although he recognized the concern expressed by Mr. Blondel, and in the Office's view it was clear that Conventions No. 138 and No. 182 went together. This was reflected in table 7, in the second set of operational objectives on child labour as the first performance indicator pointed to ratifications of both Conventions. Reference to No. 138 was also made in paragraph 47 which described the InFocus Programme on Child Labour.
130. The aim of the reorganization of the Standards Department was precisely to ensure that it could better cooperate and work together with other sectors and their technical departments. The Office intended to develop the kind of synergy and cooperation needed to work in the most effective manner with the Employment, Social Protection and Social Dialogue Sectors. It did not envisage any change in the nature of standards or the approach to them.
131. He drew attention to point 1(c) in table 7 which encompassed standards supervision. The second target pointed to an increase in the number of advisory missions and assistance following the ratification of Conventions. The question of ratification of all Conventions remained very much on the agenda. Regarding extra-budgetary resources for standards, at present these were relatively limited. Norway had allocated $50,000 for action in Namibia and there was a $1.5 million allocation from Denmark for indigenous and tribal peoples. At several stages there had been some discussions pointing to the importance of ensuring that standards supervisory work was financed from the regular budget. The limited additional resources in the budget were for promotional work and other activities. During the past few months the need for promotional activities following ratifications had been highlighted and support had been provided to a number of countries, for example, Indonesia.
132. There were references under the Declaration to outreach efforts. Such efforts were referred to, for instance, in paragraph 36 of the programme and budget and specifically included other intergovernmental organizations. Paragraph 39 referred to other United Nations bodies, Bretton Woods institutions, donor countries and foundations. These were not exhaustive references and there would certainly be a close review of the role of the Declaration in the multilateral system. As to the questions from the United Kingdom, there was, of course, a considerable increase in resources over the last biennium, particularly because IPEC now formed part of this sector, whereas it had earlier been separate. One of the clear explanations for the other sources were the donations allocated to IPEC. Precise figures would be provided to the Steering Committee of IPEC which would be meeting after the Governing Body on Friday of the following week. There were some agreements, including one with France covering donations for the Declaration programme. There were other discussions under way, but more work had yet to be undertaken.
133. The figures for the Executive Director's Office concerned personnel costs of the Executive Director, one coordinator, one-and-a-half General Service staff and one half-time adviser. The rest was RBTC which in this budget was at the sector level.
134. There had not yet been much work carried out in relation to the promotion of the Declaration, but some had been done on fundamental principles and rights. There would be an increase in resources, perhaps higher than the 20 per cent mentioned. Regarding the question of baseline data, he again emphasized that the Declaration activities had just commenced and the Office was determining the most effective process. One Regional Meeting had just been held in Africa and another was being planned for Asia. The latter would probably go ahead soon thanks to funding from the Japanese and United States Governments. During these meetings a discussion on the specific ways in which the fundamental principles and rights of the Declaration would be promoted was essential, as were the linkages between fundamental principles and rights, employment, social dialogue and social protection. The Declaration could be seen as an entry point into activities which would fall into areas covered by the other sectors but which had a direct impact on the fundamental principles and rights. The Office was reviewing this matter as well as the possibility of having a number of country programmes identified as a follow-up to the Declaration.
135. The Office still needed to have the reports on situations of non-ratification and some further elaboration on the basis of the global report before it could develop a sufficiently comprehensive overall picture. The information on the current biennium would have to be reviewed, before a baseline for the future was established. In 12 months or so the Office should be in a much better position to define concrete activities and approaches. Some references had also been made to standards supervision and a review of activities. A paper presented to the working group on revisions of LILS had been discussed on Monday of this week regarding methods of revision. In the forthcoming LILS session, he would be explaining why there would not be a paper on improvements in the standard-setting mechanism, because the more it was reviewed, the more obvious it became that the whole question of revisions, selection and drafting of standards, and the process of negotiating supervisory standards, was one in which it was essential to undertake an analysis providing an overall view. In March 2000 a first paper could be available for the Governing Body providing a general outline of the problem of linkages of these different issues so that an agreement could be reached on how to proceed. No single issue could be reviewed in isolation from the whole process of how the need for standards should be determined, which areas they should cover, and how they should be developed. Before analysing all these specific issues, a general overview was required. Overviews had been the subject of reports to the Conference in 1994, 1997 and in 1999 and it would be timely to undertake a global review and for the Governing Body to decide and give indications on the way in which the Office should proceed. Once a decision was taken, the issue of resources would be clarified.
136. Mr. Marshall, speaking on behalf of the Employers, in connection with the proposals for the employment sector, pointed out that it was necessary to strike a balance between employment promotion activities in the formal and the informal sectors. He proposed that the objective concerned should read "policies and programmes to promote the creation and development of enterprises providing quality jobs and promoting inter-sectoral linkages between enterprises for enterprise evolution and job creation". In this context he was afraid that the second performance indicator was too broad and would therefore be impossible to achieve. Rather, an indicator should be added concerning the number of governments working with the ILO on reviewing the impact on employment of the regulatory framework. He ended by expressing his satisfaction with paragraph 75 of the proposals which recognized the need for an environment conducive to business growth and development and the identification of barriers to it.
137. Mr. Blondel, referring to the replies given by the Deputy Director-General to the questions raised by the Workers on standards, took the floor once again to specify that it was not enough merely to refer to the numbers of the Conventions to meet their concerns which were of a much wider nature. They felt that attention should be drawn to the fact that standards constituted the "backbone" (a term used by a number of Government representatives) of the Organization's work. For instance, when reference was made to boosting the development of SMEs in paragraph 75, it was to be understood that this should be undertaken within the framework of existing texts and that SMEs should also commit themselves to applying the standards. Striving for efficiency should not lead to laxity, because that would result in a situation of total deregulation -- to which the Workers' group was opposed. On the same lines, when reference was made to decent work, this implied that when enterprises created jobs, these should be decent jobs and not conditions of slavery. It was for this reason that the Workers' representative wondered why there was no reference to Convention No. 122 and other Conventions concerning employment in the chapter devoted to this issue. During the preliminary unofficial discussions, the issue had been raised of whether to include fundamental principles and rights at work in the envelope of technical programmes. It was the Workers' group that had suggested to restore the Declaration within the framework of standards, because the Workers did not want fundamental principles and rights to overshadow the rest of the ILO's standard-setting action. It was in this spirit that the Workers had insisted on the concept of the type of employment. In this respect, the speaker was pleased that Mr. Marshall had taken up this concept which had also been agreed upon by consensus at the Conference. Returning to the term of "slavery" that he had used earlier in his statement, the speaker pointed out that this was a matter of terminology. Making very young children work was also a form of slavery. Finally, referring to Mr. Tapiola's statement, he made the following observations. The Workers were not satisfied to learn that the Steering Committee of IPEC would meet after the Governing Body. They felt that there should be a mechanism able to report to the Governing Body. Furthermore, the Workers' group would like to have more details on the organization of IPEC, especially on the use of the donors' money. If it were not possible to provide the details requested at the meetings of this Committee, this should be done at the meetings of another committee. The details they wanted concerned revenue, the donors' money and the operating of IPEC. The Workers did not want to have to wait until after the Governing Body was over to be informed on these matters.
138. The representative of the Government of Slovakia congratulated the Director-General on the proposals, indicating that Strategic Objective No. 2 was of particular importance since in his country employment was a major issue. He briefly described the measures his Government had taken in the fields of employment, entrepreneurship, enterprise restructuring and equal opportunities. He was convinced that his country would benefit from ILO technical cooperation activities in the area of employment.
139. The representative of the Government of Germany asked for some more detailed information on the work of the social finance unit, referred to in paragraph 52, which he considered of great importance. He wondered whether the reference to disabled people under the heading of vulnerable groups was correct, since they were usually referred to as a group with special needs. He was further concerned that there was no reference to cooperation with UNESCO under the InFocus Programme on Skills, Knowledge and Employability.
140. The representative of the Government of Croatia was glad to note that more than 27 per cent of the budget had been allocated to employment. While expressing support for the three InFocus programmes, he wondered why the programme "More and Better Jobs for Women" did not seem to have any regular budget resources.
141. The representative of the Government of Denmark felt that the activities related to skills development and employability in the informal sector had not been clearly reflected in the description of the respective InFocus programme.
142. The representative of the Government of Malaysia expressed his support for the proposals, in particular the one to set up a rapid action fund to field missions to crisis countries at short notice. He also shared, in some detail, the experience his country had had in organizing human resources development.
143. The representative of the Government of China expressed support for the InFocus Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction. In view of the dramatic effect and the large numbers of people affected the ILO should give particular attention to the countries concerned in Asia. He further expressed satisfaction with the emphasis on small enterprise development and hoped that the ILO would be able to mobilize external resources for activities in this area.
144. The representative of the Government of the United Kingdom expressed satisfaction with the proposals and considered that a good start had been made with defining objectives, indicators and targets. However, the proposals did not yet reflect a comprehensive employment strategy which necessarily would have to go beyond the sectoral approach. There was also a need to establish an office-wide task force to review the information available on good practices, particularly on what worked in employment and socio-economic security policies, and distribute it to constituents.
145. The representative of the Government of Brazil, expressing support for the InFocus Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction, felt that there was no need to single out women and children since crises affected nearly everyone. She supported the Employers' remarks concerning the importance of an appropriate regulatory framework.
146. A representative of the Director-General (the Executive Director responsible for Employment) expressed his appreciation for the general endorsement of the programme, indicating that all the comments and observations made would be taken into account when implementing the programme. He noted that there was considerable convergence between the Employers and the Workers in terms of the need for enterprise creation and the emphasis on the quality of jobs in enterprises. It was clear that the quality of jobs was essential for the ILO given its basis in international labour standards. In the Job Creation and Enterprise Development Department considerable work had already been done on how to base management principles on international labour standards. He also noted that in ILO technical cooperation activities there was an increasing synergy between promoting productivity and competitiveness, on the one hand, and raising the quality of working conditions on the other.
147. He pointed out that the work of the social finance unit not only addressed policy-makers but also translated into concrete activities on the ground. It was a successful example of how ILO policy advice was actually put into practice. The unit did not work on its own but interacted actively with other programmes both within the sector and outside the sector. Cooperation with UNESCO was continuing in the area of vocational training.
148. With respect to the programme on More and Better Jobs for Women there was a high level of commitment to gender mainstreaming and gender-specific activities in the Employment Sector. In fact, regular budget funds had been set aside in the gender promotion unit, which was responsible for taking this important programme further. The issue of training and employability in the informal sector was in fact mentioned in paragraph 65, but obviously the informal sector was a cross-cutting issue. With respect to rapid response the Office had not even waited for the formal approval of the proposals but was already active in Kosovo, Turkey and East Timor. External resource mobilization would be necessary for this and other programmes and he was working together with the Executive Director concerned to put in place a strategy for this purpose.
149. He agreed that it was essential to harness available information and knowledge to develop an effective employment strategy. This issue would be dealt with by the sector management unit. Referring to a question raised during the general debate concerning Jobs for Africa, he indicated that the Office attached great importance to this programme. This was reflected by the fact that the Director-General had decided to top up the UNDP contribution ($3.2 million) by $1.1 million from RBTC funds. Naturally the Office would continue to support the programme, both from headquarters and the field. The challenge was now to develop national level programmes and mobilize the necessary substantial extra-budgetary resources.
150. Mr. Marshall, speaking on behalf of the Employer members, welcomed the inclusion of social protection as one of the four pillars. A number of comments were required. First, the Employers firmly believed that competition, change and decentralization did not automatically lead to a lessening of social protection, but paragraph 90 appeared to take a more pessimistic view.
151. The Employers welcomed the recognition in paragraph 96 that prevention paid and the activities proposed under this head.
152. In paragraph 100 the review of standards on occupational safety and health was a positive move and followed on from the Director-General's Report presented at the end of the June Conference. It might act as a pilot scheme for other areas of review, such as the clustering of standards for review in the ILO's overall standards policy. There appeared to be some confusion about the heading "Training programmes and tools for SME owners" which the Office might wish to clarify. Again on a point of terminology, a reference towards the end of paragraph 100 to "tools to reduce work-related environmental damage" might be more accurately expressed as "tools to reduce workplace-related environmental damage". The Office might also wish to explain exactly what was meant by the last point in paragraph 100 relating to "national and industry-level programmes of action to tackle priority issues".
153. The Employer members had encountered difficulties with paragraph 101 because it appeared to be based on the premise that economic trends such as globalization, new technology, and labour market reform automatically resulted in the growth of insecurity. Furthermore, the Employers did not accept any direct linkage between labour market flexibility and informal forms of labour and this did not appear to be a sound basis for the development of an InFocus programme. Moving on, the Employers believed the goals described in paragraph 104 should be more precise. Those mentioned included the promotion of decent work, the development of skills and competencies, and provision of opportunities to live in economic stability. They were legitimate goals, but more suitable for the five-year strategic plan rather than a two-year operational programme and budget. In paragraph 105 the Office should distinguish carefully between the terms employment security, job security, labour market security and workplace security. As well, in paragraph 109 "care work" should be defined, particularly as it referred to compensation and legitimization. Did it mean the care sector and the care industry, or did it refer to domestic care related to the family? Lastly, in paragraph 112 the Employers might well see some appeal in "stakeholderism" and income-sharing schemes, but they would like to know precisely what these terms meant before showing too much enthusiasm for them.
154. Mr. Blondel wished to stress that the Workers' group would like to see the ILO concern itself more with matters concerning health, safety, the environment and repercussions of HIV/AIDS on work -- it being understood that it would not take the place of other international organizations dealing with these issues. The speaker was referring once again to these matters because when reading the document, he felt that he had a different interpretation from that of Mr. Marshall. For instance, he had understood the following in paragraph 90: the increasing challenge to guarantee labour protection, especially in developing countries, may be attributed to the fact that there were those who felt that the lack of social contributions, social security schemes and solidarity were justified because they resulted in even lower production costs, free competition and liberalism that would be boosted by this situation. Returning to table 11, the speaker did not share the enthusiasm which consisted of saying that "international labour standards related to working and employment conditions and social security are widely ratified and effectively applied". He was sure that countries not having a social security system outnumbered those who had one worthy of its name. From this standpoint, a number of references should be made to the relevant standards. It was one of the workers' organizations' major concerns to ensure that social security schemes were established in all countries, in accordance with Conventions Nos. 87 and 98. It was for this reason that the speaker did not want paragraph 90 to be amended. He did, however, share the concerns of the Employers' representative with respect to prevention. The speaker then went on to comment on the concept of flexibility and on working conditions in the informal sector. He stated that he had no difficulties in linking labour flexibility and working conditions in the informal sector. It was obvious that if the informal sector applied standards and regulations, it would become part of the formal sector. Although they understood that the Employers might have some concerns on this matter, the Workers did not feel that the document should be amended on this point. In concluding, the speaker stated that all his comments had been connected with standards. Whether it was a matter of multidisciplinary activities or of regions, he had wanted to demonstrate that there was a certain tendency to overlook standards. The Workers failed to understand why the posts of experts on these issues in Budapest, Cairo and Yaoundé had still not been filled. Budgetary resources had been allocated for these posts which remained unfilled. When decisions were taken they should be implemented.
155. The representative of the Government of the Netherlands welcomed the new structure for this sector which now encompassed two InFocus programmes -- the Socio-Economic Security and the SafeWork programmes, the latter within the Labour Protection Department. They were set up differently: the intersectoral Socio-Economic Security was a separate programme and the SafeWork programme was part of the Labour Protection Department. The operation of the latter would have to be carefully monitored. The document showed generally the operational objectives and performance indicators, but the targets either still needed to be defined or were rather vague.
156. She welcomed the initiative to pay more attention to fatalities at work, in particular because of the impact they had on the family. The Labour Protection Department was aware of the need to expand social protection in a changing world and it was also looking at "soft" standards such as codes of conduct. The creation of the InFocus Programme on Socio-Economic Security brought a new perspective to this sector and would enable the Office to highlight developments related to the continuing process of globalization. She especially welcomed the attention given to the socially weaker groups of women workers and workers with disabilities, but this programme should remain focused and avoid overlapping with other activities in the social security or employment departments.
157. A new point of view did not necessarily mean a different issue, and the intention to move beyond the boundaries of the formal sector and to expand protection to people not currently covered was an excellent move. The reorganization of programmes had had an effect on the balance between budget and personnel and the tasks of the departments, and the ILO should ensure that departments were well equipped to perform and execute their duties. Much had been said in recent months and the time had come to turn words into action.
158. The representative of the Government of the United Kingdom said that her remarks were similar to those of Mr. Blondel concerning the employment sector. Referring to paragraph 109 and the mention of assessing experience with "welfare-to-work" schemes, she explained that in the United Kingdom welfare-to-work was neither a scheme nor a programme -- it was an employment strategy. In examining what income security it offered to disadvantaged and marginalized groups one must take into account the help offered to obtain and retain jobs through advisory services, training, in-work benefits, etc., and there should be an effective strategy on the implementation and dissemination of good practices. It appeared that the balance of the strategy of the InFocus Programme on Socio-Economic Security was directed more towards research and the acquisition of information and not enough towards the dissemination of information. It was not sufficient for the ILO to become the most knowledgeable or the most expert in this field. It must make a difference through delivery of that knowledge and expertise to those who needed it.
159. The proposed programme could be particularly important in the twenty-first century because it would enable the ILO to become a source of readily accessible information about the wide variety of approaches to social protection in countries in different stages of development. However, it needed to take account of the extent of the informal economy in many developing countries. In the twenty-first century, no single system of social protection was likely to be universally relevant and in many cases the solutions would lie in action by groups of workers or even in local community organizations rather than in waiting for government to provide the answers. In this context as well the dissemination of good practices would be particularly valuable. To conclude she would welcome an indication of the level of extra-budgetary resources that the Office considered would be necessary for this programme to achieve its aims.
160. The representative of the Government of Japan referred to paragraph 100 of the document and stressed the need to pay more attention to occupational safety and health in the programme and budget. Referring to the guides on occupational safety and health management systems mentioned in the paragraph, she stressed that management systems at enterprise level should be part of a basic policy to prevent occupational accidents and diseases. She confirmed her Government's support for the ILO initiative and offered to contribute to this exercise with its experience in this area.
161. The representative of the Government of France said the strategic objective for social protection was very important and as the Employers had said, the allocation for these programmes were substantial but were still less than allocations by other institutions such as the World Bank. Therefore, it was necessary to target these resources as well. He urged the Office to pay particular attention to follow-up on the InFocus Programme on Socio-Economic Security and to increase resources if necessary to ensure its success. Referring to remarks by a previous speaker he said that as far as the InFocus Programme on Socio-Economic Security was concerned it appeared that this was more a programme of research in the medium and long term rather than a programme of action targeted over a period of two years and that it would be necessary to target it more closely, particularly in view of the discussions that the Conference would have on these problems in 2001.
162. The representative of the Government of Canada endorsed the remarks of the representatives of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Japan and other members on the importance of this strategic objective. Regarding paragraph 94, she concurred with the statements made by the representative of Denmark, the spokesperson for Africa and other members concerning the importance of the need for the ILO to take into account the effect of HIV/AIDS on workers. Tobacco had an equally serious effect on the health of workers.
163. The representative of the Government of Switzerland associated his delegation with comments made by several delegations, in particular the representative of Denmark, the spokesperson for Africa and Mr. Blondel for the Workers concerning HIV/AIDS and confirmed that he would like to see more ILO activities focused on this issue.
164. The representative of the Government of China pointed out that social protection was a vital issue for many member States that wanted to improve conditions for the workers. The ILO programme was particularly welcome because improved coverage was critical in protecting disadvantaged people. Social security had very close links with social development and cultural development, and in developing programmes in support of social security systems the ILO should pay particular attention to the different needs of member States.
165. A representative of the Director-General (the Executive Director responsible for Social protection) thanked members for their comments and said that they had been carefully noted. Some demanded a more lengthy explanation which the short time available would not allow, and some other arrangement would have to be made for a fuller brief.
166. As regards the negative tone to which members had referred in respect of the InFocus Programme on Safe Work, the intention had not been to focus solely on accidents after the event, but rather to encourage the installation of systems which would prevent accidents. In order to achieve that and for purposes of advocacy, there was a need to collect a large amount of information to raise awareness of the actual situation on the ground. People were largely unaware of the impact of accidents in the workplace and before authorities could be persuaded to install systems to prevent them, they needed to have information demonstrating the impact of such accidents in the first place.
167. Referring to Mr. Marshall's comment on the need to emphasize prevention, she confirmed that this would be a major focus of the Office's work. Sometimes it was only through demonstrating that a particular programme would have collateral as well as direct advantages for all that action which would save families from a lot of unhappiness can be secured. This is why there was a strong economic element to the programme.
168. On the issue of the review of standards, she confirmed that the Social Protection Sector had responsibility for more than 50 per cent of the international labour standards, and the programmes were at the cutting edge of standard setting in the ILO. This year, the sector had piloted all the work for the child labour Convention, and was now working on the maternity protection Convention. She also confirmed that there was no doubt that, within the context of the work on occupational safety and health, the Sector would continue to identify standards that would need further examination.
169. Turning to paragraph 100, she apologized for a printing error. The "Training programmes and tools for SME owners" mentioned by the Employers should be a subsidiary point under "Extending protection to all workers". For this innovative programme, the Office was looking at new approaches which would enable enterprises, whether in the formal sector or in the informal sector or a mix of the two, to install systems for prevention of accidents on their own initiative.
170. Turning to the InFocus Programme on Socio-Economic Security referred to by several speakers, she stressed that it was not as vague or ambitious as it might have appeared. It was in its present form more of a prospective programme at the very early stages of development. It would gather a lot of information which would, in the first instance, improve the ability of the ILO to intervene from a position of strength in the international debate on socio-economic security. This was linked to the extension of social protection and especially to social security which, for the moment, using current ILO approaches had very limited coverage. The programme will identify the reasons for the current exclusion of such large numbers of people from formal coverage systems, including for the informal sector.
171. To be able to launch a credible programme and see rapid progress, it was necessary to collect a lot of information at the outset to establish a firm database, and then focus more on targeted and more tangible action. Of course the traditional work on social security programmes would continue. The Office was looking at ways of bridging the gap between formal social security systems and informal and innovative approaches in order to develop one comprehensive social security package as the basis of advice to constituents. The InFocus programme would identify good practices which could be shared. This programme was definitely a medium-term one. In fact, like the other InFocus programmes, implementation would not be limited to one biennium but more to a five-year time frame. The final product would be of the highest quality and put the ILO at the intellectual cutting edge of social protection. It would assist in devising new ways of promoting socio-economic security in a cost-effective and equitable manner, assist policy-makers in the introduction of innovative schemes, and focus on security for the unemployed and for special groups such as the disabled.
172. Referring to the issue of environment raised by the Workers, she said that there were several organizations working in this area and it was important for the ILO to limit itself to issues related to the world of work. In this regard, the InFocus Programme on SafeWork was looking at items such as the implications of chemical storage, cleaner production technologies, industrial pollution and hazardous waste disposal. Although staff resources for this component were limited, it was work that would involve the whole Office, and the focal point in the sector would develop an integrated approach to environment issues.
173. In respect of the operational objectives of the sector, certainly there was still a lot of work to be done in refining targets and indicators. The technical nature of the work of the sector meant that considerable time was needed to collect definitive baseline data in order to make realistic projections and avoid guesswork.
174. Referring to the statements on HIV/AIDS, she confirmed that the Director-General had demonstrated his commitment to this theme by supporting the meeting in Windhoek. The debate on the item was to be continued during the African Regional Meeting in Abidjan. She stressed that the Office had to be careful that the topic was considered strictly within the context of the world of work, because there were other agencies working on other aspects of the HIV/AIDS problem. However, there were serious work-related issues to consider, such as the effects on productivity, strengthening the capacity of the social partners to address the pandemic, integrating the theme in social security schemes to ensure coverage for those affected, and dealing with issues related to child labour and AIDS orphans. After the meeting in Abidjan, the Office would be in a better position to be more specific in its approaches to this issue.
175. Mr. Marshall, speaking on behalf of the Employer members, observed in all areas of activity there was a need for balance between regulation and flexibility, the formal sector and the informal sector, and to emphasize one at the expense of the other was counterproductive. Turning to paragraph 113(e), he said that establishing the new Government and Labour Law Administration Department was a step in the right direction but the distinction between governments and the two social partners should be maintained. Table 12 highlighted the disparity in allocation for the different programmes, and some thought should be given to changing the present ratios which showed the allocation of monies for the government labour line at $3.5 million, the Employers at $5.7 million and the Workers at $14.5 million.
176. Paragraph 118 showed the Office's recognition of the importance of social dialogue. If these activities were carried out properly social dialogue could, in the medium term, probably be reorganized under other programmes and abolished as a separate heading.
177. Concerning table 13, Mr. Blondel was of the opinion that a target of ten ratifications for Convention No. 144 was inadequate. This Convention concerning tripartite consultation was a landmark; it was the instrument which breathed life into tripartism, the basic framework for the ratification of other Conventions. It was an integral part of democracy. It was vital that the Organization should provide itself with the means to make a higher target than ten ratifications, because it was Convention No. 144 which encouraged a wider tripartite participation at the Conference. Convention No. 144 was a pivotal Convention which had an impact on all the Organization's activities. It deserved greater respect. As regards ACTRAV, the Workers were not opposed to financial assistance being allocated for the training of employers, provided it was clear that assistance should also be granted to the training of workers' representatives.
178. The representative of the Government of Croatia found some differences of terminology between the English and French texts confusing and asked the Office to be more precise with translations.
179. The representative of the Government of Indonesia stressed the importance of workers' education as mentioned in paragraph 113. In Indonesia new trade unions had been established and officials of those unions should be properly equipped to understand the role of workers' organizations, not only to attend meetings such as the ILC but also to be familiar with the implementation and monitoring of labour standards. In the last few months, Indonesia had conducted over 70 national familiarization tripartite workshops on fundamental principles and rights at work which were attended by the representatives of employers' and workers' organizations and several government institutions.
180. The representative of the Government of the United States looked forward to the report in March on the review of the sectoral activities programme. One question concerned paragraph 113(d), near the bottom of the paragraph, where there was a sentence: "Technical cooperation activities will continue to be developed with a view to mobilizing increased extra-budgetary funding". This was a little confusing because it seemed that technical cooperation programmes should be developed for their intrinsic value, not for the purpose of raising extra-budgetary funding. As several speakers had already commented realistic estimates were needed of how much extra-budgetary funding was required, followed by a statement of where the Office expected such funding to come from.
181. A representative of the Director-General (the Executive Director responsible for Social dialogue) stated that she would include a response to some comments from the general debate on the budget document to the several issues raised with regard to the specific debate on sector 4. A great deal of interest had been shown in this strategic objective, which was both an end and a means to achieving the other objectives of the ILO as articulated in the programme and budget. The ILO had a tripartite tradition that constituted a respect for the role of governments, the role of workers' organizations, and the role of employers' organizations, but the strengthening of these roles had usually been done separately. By addressing all three as one strategic objective, these efforts could come together like pieces of a puzzle to create a much more impressive vision of what it meant to have democracy and basic human rights in the workplace. That message provided a real opportunity for the ILO to create a genuine convergence of interests of the three parties by emphasizing the importance of tripartism and social dialogue as the foundation for all of the other ILO objectives.
182. Some specific concerns had been raised about parts of the programmes involved in the effort to promote social dialogue. In particular, some concerns were raised with regard to the programme on sectoral activities, a crucial element in promoting social dialogue but also a crucial element in promoting the other strategic objectives of the Organization. The cross-cutting nature of sectoral activities merited a further study which would be submitted in a paper for consideration by the Governing Body in March. With regard to the adequacy of resources for sectoral activities, there was no loss in capacity or in commitment on the part of the Organization to deliver those basic services for all 22 major sectors that were part of the programme. She assured the Committee that all 22 sectors would be serviced in a competent and effective manner and sectoral activities would be more actively integrated into the rest of the Organization and in the advancement of social dialogue.
183. The comments raised with regard to the new Unit on Government Labour Law and Administration reflected the interest in this unique approach to address the importance of strengthening governments as a tripartite voice. Although not a "social partner" as such, they did participate as an entity in tripartite deliberations and played a crucial role in providing the framework and setting the rules in member countries for workers' and employers' organizations to engage in effective social dialogue. So this unit provided a real opportunity to increase ILO support for strengthening the capacity of governments to provide such a framework and to engage in social and economic policy deliberations.
184. The importance of promoting social dialogue was something very clearly connected to the normative work of the Organization to make it possible for people to have a genuine opportunity for deliberations, consultation and dialogue. The ratification campaign identified in this sector for Convention No. 144 was crucial in the support for that normative approach. The target for the next biennium of ten ratifications was a modest effort at identifying how to go about broadening the support for tripartite consultation. Convention No. 144 had 90 ratifications, and the 91st was imminent. It was extremely important to have this target of ten additional ratifications fit into a longer range strategic plan, not only in terms of increasing the number of ratifications but also in terms of increasing the implementation of tripartite consultation within the countries that had ratified it. There would be a review of Convention No. 144 at the Conference next year which would address ways to improve the effectiveness of the use of this Convention. Social dialogue facilitated and was dependent on the recognition and support for the full range of Conventions of the ILO, most particularly freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, and therefore the promotion of social dialogue was crucial in broadening the support for basic standards. A sensitivity to making things work with the social partners operating in each particular country to advance social dialogue was something that had to be an integral part of the programme and therefore required close coordination with the field.
185. On the issue of interaction between technical cooperation and mobilizing extra-budgetary funding, the basic regular budget commitment to the InFocus Programme on Strengthening Social Dialogue was intended as seed money that could be built on with support from other donors that had the capacity to contribute resources to support programmes that advanced social dialogue. There had been a number of successful programmes working in different parts of the world already with key donors, and the intention was to build on those experiences and take advantage of the support for creating partnerships to promote social dialogue.
186. Mr. Marshall, speaking on behalf of the Employer members, asked if sufficient funds would be available for holding board meetings. At present most meetings were too short and it would be better to extend them if funds were available to do so. The second point concerned an acceptance in principle of the need to introduce a programme for employers' activities at the Centre. Some form of funding would be necessary at the start until it became self-funding. In respect of the International Policy Group proposed in paragraph 127, the Employers' welcomed the Office initiative. It would play a valuable role in the activities of the Organization, and the Governing Body should be kept informed of progress. The Governing Body, with Conference authority, should play a greater role in providing guidance to the Director-General on policy issues when he was taking part in discussions with other international organizations. The Employer members would look forward to some good policy debates as a result of the work of the new body.
187. In respect of paragraph 131 and table 14, Mr. Marshall appreciated the additional papers on technical cooperation and extra-budgetary funding allocations. It would, however, be useful to have a detailed document showing regular budget and extra-budgetary resources against activities to identify clearly the priorities of the Organization.
188. Mr. Blondel welcomed the fact that the ILO International Training Centre had become the main training centre for all the organizations in the United Nations system. He was proud of the Centre's well-deserved reputation. The speaker thus wondered why the ordinary budget resources earmarked for the Turin Centre had remained unchanged compared with the 1998-99 period, although the Centre had additional duties. He also stated that the Workers would like to know whether steps had been taken for ILO officials to undergo training in Turin and, if that were the case, what were the number and nature of these training sessions. The Turin Centre should have sufficient relations with those responsible for the four strategic objectives so that training might be integrated in these objectives. Returning to the matter of gender equality, the speaker confirmed that the Workers were open to the idea of a symposium. He noted in the documents that the budgetary funding for these activities had increased by 156 per cent and was pleased with this development. The speaker finally turned to the question of conflicts and initiatives to be taken to help reconstruct countries afflicted by war. Given that war was the by-product of poverty and lack of democracy, it would be appropriate for the Committee one day to discuss this matter to specify the ILO's action in this field and its limitations. Was it setting out to repair damage by aiming at reconstruction -- or was it attempting to take preventive action by laying the foundations for peace?
189. The representative of the Government of Germany regretted that much of the text in the document was too vague and budget documents in future should be much more precise and specific. He was pleased to see an increase in resources made available for the programme on gender equality, and supported the intention to increase the visibility of the ILO's contribution to gender equality especially in the follow-up conferences planned on the Fourth World Conference on Women and the World Summit for Social Development.
190. The representative of the Government of Italy was pleased with the remarks expressed by the Employers' and Workers' groups regarding the Turin Centre. The Italian Government had a high regard for the Centre and its work and he agreed with what was said previously about the ILO making better use of Turin Centre facilities.
191. A representative of the Director-General (the Director of the International Training Centre of the ILO, Turin) confirmed that, following the Employers' suggestion, the Turin Centre would create a post for a specialist in matters related to the Employers' concerns. The modalities to finance the post would have to be discussed between the ILO and the Centre, for the first years, since later the post should be financed out of the activities it would promote.
192. In reply to queries from the Workers, he recalled that the budget structure of the Turin Centre was derived 30 per cent from subsidies and 70 per cent from activities. Of the 30 per cent, 8 per cent was contributed by the ILO. This was the figure referred to in the last line of paragraph 125 and would not be modified during the course of the 2000-01 biennium. The remainder consisted of the 70 per cent from activities. The Turin Centre had successfully increased its activities each year to the extent that increasing costs were met from this revenue and had not resulted in increased contributions from the ILO. In reply to the question about how many ILO staff were trained at the Turin Centre the answer was that while the United Nations system and other organizations of the United Nations under the Programme Staff College scheme were using Turin to train their officials the ILO had not yet used its own training centre to train its staff. The ILO and the Centre were now going to explore what arrangements could be made to develop training programmes for the ILO staff.
193. Mr. Marshall, speaking on behalf of the Employer members, said that the quality and structure of governance, reporting mechanisms, the evaluation and monitoring procedures together with appropriate delegation of authority underpinned almost everything the ILO did. In paragraph 141 it might also be useful to mention that the Office should operate within budget. The Employers fully supported the key indicators listed in paragraph 144.
194. Mr. Blondel stated that he had no major observations to make on these documents. In other words, the Workers agreed to their content.
195. The representative of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, referring to the last subparagraph under paragraph 136, emphasized that as the process of globalization gathered pace the ILO would have to increase considerably its activities in the regions. In the last ten years more than 560 regional groupings had been created so the regional level could provide a sound base for disseminating ILO standards and principles. The Caribbean Office had an excellent record in this respect, but in that area only six regional trade and socio-economic cooperation networks were targeted for attention. The Office should do more with smaller and less high-profile regional trade and socio-economic cooperation networks such as the CARICOM.
196. Mr. Marshall said that the Employers would look forward to further discussions on this subject at the next session of the Governing Body.
197. Mr. Blondel made two brief comments. The first concerned paragraph 158, which proposed a "cycle" for reporting. The Workers hoped that these dates would be respected and approved them, while expressing the wish that they would be effective. The second observation concerned the proposed working method. The Workers stated that they were satisfied with this way of working. The Workers' group hoped that this method would be applied to the forthcoming budgets including, as the case may be, during their evaluation. Preference should be given to the practice of unofficial contacts for their preparation.
198. A representative of the Director-General (the Director of the Bureau of Programming and Management) replied to a number of questions raised during the general discussion. In response to the Workers' query, about officials working in the regions and the announcements that the Director-General had made about senior appointments in the ILO, particularly as a result of the creation of InFocus programmes and the high proportion of women appointed to those new posts, the answer was that there would not be any special measures taken for people in the field, although special measures might be needed if anything unexpected were to arise out of the review of regional operations. As for information about the crèche, the new Director of Personnel would report on this matter later in the discussion.
199. Regarding staff training and the question from the IMEC spokesperson, about $2.15 million was allocated for this purpose for 2000-01. How that money was used would depend on progress with the new human resources strategy. In response to queries about the proposed evaluation strategy, this subject was expected to be included in the November 2000 paper on the Strategic Plan.
200. Questions had been raised asking how performance indicators and targets were formulated. This work had been done by ILO staff in collaboration with consultants over the summer months. This work would continue with technical help recruited when needed. In reply to comments concerning independent evaluations, the intention was to establish a cycle of evaluations which would cover all major activities.
201. A question had been asked about how headquarters and the regions would integrate their activities under each of the four technical sectors. This also was new work for the ILO but would start from the principle that work on objectives, indicators and targets could only be done through consultation between headquarters and the regions. That would require joint work planning between the two groups in which each decided what it could best do to achieve those objectives and targets with the help and support of the other. Consultations would also take place between the Office and the Governing Body and the results of these discussions would be included in the March 2000 progress report on the Strategic Plan.
202. The representative of the Director-General (the Treasurer and Financial Comptroller) replied to concerns expressed that there had been a reduction in the level of resources for the Asia-Pacific region. Table 3 on page 7 showed that in fact there was a programme increase of $400,000 or about 1 per cent for this region. The financial crisis in Asia had led to a sharp devaluation of many national currencies which meant that local operating costs, in terms of the United States dollar, had dropped considerably. For example, before the crisis the Thai baht was about 25 to the US dollar compared to about 39 to the dollar at present. Similar devaluations of other currencies in the region led to lower operating costs in dollar terms, which translated into substantial cost decreases for the next biennium. These decreases, however, did not imply that there had been any reduction in the level of programmes.
203. The Treasurer explained that the adjustment for exchange rate fluctuations worked in both directions. That was to say, that if currencies were revalued against the dollar, then the higher costs in US dollar terms would be reflected as a cost increase in the budget. He emphasized that such adjustments, either increases or decreases, did not affect the level of the programmes.
204. A comment had been made by the representative of Germany that the total of amounts shown for other sources in the various budget tables exceeded the $215.6 million for technical cooperation shown in Addendum 2 to the Office paper. The figures were not comparable because the latter represented extra-budgetary funds for technical cooperation activities, whereas the former also included programme support income and various other revenues such as the Publications Revolving Fund and the ITU contribution for administration costs of the ILO/ITU Staff Health Insurance Fund, etc.
205. The Director-General then made the following statement to the Committee:
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairperson, and thank you all for what for me has been an extremely enriching experience. In your comments, I find many good ideas and practical suggestions. There is a demand for more information about future changes and many opinions were expressed as to how we can make things work better. This is exactly what I understand to be the interaction between the Office and the Governing Body. We carry out the consultations and put them together and then you refine it all in a final meeting like the one we have now. From my point of view, this is an excellent way of working. I think that this is the manner in which we in the Office feel confident in what we have to do because we have heard you informally and formally and we can then proceed to act accordingly.
There is one issue which I would just like to mention which very clearly cuts across most of the comments and that is that we have to hone our indicators and targets better. We know that, and we said so in the document. I said so in my introduction yesterday. I think that we have here a common challenge where we have decided to move into strategic budgeting, but we do not yet have experience of it. We already have the experience of administrative budgeting but now it has to be developed on a different plane. But, as I said yesterday, please feel absolutely free to come and help us. If you have suggestions or proposals as you go through the document again and say "Why do you not think about this?" or "Why do you not think about that?", then please let us know. I received the other day a visit from the representative of the Philippines, who coordinates Asia within ILO, and the Ambassador of New Zealand, who made a number of suggestions as to the sort of things that we should be thinking about in the future. Let me tell you that I can only welcome that. I will always understand it as a contribution on your part to ensure that we can do things better. This field is a complex one, a difficult one, and we need to move ahead together. So anything on indicators and targets which you would like to add to what was said today, you are absolutely welcome to do so. This is the way we should continue to work in future.
Let me take up some of the questions and issues that were raised. There is one that for me is extremely important. Sometimes it was said as a question, sometimes as a comment: "We have four strategic objectives but how do we make them all work together? How do we have a single ILO policy? How do we develop an integrated conceptual programme framework?" I think that this is a big challenge. It is an analytical challenge on the one hand, and it is an organizational or operational challenge on the other, but I think we are going in the right direction. The big security we have is that the ILO is a value-based organization, so whenever we have doubts about what to do we have the Constitution of the ILO to guide us.
On the other extreme, the ILO has been accustomed to working in a fragmented way, with a programme here and a programme there and others that are separated. This has been the habit of this house for a long time. To bring in the notion that things are integrated, that things interact, and that one way or the other somebody else is doing something that is relevant to what you are doing is a change we have to make. One important effort is what we are doing as decision-making organs, and what I tried to do in my Report, Decent work, to respond to your requests for a fresh approach. You asked for a new budgetary approach. I said in my Report that this is the first approximation of how all of this begins to come together. What is the logic for having chosen these four objectives and how do they interact? What have we done so far? We began by putting together the new structures for the sectors.
You will see in paragraph 11 of the budget that we talk about common services at the sector level. What this means is that we want technical sectors that are capable of talking to each other. What does it mean that they can talk to each other? It means that they have certain functions that repeat themselves within each sector. For example, you have all highlighted the gender question. Each sector will have a capacity to have an overall vision as to what is happening in terms of mainstreaming and in terms of gender-specific projects, and also the capacity to talk with persons with the same overview in other sectors. At the end of it all, there is the Bureau for Gender Equality which will have an overall Office perspective. For research it will be the same, with the Institute having an overall view of what we are doing. The same in statistics, the same in technical cooperation, the same in external partnerships, etc.
To ensure that some activities are replicated obliges us to create dialogue across the sectors so they can talk among themselves on those issues, but with a unit with an overall vision for each function. This is one of the new structures that did not exist before.
This leads to another important issue -- how do you stimulate internal communication within the house?
During my transition period, I encouraged a group of ILO people who worked on a voluntary basis to produce a complete -- and I would say sophisticated -- instrument of a number of objectives of internal communication. And I arrived at the Office saying this is something I would like to push right away. I then realized, however, that until we had all of the structures clear we would create a lot of confusion, so I held it back until we knew who communicates with whom, out of what sector and out of what InFocus programme. We will begin working now to see how we can put it in place, so in the next stage of actually implementing the budget the question of how we begin relating to each other will be uppermost in our minds.
I think that another important aspect will be how we develop the monitoring and evaluation systems because, in a results-based process, it is important to have teamwork to have a more integrated programme. The more isolated you are in what you are doing, the less likely you will appreciate how what you are doing is linking to other things.
So this is something that we still have to see, but at the same time we have to have some market stimulus -- if I can call it this. There have to be incentives for working together and for being imaginative in thinking about ways that sectors can be linked up with others, because in the end that is going to be reflected in a good or bad evaluation.
I am just mentioning some things that I perceive as key to our work because I think that the value of what we produce will be seen in a strong and integrated ILO voice that is capable of including in one single formulation whatever it is doing in a particular sphere.
I just want to give you an example of what inspires me on this particular question. For a long time we have had discussions internationally about the need for economic policies and social policies to be considered together. I have been talking for a number of years now about the need for economic efficiency and social efficiency as being objectives that have to be pursued simultaneously. We have done an enormous amount of work to show that social development programmes enhance productivity rather than detract from it.
I think that we are probably moving into a stage, if we are successful in what we are doing, in which we will be able to say you do not pursue economic objectives exclusively with economic policies. You may have an economic policy that pursues certain objectives but if you do not have education, if you do not have health, if you do not have government institutions and many other things most of which are either in the social sector or the institutional sector, what is the point of having an economic policy?
Conversely, you do not pursue social objectives exclusively with social policies. That is not the way it happens. Most social objectives are related to activities in the productive part of the economy. That is where jobs are created, resources created, taxes levied and things begin to happen because you have appropriate policies in place.
So my conclusion is that in the end we are talking about a single policy. I would say "look let us finally understand that it is one single policy, that has different dimensions that are formulated in different places, but that they all interact in different ways, ways which we have to understand". Now one of the problems, and I have been criticizing the multilateral system for this but it applies equally to the way we organize our own affairs at home, is that everything is organized sectorally. I truly believe that we are reaching the limits intellectually, in terms of policy and politically in terms of what people are demanding of sectoral solutions to integrated problems. But our responsibility today is in the multilateral system, and I have emphasised this idea very strongly. I think that at least in the ILO we could try to make more progress with an integrated approach.
Why am I so insistent with this idea? It pre-dates my arrival here, the need to understand that an integrated approach is needed in the multilateral system. I studied it when I was in Copenhagen and when I presided over the Economic and Social Council, but in the ILO it has become much clearer to me because, as Director-General of the ILO, I have by definition to have integrated thinking. When I think about what the ILO is doing I have to think about what governments are thinking, and different types of governments have different interests, I have to think what the Employers are thinking, and I have to think what the Workers are thinking. I have to be integrated in my own mind to begin with before even thinking about the multilateral dimension.
Now the ILO happens to be the only institution with a tripartite structure, so for us it is easier to generate integrated thinking. We are in a much better position than government ministers because we are much closer to real life here and to the real world of work. This links in with the International Policy Group. The International Policy Group's objective is precisely to be able to begin developing those notions. We are beginning in a small way because we have to test things. But I think that we can be more ambitious in explaining the interaction between the global economy and the world of work, which is our mandate. The reason we have a particular responsibility for being able to do that is that no other organization has the composition that gives us a sense of what people are asking today and at the same time a composition that links us to the real life of production and work. We can give opinions about the types of policies that will affect the life of people for the better, and also about the structures that will generate production and investments.
I have taken a little time just to tell you that I believe that this challenge, which stems from trying to put our house in order, is a challenge that if we are able to meet it, will have a pronounced multiplier effect because we will be in a much better position to deal with the wider issues that the ILO will have to face.
Let me just go through very quickly other issues that were raised. One is the regions. I think that it is extremely important that we all recognize the centrality of technical cooperation and the relations with the regions. That is key to our future development and, as I announced in March, we have come to the moment when we need to take a look at how interaction with the field takes place.
I said en passant in my introduction, and I want to say again, this is not a restructuring exercise. It is not a question of what do we do with an office, do we open one or do we close one. This is an efficiency exercise, about service, about how the headquarters can best service the field, about how the field can best service our constituents and finally about how between headquarters, the field and the constituents we can all work together to improve the quality of our work. So this will be the guiding notion -- to better the quality and delivery of our service. If we realize that some of the structures are hindering the delivery of services we will find out why and it is important also for our constituents to know in general what our approach is going to be.
Another element we need to develop is a common monitoring and evaluation process. This is a logical development from many of the comments made by Mr. Skerrett.
We need to accelerate a number of appointments in the regions but I think that legitimate questions have been raised about filling vacancies. We also need to have some sort of perspective of the flow of personnel to and from the regions and I will ask the Director of Personnel to speak on this issue.
On the gender question, I thank you very much for your support. You know well that this is something that I believe is necessary in the ILO, as much as it is necessary worldwide. I have seen in the United Nations and in many other places that this is an issue that is key to understanding the type of society that we are going to have in the future. The things that we have done are just a start, they signal a direction, a political intention, a political will on my part to begin that work. I want to pick up what was said by many of you, the need for an accountability framework for gender equality. I think that is most important. Again if you have ideas, if you have suggestions on how we should proceed, if you know of best practice in your own governments, or in other institutions that you feel have done this well, then do please come and tell us.
The idea of a symposium on gender equality next March I like very much; it has my full support and I certainly hope that we can do it.
On the question of the role of standards, we all know that standard setting is the historical mandate of the ILO. It is the reason why this institution was established. I can assure Mr. Blondel in reply to his question that we are far from losing that raison d'être. The supervisory machinery works well but let us try to make it better, more useful, more responsive to the conditions of today. But the fact that we want to do it as we modernize other parts of the house does not mean that it is losing precedence. What it means is that we want to maintain the presence that it has. My feeling is that in terms of international perception labour standards are regarded as not having sufficient strength, but as a core activity I would like it to have the strength that the Constitution of the ILO gave it.
Maybe all of the relevant Conventions were not named in every place in the budget document, but there is one change which I think is important and that is to change the structure of the Standards Department according to the strategic objectives. This will permit NORMES to align its work with the rest of the strategic objectives in a way that was not the situation before. I think that is a positive development.
Employment generation is another of our top priorities and I believe the proposals contain a response to what most countries are looking for.
Let me just finish with some comments on our capacity for rapid reaction. You know we have been active in Kosovo; we have been active in Turkey; we have been active in East Timor as well. We will be preparing a document on all these activities which will be submitted to the Conference.
The suggestion concerning ILO staff training at Turin is a good idea. It seems unusual that of 6,500 students last year not one was from the ILO, but as a rule training in the ILO tends to be more an individual thing. We have discussed it from time to time and there is no firm policy yet but now we are trying to organize it better. We need to do it for our staff and for our reputation.
I would like to make a few concluding remarks. I think that this method of informal consultation that we have got going is something that permits us to refine our work and at the end come up with a much better product. I understand that some would like to take a further step. May I suggest we continue informal consultations a while longer before deciding whether we want to give them more structure. I understand the usefulness of what we are doing because I think it gives us much more liberty. People can talk about a problem in ways that maybe they could not in a formal setting. We at the Office can do the same. I appreciate that you like it, that this is the way you want to work, and it is very definitely the way I feel comfortable. I think of the discussion we have had about the budget, and about the many other things that we have addressed this way. I am committed to this process of dialogue. I think that this debate just reinforces what we are trying to do in the Office and you will always know that your suggestions and your ideas are welcome. We will continue with the same open process of informal dialogue with you and follow it with formal discussions here in our meeting rooms. Thank you so much.
206. The Chairperson thanked the Director-General for his statement. In the light of the views expressed by members of the Committee during the course of discussion the Chairperson proposed that the detailed programme and budget proposals contained in the Office documents could now be recommended by the Committee to the Governing Body.
207. The Committee recommends to the Governing Body that, in accordance with paragraph (b) of the resolution adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 87th Session (1999) relating to the Programme and Budget for 2000-01 and having regard to the provisions of article 15 of the Financial Regulations, it approve the detailed budget of expenditure by item for the biennium 2000-01 contained in table 2 of document GB.276/PFA/9, reproduced as Appendix II to this report.
208. The Committee recommends to the Governing Body that it endorse the planning, monitoring and reporting arrangements described in paragraph 158 of document GB.276/PFA/9, reproduced as Appendix III to this report.
Geneva, November 1999.
(Signed) M. Blondel,
Points for decision:
Director-General's introductory statement
It is my pleasure to present to you my detailed Programme and Budget proposals for the 2000-01 biennium. You requested this information last March in approving the Strategic Budget. The budget resolution unanimously adopted by the International Labour Conference makes specific mention of detailed proposals to be submitted to you at this session. I also undertook to begin the process of specifying performance indicators and targets. The responses to these requests are found in the document before you, which should be read in conjunction with the Strategic Budget submitted last March and my Decent work Report to the Conference.
We are now ready to take the final step prior to commencing the next biennium. In addition, we have reached an important milestone in the overall reform of the programme and budget process.
I have a threefold purpose in this introduction to my proposals:
In my introduction to the Strategic Budget in March, I said the following: "This budget is an integral part of a wider process of change that will take place in the ILO from March to November 1999 at three interlocking levels: formulation of a strong tripartite consensus around the Organization's substantive priorities and the main focus of each priority, a reallocation of budgetary and extra-budgetary resources to implement them through the Organization's programme of work, and the corresponding adaptation of the management structures and programme activities to make them operational …" (paragraph 11).
Since these words were written a lot has been achieved through a new interaction between the decision-making bodies and the Office. The changes announced in March have been basically completed. We can all can be satisfied with a shared ownership of results.
The foundation of all the developments I will present to you is the strong consensus in the Governing Body and at the International Labour Conference on the strategic framework within which we will operate. Based on extensive formal and informal consultations, we have agreed upon four strategic objectives, each of which contributes to the ultimate goal of decent work for all. They are rights at work, employment, social protection and social dialogue. These strategic objectives are the basis of structural reforms and management initiatives. I will propose that they should also be the starting point for the next steps in strategic planning.
Immediately after I took office last March, I began to introduce a series of management reforms. Among them:
As a result of these management reforms, the Organization as a whole has a greater sense of the strategic direction of the ILO. Taken together, these changes assign clear responsibilities at different management levels and establish the corresponding basis for accountability. The first signs are also apparent of a new climate of openness and participation within the Office which I intend to encourage and reinforce.
The renewal of technical work has included a strong measure of action for gender equality. I began by upgrading the Office of the Special Adviser on Women Workers' Questions, renamed the Bureau for Gender Equality, which now reports directly to me. It has produced an action plan for gender mainstreaming discussed within each sector and recently approved by the Senior Management Team. I also have appointed qualified women to a high proportion of the senior positions that were made available by the creation of the InFocus programmes. Perhaps most important of all, the individual technical sectors have taken concrete steps to introduce gender mainstreaming as a central part of their work while maintaining important gender-specific projects. Existing programmes, such as More and Better Jobs for Women, will continue to be important, but gender issues will not be confined to special programmes, rather they will also be built into ILO work across the board. There will be a provision for a full gender expert in each sector. I will ensure that this promising start continues.
In response to a request from some members of the Governing Body a separate document will be distributed that estimates the resources and describes the activities for gender equality in 2000-01. That document shows that some $12.3 million will be devoted specifically to gender equality, an increase of more than 150 per cent over 1998-99. It also shows that the gender dimension is integrated into all technical sectors.
We have also made an exceptional effort to involve field staff in the restructuring and priority setting. A general consultation of senior regional staff was held in Geneva after the Conference. Each sector has organized consultations with their counterparts in the regions.
Each InFocus programme has inputs and collaboration with the regions as a major element of its plans. I have begun the practice of joint meetings of the Senior Management Team and the Regional Directors at least three times a year and plan to develop further the interaction between them, the MDTs and the area offices, taking advantage of improving communications technology.
The proposals before you include a transfer of resources from headquarters to the regions. We have begun a review of measures to strengthen field services and to make them even more responsive to ILO priorities. The review will:
Our efforts in favour of the regions will include, as requested by the Conference, an important programme of technical cooperation. The estimates that are available to you show an increase from $179 million in 1998-99 to $215 million in 2000-01. These figures are of course preliminary and have already evolved since the first estimates were furnished to you in March. For example, as regards technical cooperation on the follow-up of the Declaration, for which we made no estimates in the document before you, a commitment of the equivalent of US$1 million from the Government of France has already been made. The Governments of Japan and the United States are funding the first Asian meeting planned under the Declaration, scheduled for this December. Fuller and more up-to-date information on technical cooperation is available to you in a separate information document.
In the future, we will provide fuller information on the breakdown of "other sources" of funds by programme with indications of the contributions by donor. The final objective is to have all financial resource figures concentrated in one document.
Efforts have been made by the support services to improve the quality of their work while identifying savings that can be used for action in favour of constituents. In addition to the savings they have identified, they initiated work on setting service standards so that results-based budgeting techniques apply throughout the Office.
The changes mentioned will require staff who are motivated and highly skilled. I have been impressed by the dedication of the staff since I have taken office. I am convinced that with modern and fair personnel policies which highlight career development and efficient administration we can go even further in developing world-class performance in all aspects of our work. A separate paper has been submitted to you on this matter.
No doubt there are many areas in which the Office has to reform its ways in order to meet our responsibilities. But there is none more important than the way we treat our young professionals. We need major surgery. When I arrived, I found a situation in which many had decided to leave in the recent past. Others decided to do so afterwards. It is normal to pursue other career opportunities or move because of personal or other reasons, but my perception is that many may have done so because of the indifference and lack of guidance of their superiors, less than delicate management methods and an inappropriate working atmosphere. It is an issue that concerns me deeply. Action is long overdue. I have instructed our new head of personnel to act promptly and swiftly on this matter. To facilitate change, I have decided to appoint a young professional to my Cabinet with -- among others -- the specific responsibility of advising me on these issues and keeping me abreast of situations I should be aware of.
I would now like to turn to the main features of the document before you.
The level of the budget that I presented to the Governing Body last March, and which the Governing Body in turn recommended to the International Labour Conference for adoption, was $481.05 million, which represented zero growth as it corresponded exactly to the level of the Programme and Budget for 1998-99. At the time, these budget proposals had been costed at the 1998-99 budget rate of 1.46 Swiss francs to the dollar. However, in accordance with the established practice, the Finance Committee of the Conference revised this exchange rate to that prevailing at the time when it approved the programme and budget. The rate adopted was 1.53 Swiss francs to the dollar which led to a reduction of $13.58 million, or 2.82 per cent, in the nominal level of the budget.
This reduction of $13.58 million in the nominal level of the budget is due entirely to exchange rate fluctuations and, if the underlying Swiss franc and dollar components of the budget are examined, they are identical to those in the 1998-99 budget. I point this out firstly to dispel any impression that there was a real reduction in the 2000-01 programme and budget as compared with that of the present biennium and, secondly, that this distortion in the nominal level of the budget, even though the Swiss franc and dollar components remain constant, should be taken into consideration and kept in perspective when the budget proposals for the following biennium are formulated.
This is a zero-growth budget. However, there are very substantial demands for resources for new priorities and to strengthen existing action. All parts of the Office have been asked to make a major effort to identify efficiencies, savings, and ways of enlarging the impact of our work within strict budgetary limits. Based on a process that I can assure you has not been easy, we have freed additional resources for the most essential programmes.
While I will not review all the details of the document, I would like to list those items that have been reinforced:
The document provides detailed descriptions of these new and strengthened areas of work, particularly the InFocus Programmes, since these are the areas on which less information was available in Volume 1 of the programme and budget.
The resources to carry out this work have essentially been found outside the technical programmes together with the elimination or reduction of some activities. The balance between different strategic objectives remains broadly in line with my proposals in March. Employment is the largest field of work overall. Some of you have commented that there seems to be a decline in resources for the employment sector but, in reality, resources for employment will increase. There are a number of reasons for this. First, most of the work of the International Policy Group will relate to employment. Secondly, technical cooperation on employment is expected to reach some $134 million in 2000-01 compared with $113 million in 1998-99. These amounts are far more than in any other sector. Thirdly, programme support resources for technical cooperation on employment will increase to over $5 million for the biennium. All of this pushes the real budget for employment well above any other sector.
I would like to underline the increased importance I have given to communications and to partnership. Today the influence and impact of the ILO is increasingly achieved by its outreach through the media, through new forms of advocacy and networking, through schools and communities, through fully using new opportunities to reach a global audience. And partnerships are key. We do not have to do it all ourselves -- our values and goals are widely shared, and we can act as a catalyst and leader to help promote them. Partnerships in the United Nations system and with the Bretton Woods institutions equally help multiply our capabilities, and I intend to invest in them.
A central issue in strategic budgeting is accountability. We have to be able to say what we are going to deliver, and offer indicators by which our performance can be judged. I will not pretend that this process is easy, nor is it at all complete. We must finds ways of assessing our performance which are close to the impact we have on the real world. On this, there is still work to be done, and in particular the targets which we have set for ourselves will need to be reviewed critically and developed further. I have been enormously helped so far through assistance from constituents with expertise in this area. I plan to continue to call on you for assistance as we aim at a process of continuous improvement. I particularly welcome your more specific comments in this matter to help the Office progress further.
To sum up, I believe that you will find that we have made substantial progress in aligning work to the strategic objectives, in streamlining our operations, in making our programme more transparent and our managers and staff more accountable. I therefore commend these proposals to you for adoption.
Let me now turn to the third part of my introduction, which relates to our future programme.
While action over the last few months has been rapid, it has not been without its difficulties and limitations. I am not satisfied with current programming procedures and I believe that with your active involvement and support we can make a number of improvements. In making suggestions on these matters, I draw upon my consultations with Governing Body members and other representatives of constituents, the advice of officials at all levels and outside expertise.
Let me list for you what I perceive to be important limitations on our current programme budgeting:
I have noted that you in the Governing Body have been thinking along the same lines. You have welcomed the shorter, more strategic presentation of the programme and budget, even if this time the transition to a new Director-General has meant that some of the budgetary details were available later than usual. You have called for more flexibility in the use of resources in return for greater accountability for performance. You have shown interest in a renewal of governance arrangements to reflect the reforms that have been introduced. The Office is prepared to work with you in devising better arrangements for reporting to the Governing Body and for its committee structure, if that should be your wish.
On some questions the Governing Body has an especially deep involvement and I therefore count on its direct collaboration in the design of better methods of work. I am thinking in particular of international labour standards, where innovations decided upon by the Governing Body necessarily precede changes in the procedures followed by the Office. As I said in my Decent work Report to the Conference, "If the ILO is to ensure its continued relevance in this field and reassert the usefulness of international standards, it will need to reinvigorate its efforts and experiment with new approaches". I suggested a number of actions. The revision of standards is one activity on which we must move faster but together. We need to develop and use more efficient methods of revision as well as a better way to determine what kind of standards we wish to develop. I believe that we should have a thorough discussion on all aspects of our policy of standards, and the Office will assist the Governing Body and the constituents on this to the best of its ability.
In the document before you, you will find proposals that will allow us to make progress on all these points through the adoption of strategic planning as a basic long-term management tool. The strategic plan would set priorities and identify strategies. It would provide the framework for accountability by the further development of performance indicators and targets. Within the planning period, each biennial programme and budget would specify the progress that should be expected within the two-year time frame.
I have proposed a very ambitious schedule for establishing the strategic plan, one which will require me to present the draft plan to you for approval in November of next year, and then to complete the first biennial budget under the plan for submission to you the following March. In preparing it, I will continue to insist on extensive consultations, both internal and external. Although tight, I am convinced that this is the only way for us to continue to make rapid and sound progress in budgetary and management reform.
I would like to mention just a few features of the proposal for a strategic plan:
The document before you contains additional information on the proposed planning and reporting arrangements, and in particular proposes a schedule for submission of the necessary documents to the Governing Body.
We now have an opportunity for a tripartite discussion of the Programme and Budget for 2000-01 as well as the procedures for future programming exercises. I look forward to your policy guidance, and the Office is at your disposal for any clarifications that you may require. I would like to thank you for the advice you have given me and my team on numerous occasions, and in particular for the informal feedback that has helped to improve this document during the course of its preparation. I hope that, after a full discussion, you will agree with the proposals.
The new management systems I am introducing emphasize accountability, including the accountability of the Director-General to the Governing Body. This is the first formal occasion on which I have the opportunity to report to you concerning progress on the promises I made to you in March in my Strategic Budget to modernize the vision, structures and management systems of the ILO. I will continue to report to you on management reforms as part of the annual report on programme implementation. I am quite aware that much more progress is required, but I trust that you will agree with me that with your support, much has been achieved.
Thank you for your attention.