First visit of ILO Director-General to a Pacific Island State

The Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Mr Guy Ryder, visited Papua New Guinea on the occasion of the Pacific high level forum on climate change and decent work. The trip was the first-ever visit of an ILO Director-General to a Pacific Island State.

Press release | 26 July 2019
The Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Mr Guy Ryder, addressed the tripartite delegates gathered at the High level forum on climate change and decent work, held in Port Moresby, on 25-26 July.

It was the first ever visit of an ILO Director-General in the Pacific since the founding of the organization in 1919.

Following an official visit in Thailand from 22 to 24 July, Mr Ryder traveled to Papua New Guinea (PNG) to attend the Pacific high-level forum on climate change and decent work. The forum, co-organized by the ILO and the PNG Ministry of labour, discussed climate action and the future of work in the Pacific, and how to ensure a just transition to an environmentally sustainable world of work.  It addressed the following topics:   
  • Future of Work for Climate Resilience
  • Labour Mobility in Pacific Island Countries
  • Opportunities and challenges of digitalization for decent work.

On the sidelines of the forum, the Cook Islands and Kiribati signed Decent Work Country Programmes and Fiji released a commemorative stamp for the centenary of the ILO.

During his visit Mr Ryder held talks with the Acting Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Hon. Davies Steven, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Soroi Eoe and Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations, Hon. Alfred Manase, as well as other senior government officials. He also met Labour Ministers from Cook Islands, Fiji, Kirabati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga and representatives of workers’ and employers’ organizations from Pacific Islands Countries (PICs).

The Director-General also engaged with students from University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) during an interactive dialogue session on Climate change and Decent work for youth. The dialogue was moderated by UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Giancula Rampolla.

Mr Ryder’s trip to the Pacific followed an official visit to Thailand where he met with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Labour and social partners.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the United Nations agency for the world of work. Devoted to advancing social justice, it promotes a Decent Work Agenda based on four strategic pillars: rights at work, decent employment opportunities, social protection and social dialogue.

It is the only public international organization which is tripartite, where workers and employers enjoy equal rights with governments in representation and decision making. Together they set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes upholding decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity for all.

Created in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, the ILO became the first specialized agency of the UN in 1946. It received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969 and today is recognized as the world’s authority on the world of work, offering over 100 years of knowledge, experience and achievements.

For more information please contact

Mr Peter Blumel
ILO Office for Pacific Island Countries

Ms Laetitia Dard
Senior Communication & Public Information Officer
ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific