ILO Asia-Pacific meeting agrees to bolster efforts to achieve social justice, decent work for all

Delegates at the Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) of the International Labor Organisation (ILO) agreed here to bolster efforts to achieve social justice and decent work for all.

The Singapore Statement released at the closing ceremony on Friday said that since the 16th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2016, the Asia and the Pacific and Arab states regions have continued to experience transformations in the world of work and have been subject to unprecedented crises.

It said the Covid-19 pandemic had unleashed an unprecedented social and economic crisis on the regions, and while there are signs of recovery, it remains uneven and additional crises such as climate-related natural disasters and steep rises in food and energy prices had compounded the impact on labor markets, Xinhua news agency reported.

Taking into account the confluence of crises, the rapidly evolving future of work, and longstanding decent work deficits, the ILO tripartite constituents across the regions adopt several guiding principles for future actions, according to the statement.

These principles include working collectively towards the promotion of social justice and the fundamental principles and rights at work through effective social dialogue and tripartite cooperation to advance the achievement of full, productive and freely chosen employment, and decent work for all.

The statement highlights a series of priorities for action at a national level, including the need to ratify ILO fundamental conventions and further strengthen the capacities of government, employer and worker representatives to carry out effective social dialogue.

ILO’s Director-General Gilbert Houngbo welcomed the statement as “a shared vision of the region’s priorities for national action among the ILO constituents and with ILO support in the coming years”.

“What has tied you together this week has been your commitment to the principles of social dialogue and your dedication to work together towards a common understanding of how we can do better in renewing social justice and achieving a human-centered recovery,” he told the closing ceremony praising the efforts of participants to develop and agree with the Singapore Statement.

Tan See Leng, Singapore’s Minister for Manpower and Chairperson of this year’s APRM, said while delivering a closing address that tripartism and social dialogue are the foundation of the ILO, and must remain so.

He added employers must recognise that a world of work where workers are not fairly treated will lead to poor social outcomes, a weak social compact, and divided societies; and ultimately businesses cannot thrive in such fractured societies. Singapore Statement launched at the closing ceremony.

Workers must recognise that as the economic environment evolves, they must work hand in hand with employers to transform their skills, stay agile and nimble, take on new jobs, and adapt to new ways of working so that both workers and employers can thrive, he said.

The governments play a crucial role in anchoring this partnership by targeting support in the right areas and formulating labour policies that are fair, implementable and coherent, by taking into account views from both workers and employers and balancing them carefully, he added.

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